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Friday, October 07, 2005

Arranged Marriages and Terrorism

After the London bombings of July 7, 2005, politicians, commentators, and others have discussed the appropriate balance between multiculturalism and integration, and the propriety of immigration generally [see e.g., here, here, here, and here]. Indeed, some have argued that immigrant communities -- particularly South Asians, Muslims, and Arabs -- should further assimilate into British society (thereby sacrificing part of their ethnic identity). They argue specifically that a Muslim youth who is integrated to some acceptable degree will be less likely to become a homegrown terrorist and exact violence comparable to 9/11 or 7/7 on his British brothers and sisters.

A report released by Migration Watch UK now suggests that arranged marriages are a contributing factor to the problem of homegrown terrorism in Britain. (Yes, arranged marriages.) According to the Times of London's review of the report:
The number of British Asians bringing in spouses from the Indian subcontinent has doubled over five years.... Instead of integrating over successive generations by marrying in the UK, some Asian communities are fuelling segregation through arranged marriages to overseas partners....
To those advocating increased integration by South Asians, Muslims, and Arabs, these ghettos represent the problem: they are fertile ground for fundamentalist teachings, are where ethnic identity is reinforced, and are indications of explicit resistance to the call to adopt British culture, nationalism, and traditions.

The solution proposed by the report:
an immigration policy that discourages international arranged marriages. It suggests the introduction of a “family connection test”, similar to the system in Denmark. The test would apply where a British resident wished to marry a person from the country in which he or she (or either parent) was born. Permission to enter the UK would not be granted until the bride and groom were 24 years old, rather than the present 18.
[This entry is cross-posted on "IntentBlog"].

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