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Forced Arranged Marriage an Issue in Denmark

on 2000/12/19 8:48:02 ( 1750 reads )


ARHUS, DENMARK, December 18, 2000: Ali Simsek, like millions of Turkish immigrants drawn to Europe came to Denmark in 1970. His family joined him but in all the years, Mr. Simsek never learned a word of Danish or forsook Turkish customs. When his oldest son, Bunyamin, turned 17 in 1987, Mr. Simsek arranged a marriage for him with Sorgul Ceran from Turkey, a daughter of an old friend. But after the birth of a child and the completion of Bunyamin's education, things quickly soured, failure owing to unsettling contradictions of their lives."My wife was wearing a veil, a problem for me in Denmark, as my friends are Danes," he says. This is one case of why forced arranged marriage is a target of ridicule across Europe. "Immigrants must adapt to Danish cultural norms," said Nils Preiser, a senior Interior Ministry official. Bunyamin, now 30, is a Danish-speaking citizen at ease with the give-and-take of Western society, an olive-skinned Muslim in a land of Vikings. Some people call him a "Nydansker," or "New Dane," a term that sets him and others like him apart. "Like many second-generation immigrants, I have two identities," he says. Arranged marriage is also an issue in the UK where too often the match is forced.

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