Arranged Marriages in Hindu and Muslim Communities

November 21, 2002

Source: The Associated Press

On November 21, 2002 The Associated Press reported that "with increasing numbers of Hindus and Muslims living in the United States, members of these communities say arranged marriages are becoming more common, although no one tracks their numbers. These unions are very different from marriages in rural parts of their native countries where girls in their early teens can be forced by their parents to marry older men. Here it's often a family decision with parents and children, usually in their mid-20s, both holding veto power over potential mates. In Muslim countries and India, education has changed the way marriage works for the middle- and upper-classes, said Christine Gudorf, a religious studies professor at Florida International University. While their marriage customs have changed, the perceptions of arranged marriages by many people in the United States have not. Many Hindus and Muslims complain that Americans view their marriage customs as backward because they don't understand them."