The Dittas of Blackburn, England, teamed up to punish Sarah Harrison for dating their sister, Nazma Ditta. The siblings were sentenced by a Preston Crown Court judge to three-and-a-half to six years in prison.
Nayyar Mehmood and Nighat Morris were sentenced to jail after plotting to harm their sister Nazma’s girlfriend.
Six British siblings from a Muslim family have been slapped with jail time after turning to violence to break up their sister’s lesbian romance.
A judge at the Preston Crown Court ruled that Nazma Ditta’s family members were blinded by prejudice when they attempted to kidnap and punish Ditta’s girlfriend for messing “with the wrong Muslims.”
The “traditional Asian Muslim family” had wanted Nazma, 28, to enter an arranged marriage with a cousin, or another man, according to The Guardian.
“This case is about power and control,” Judge Graham Knowles said. “It’s about striking terror into the heart, in order to control not just the body but also the will.”
Security footage shows siblings Nighat Morris, 39, Atfah Ditta, 32, and Ghazala Ditta, 31, beating and punching their sister’s partner Sarah Harrison, 35, outside a clothing store in Blackburn. One of the sisters was wearing a full face veil. The women pulled Harrison’s hair and dragged her to the floor, then looked through her bag to reclaim Nazma’s things. They tried to stuff her into a car, but Harrison managed to keep fighting back until the siblings ran away.
Nazma’s younger brother Tahmoor Ditta, 26, stood guard nearby. He used a bradawl, which is similar to a screwdriver, to scare off a witness who tried to save Harrison from the attack.
“Get her in, get her in, you’ve messed with the wrong Muslims, we’re going to kill you,” Tahmoor reportedly screamed.
Nazma had agreed to an arranged marriage in Feb. 2014, but planned to slip away with her partner before that.
Nazma met Harrison three years ago, while the two women were working for the same clothing shop in Blackburn. They kept the relationship a secret and in Dec. 2012, Ditta slowly began moving her belongings from the family home to Harrison’s apartment. She broke the news about her sexuality to her family last June and almost immediately, they “closed ranks and told or cajoled and emotionally blackmailed” Ditta, according to Haworth.
“I am dead to you, Delete my number. I hope you are happy with Sarah,” one sibling texted.
Another sibling told Ditta via text that she was a “”selfish stupid b—h. Just wait until we get hold of you.”
The six siblings plotted their “mission as a family” through the texting service WhatsApp. They texted each other about “battering that b—h” and warned that the “kaffir [non-believer] is taking over.”
The Dittas claimed that a teacher at their mosque had given them permission to “be violent” and suggested that they “take action now or it might be too late.”
The attack took place on June 20, shortly after Nazma moved out of her family home.
Even though six of her nine siblings were willing to go to jail to stop her relationship, Nazma and her partner are still together. The judge placed a restraining order on Nazma’s family members.
One of the sisters, Nighat Morris, is married to a white British man named Stuart Morris. Called to court as a witness for the defense, Stuart said that the Dittas had warmly accepted him as part of their family. The family is aware that one of their sons, Tasawar, is gay. Another daughter had been in a lesbian relationship in college.
“Race, religion, sexuality has never been an issue in this family,” Stuart Morris told the court.
But the judge didn’t believe the siblings’ apologies were genuine.
The three sisters involved in the attempted kidnapping were sentenced to five years and four months in jail after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit actual bodily harm, attempted kidnap and robbery.
Two other sisters, Nayyar Mehmood, 38, and Tosif Ditta, 35, were given three-and-a-half years after pleading guilty to conspiracy to commit actual bodily harm.
The brother, Tahmoor, was given six years for the added charges of battery and possessing a weapon.
British gay rights activist Peter Tatchell said that he often hears from lesbian and gay Muslims who have been threatened because of their sexuality.
“It would be really helpful if Muslim organisations and mosques spoke out and spoke out more frequently against all honor-based violence, including that which targets lesbian, gay and transgender Muslims,” Tatchell said.