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Molly/Misbah and Jesse Jackson

Peter van Dyk | 17:58 UK time, Friday, 1 September 2006

The programme is finished and we had a good time with it. Thanks for all your questions to Jesse Jackson - sorry we couldn't pput more of them to him - he wasn't able to be with us for as long as we had hoped.

Before we talked to Rev Jackson, we discussed the case of 12-year-old Molly Campbell, who says she wants to be known by her Islamic name, Misbah Iram Ahmed Rana, and to stay in Pakistan. When do you think a child should be allowed to decide which parent he or she lives with?

Your emails and text messages are here, along with a hint of how the conversation went, and of course you can post your own comments to continue the discussion.

First off, Martyn in Wales told us how he could have done a similar thing to Molly's father, but returned with his son from Belize to the UK. Now, he says, he has no contact with his son after the courts ruled in favour of the boy living with his mother.

Qasim Saidhi, a Pakistani lawyer in Lahore who works with reunite, explained the legal issues - that under an agreement between Pakistan and the UK if Molly's mother, Louise, asks Molly to return home, the courts will enforce her decision. Any further custody issues would then have to be settled in court once more.

James and Joe took each side of the argument, and then Julie came in to say that children play parents off against one another. She said they're too young to know if a parent is giving them genuine love until they are adults. The court ruling should be respected.

Shaili agreed that it should be the courts who decide. Martyn argued that the courts don't look at each case in enough depth.

Lee, Memphis, TN, USA
Let's face it - this is all about WHERE the child is being taken to...had the father taken her to his home country of, say, SWEDEN, would your show even be discussing it...?

Lynell, Cleveland, Ohio
The problem is that many parents do not care about what is in the best interest of their child. Most divorced parents are selfish, spiteful people who care more about sticking it to their ex-spouse than for giving their child the best possible childhood.
The courts tend to be either biased towards mothers, or towards the parent with the most money. My own parents used me and my brother like weapons in their separation. Our wishes, desires, or best interests were the furthest things from their minds. When I have to deal with either parent these days, I have bouts of anxiety and depression.

Marilyn in the Philippines
Each of us has his own right but in every right there is a corresponding obligation.The girl is too young to decide for herself.

In the United States, each state has its own way of handling this type of situation. In Texas, at the age of 12, the child can choose, however, both parents are required to split the cost for the child's own attorney so that neither side has much affect influencing them.

Mariam joined the programme from Pakistan and told us that once a child was seven years old, the father had the right to decide

To finish, Imran in Bradford said that the most important thing was that Molly has stability and direction, whether that was in Pakistan or Scotland. He added that the media and public seemed to have a bad view of the situation because it was happening in Pakistan.

Charles in Poland
I agree with the emailer who wrote that you wouldn't even be covering this story had the man taken the child to Sweden. Why don't we speak openly about the perceived "Sharia Spectre" aspect of this case?

Rev Jesse Jackson

Just after half past six, the Rev Jesse Jackson joined us from the BBC Jerusalem studio.

He started by laying out what he had done while in the Middle East in recent days. Then Francesco in Italy asked "how confident can you be that your negotiation can achieve a positive result?"

Rev Jackson said that the situation was not as complex as it was often perceived. He said that he had been talking to all sides and all sides wanted to work towards a settlement.

He told how he was convinced "more spiritually than physically" that the two soldiers were alive but would like verification.

Rev Jackson said that it had taken days to get to talk to all the sides, and that they were trying to agree a third-party mechanism as there was no communication between Israel and the US and Hamas and Hezbollah.

Ohad in Israel asked what process had been made. Rev Jackson averred that talking was an advance on the fighting that had occurred before, but that he couldn't go into the details of ongoing discussions.

Rahul asked what many listeners and readers have - were you asked to go out there or was it your own decsion?

Rev Jackson said they had tried to go during the war but there was no way to get the group into Lebanon at the time. Now he and his group were using experience in previous negotiations to make progress.


Aristides called from the Netherlands to ask why Rev Jackson was not in New Orleans telling black people to resist the contempt and neglect that Washington has showed to them?

Rev Jackson said that he hoped that he could help both at home and abroad, and that he was thankful that in this age it was possible to be a part of the world.

Hisham in France called to ask what Rev Jackson, as a man who had fought inequality, thought of the Zionist policies of Israel?

Rev Jackson pointed out that more than just Jews lived in Israel, and said he was given hope when he met Saeb Erekat and he talked of a two-state solution with Israelis and Palestinians living side by side.

Here are a selection of your emails and text messages, not all of which we could put to Rev Jackson while he was on the programme:

Derek in Berlin
What on earth is Jesse Jackson doing? For the rest of the world this is a powder keg, for Jesse Jackson, it's a PR stunt. I'm sure he'll deny it's a PR stunt but, if it's not, then I'd like to ask him: why do we know he's there at all?
Looking forward to seeing you later on CNN; Jesse. What's it to be: Larry King or Wolf Blitzer?

Abdul from Fort Worth, Texas
I just want to ask reverend Jackson that if he is able to secure the the release of the hostages, whether he will start laying more enphasy on black men in America that being a gangster and doing drugs is disastrous. This is hurting me as a young black man from Africa.

I am not clear on who invited Mr. Jackson to negotiate for the release of the hostages and what officials is he negotiating with. Can you please clarify. Are you negotiating with Nazrallah directly?


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