Picture an American girl, a typical California teenager in jeans who lives on Facebook and likes sports. She loves her family, but feels pressure from them to resist peer influence. A typical family dynamic? So far.
Out of respect for father and family, this girl agrees to visit her parents’ home country, the old world where her grandmother is aging and would love to see her granddaughter one more time.
This story is true, and I assure you it is not an aberration. Robbing a girl of her freedom and identity is becoming more and more common in the United States. Such crimes are committed not for money or personal obsession, but in the name of traditional religion and culture.
Forced marriage is linked to other acts committed in the name of religion and culture, so-called honor killings (perversely named!), and linked to the barbaric act of female genital mutilation—all three crimes commonly committed in the name of protecting honor and sanctioned by religion.
What worries me is that, within the American value system, there are two clashing strains—individual rights clashing with tolerance of others. I fear that, in the new battleground I’ve identified, individual rights of women are losing out to tolerance of oppressive customs.
Read the rest of Ayaan Hirsi Ali’s article: Forced Marriages in the U.S.