I received a panicked priority email from a friend that contained this news story of a Pakistani man who killed his daughter who wanted to get out of an arranged marriage. Of course the Islamophobes have seized on this story to denigrate the presence of Muslims in this country. I have yet to hear of the thousands of cases where this has happened, if indeed this is a religious custom, and not a cultural one but it will be trumpeted as what Islam stands for by the “crazies”. The idea of “arranged marriages” seems to be widespread among Muslims and non Muslims alike from certain parts of the world. Witness the Indian neighbor in the article who was in an arranged marriage himself
Anand Mehta, who is from India, lives nearby. He is in an arranged marriage as well. While he is happily married, Mehta understands the staunch cultural stigma against divorce.
“People in our community take it a step further; if your marriage doesn’t work out, there’s no way out of it,” said Mehta, who came to the U.S. more than 20 years ago.
What I find most troubling, besides the loss of a life that had the right under her religion to negotiate her marriage in the way she saw fit, is the notion by some that their customs supersede the principles of their religion and of the society in which they live. No doubt the father of that family thought moving to America offered he and his family better opportunities, meaning there was something in his own country that was lacking or that he needed to get away from. What he failed to realize, or is indifferent about, is his actions are both wrong religiously and socially, and he will have to pay the price for his crime. That became incumbent on the society, holding people accountable for their behavior, the moment he chose to set foot on American soil.