I used to work with a British-Asian woman from Cambridge. At first sight, she was as free and as liberated as any of her contemporaries at university but as time went by, she seemed increasingly depressed, spending all of her lunch breaks in long telephone conversations, often returning in tears.

Amina (not her real name) had fallen in love with an Asian Muslim man. She was also Muslim and they both came from a similar ethnic background in Pakistan. Like so many of their generation, they were caught between Britain and Pakistan, between their parents and themselves. Amina's father refused to consent to her marriage and, as a Muslim daughter, she needed him as a "wali" or guardian to oversee her marriage. The local imam refused to conduct the ceremony without her father's consent and the presence of two male Muslim witnesses.

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