News

Harry Potter actress’s family assaults her for dating a non-Muslim

Pin it

Scary: twenty-two-year-old Muslim actress Afshan Azad, who played Padma Patel in four of the Harry Potter movies, was dating a Hindu man in London. Her older brother found out, and woke up her father, allegedly shouting, "Sort out your daughter! She's a slag!" and exhorting his father to "just kill her." In response, Abul Azad, the actress's father, promised he would kill her, because he didn't want his sons to have blood on their hands. His terrified daughter then escaped out her bedroom window.

But after making a statement to the police explaining the story — and after her father and brother corroborated the appalling details — Azad refused to testify against them, saying that she might have misunderstood her father's thick Bengali accent and that "the proceedings have caused me no end of distress and if [a trial] goes ahead, it will make things much worse for me." Understandable in that testifying against your family would be terrifying, but it sounds like it's also pretty terrifying to live with them, and it's sad to imagine going back to that household. Azad's brother pled guilty to assault, while both he and their father were found not guilty of threatening to kill her.

The really frightening part is that this happens all the time, all over the world, to thousands of women who haven't starred in high-profile entertainments. The U.N. estimates that 5000 women a year are murdered by members of their own families in honor killings; in at least one country, Jordan, it's actually legal to kill your wife for adultery. Let's hope the ugly Azad case brings more attention to this ghoulish phenomenon.