“WHEN you strip it all down and take away all the religion, it is sexist behaviour. Certain men treating women in a completely submissive, oppressive way.”

Saima Afzal MBE, a leading authority on honour-based violence, said the Muslim concept of ‘Izzat’ had no religious or cultural foundation, but was about abuse and crime.

After growing up in Blackburn and escaping a 'violent arranged marriage' in her early 20s, Ms Afzal is now a nationally recognized equality and diversity champion and is an independent member of the Lancashire Police Authority.

Ms Afzal says honour-based violence was a major issue in the UK, was present in Lancashire and affected many south Asian communities.

She said: “These communities which practice these ‘norms’ don’t see them as crimes. I tend to look at them as ‘hidden’ crimes but carried out ‘in the name of honour’.

“They are cultural norms not based in Islam, but many who apply them believe them to be a part of their religious rules. It is a dangerous, potent mix.”

Adultery is seen as the biggest sin, but there can be a number of lesser triggers including women learning to drive, smoking, even using contraception.

Ms Afzal said: “Sometimes women don’t even know they are being forced, there’s an element of duress and they know they cannot disagree.

“Every honour crime you look at, there will be a woman in the background.

“We need to see some changes where men encourage women to stand up for their rights.”

“I can walk down the street or in Morrisons with my arms showing and some one will feel they have the right to knock on my mum’s door and tell her I’ve been seen ‘half naked’.

“You become complicit by agreement. For many of us, it stays in the middle like this. But for some, unfortunately, honour results in murder.

“To tackle it before it escalates, organisations such as schools and the police need to learn how to look for the triggers.”