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Campaign to highlight the problem of forced marriage

There have been hundreds of calls to a charity helpline from the Anglia region about forced marriage.

A national roadshow has been in the Anglia region aiming to shine a light on the problem of forced marriage and honour-based abuse.

It highlights the women abused, disowned and ostracised by their own families - simply for wanting a say in who they marry.

The charity Karma Nirvana, which supports victims, has received hundreds of calls to its helpline from people in the Anglia region since the beginning of 2014.

  • Bedfordshire - 153 calls
  • Cambridgeshire - 92 calls
  • Hertfordshire - 133 calls
  • Milton Keynes - 42 calls
  • Northamptonshire - 33 calls

Click below for a report from ITV News Anglia's Sarah Cooper who met one survivor who is now taking control of her life

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Four historic churches in east to get lottery funding boost

Four historic churches in the eastern region are to be give a share of £650,000 in grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund.

The money for the Grade I or II listed churches has been awarded through the 'Grants for Places of Worship' programme.

  • All Saints Church, Turvey in Bedfordshire will get £113,000
  • St Mary the Virgin, Baldock in Hertfordshire will get £211,200
  • All Saints, Wood Norton in Norfolk will get £193,000
  • Borley Church, Braintree in Essex will get £151,200

"Churches have been at the heart of our communities for hundreds of years. We are delighted that All Saints has been awarded a grant to address the urgent repairs needed to its structure. The church itself is a very important building, both architecturally and to its community, and this project will enable it to continue to function as a space for worship, and serve local people of all ages for a range of activities."

– Robyn Llewellyn, Head of Heritage Lottery Fund East of England

Muslim converts face discrimination says new report

The report studied the challenges and concerns facing Islamic converts in the UK today Credit: PA Images

People who convert to Islam face being shunned by family and friends, and even targeted by the security services, according to a new report from Cambridge University.

Academics from the university's Centre of Islamic Studies found that many Muslim converts also suffered physical and mental abuse.

The study by the Cambridge Centre of Islamic Studies examined nearly 50 Muslim converts of all ages, ethnicities, faiths and social backgrounds.

"I always joke with people that it's a bit like 'coming out' and I've discovered a lot of people who concealed this until the later stages.

I was exposed as a Muslim to friends and family inadvertently and my parents took it hard. They never came to my wedding.

I was also subject to some ridicule at work, which I now look back on as completely unacceptable in the modern world."

– Adrian (Jamal) Heath, Participant

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New lead Chaplain joins Southend Hospital

Reverend David Childs is the new lead chaplain at Southend Hospital Credit: Southend Hospital.

Southend Hospital has welcomed the arrival of a new lead chaplain, Reverend David Childs who was a former parish priest in Essex and Oxfordshire.

He will help deliver a 24-hour on-call service to make sure someone is available day and night.

“I may be the lead chaplain or the face of chaplaincy but there’s a really good team of people around me. It’s a privilege to be in a role where I meet people of every possible outlook, background. You realise ‘wow’ humanity is exciting. I’m also looking forward to getting to know the staff. "

– David Childs

Muslims in Luton will hand out roses to promote peace

Roses ready to be handed out Credit: Dawood Masood

Muslims will hand out roses in the centre of Luton today to promote love and peace. The organisers say it's about spreading the true message of Islam.

They'll be in St George's Square from 11:30am until 2pm.

"The objective of this unique event will be to engage with the local community of Luton by promoting dialogue, spreading peace and mutual understanding.

We are aware that the Muslim community in general gets a lot of negative coverage from the media, therefore, we hope by giving out roses and cards that highlight the Prophet's message of mercy for all, we can change people's views about the Muslim community and Islam on a local level."

– Event organisers

Mosques across the East open their doors in bid to teach people about Islam

Prayers at Peterborough Mosque this afternoon. Credit: ITV News Anglia

Mosques around the region have opened their doors to the public as part of a national initiative to encourage people to find out more about Islam.

Peterborough Mosque is among those taking part.

The aim of the scheme is to reduce misunderstandings about Islam. Credit: ITV News Anglia

The hope is that the scheme will help reduce misunderstandings about the religion.

Visitors will be able to witness evening prayers later and get an insight into what goes on there.

Click below to watch a report from ITV News Anglia's Olivia Kinsley

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