Currently in Germany, there is a law being proposed by Angela Merkel’s cabinet designed to criminalize forced marriages. However, this presents a huge controversy since forced marriages are prevalent in the Arab/Turk communities and are considered a Muslim tradition. Adding to the controversy, there are a lot of Turkish (along with other nationalities) immigrants living in Germany.
As an American who very much values my freedom, I was initially for the banning of these marriages. As I delved deeper into the subject, I began to question the right that Germany has to do away with a tradition that has been around longer than Germany has officially been a country! I came across compelling evidence which well supported both sides.
Obviously, the woman in the video had an extremely negative experience with her forced marriage and I think it is safe to assume there are many more like her. Also, different rights groups have said that young immigrants in Germany are beginning to identify with Western values and value the freedom of choosing their own partner.
However, it is important to note the difference between forced marriages and arranged marriages. In an arranged marriage, the bride and groom are matched by a third party but consent is given by both people being marries. In a forced marriage, the partners are matched without consent (usually from the woman) to marry.
This video is a bit lengthy, but shows that arranged marriages can be very successful in terms of both people being happy.
I believe banning forced marriages is a great move on Germany’s part. However, if they were looking to ban arranged marriages that would be an entirely different story. On the other hand, does a government have the right to ban something that some (a vast minority of Muslims) people consider part of their religion? My answer is yes.
My final position on the subject was that this issue was that it is a human rights violation to allow people to be forcefully married. Too often, this results in the bride being victimized in a variety of ways.