Some time ago I wrote about honor killings, in which a woman is killed by member of her family because she is thought to have brought shame upon her family (e.g. extramarital sex, marrying without the family’s permission). Muslims have committed 91% of these horrific murders, and in some cases men are the victims as well as the women. I will now discuss forced marriages.
A forced marriage is somewhat similar to an arranged marriage (in which the parents choose the spouse for their child). The difference between arranged marriages and forced is that one or both parties is married without their consent or married against their will. Such repercussions range from physical beatings to threats of being killed (which in turn becomes an honor killing).
As with honor killings, Muslims account for a majority of forced marriages. In addition, forced marriages have taken place worldwide (including the United States).
Whereas some parents use violence or threats to force their children to marry, others rely on deception. In some of these cases, a couple (perhaps living somewhere in the West) will tell their daughter that they are going on vacation to another country. Upon arriving in the designated, the daughter soon learns that the vacation was a ruse for a wedding — her wedding (whether she likes it or not). In other cases, the daughter is told they will be traveling abroad to attend a wedding of a friend or relative, only to learn that it is her wedding that will take place. In addition, the daughter is kept under tabs 24/7 in order to make sure she does not try to escape.
Such marriages are illegal in many countries, because they violate the concept of free will. I should add shotgun weddings (in which a man is forced to marry a woman he impregnated) because the groom was coerced into marrying. In fact, both types of marriages would be declared null and void.
Child marriages are another problem. Underage girls are married off, usually to men a lot older than them. Muslims account for the vast majority of such marriages, especially since Muhammad married Aisha when she was six (and consummated the marriage when she was nine). Some Muslims also claim that girls living in the desert regions mature faster due to the desert heat, and hence are able to be married (although there is no scientific evidence to prove this). They make this claim since Islam originated in the Arabian Peninsula (which is predominantly desert). In addition, child marriages have taken place worldwide, despite being banned in many countries.
In the cases of both types of marriages, violence is a regular occurrence. Child marriages result in more violence, because the bride is often too young to defend herself.
Both types of marriages have no place in society, and we should work to end them.
Image: https://www.flickr.com/photos/samnasim/6144272711/; CC by 2.0; SAM Nasim