25 July 2005

Ala Kachuu and Arranged Marriages

The Chicago Tribune had an article yesterday on ala kachuu. Much of it is familiar if you've read other articles and websites about ala kachuu, but there are some interesting stories in the article. Kleinbach's research is clearly making a bit of a splash in an area where more information was sorely needed.

You know, there are all kinds of forced marriages. Technically, under Islamic law, the bride is required to give her consent. Whether she gives it freely is another issue. And, as a side note, arranged marriages are not always forced marriages. There are all different levels of arranged marriages. A friend of ours is trying right now to get asylum in the US so that she doesn't have to return to Central Asia where her father has arranged a marriage for her. She refursed another marriage before she came here. Another friend of ours (he's a professor at a university in the UAE and in his 30s) didn't marry a girl because his parents didn't approve of her.

Arranged marriages are not doomed to failure or unhappiness though. We've known quite a few couples whose marriages were arranged and they are happy with functioning families. Love marriages aren't a sure indicator of success, as we all know. It seems to me that balance is important- there are many factors that can help to make a marriage successful.

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