Tahirih Justice Center - Controversy


Criticism of the Tahirih Justice Center and other like-minded organizations often involves the manner in which they portray information. In particular, Tahirih's work against international marriage brokers, especially its leading role in supporting IMBRA, has drawn castigation from some who believe American males are being characterized in an unfairly negative light. International marriage broker agencies cite the alleged low levels of divorce among their clients, compared with the American national average, as proof of success. Tahirih counters that many of the men who use these brokers are repeat abusers looking for their next victim. Tahirih claims that international marriage brokers market and advertise mostly to men who are potentially dangerous. Miller-Muro, Tahirih's Executive Director, stated that "The agencies have a financial incentive to ensure the satisfaction of their paying clients — the men — but there is no comparable incentive to safeguard the woman."

Scholars are worried about the mental images and conceptions that the general public forms about the origins of practices that Tahirih condemns. When describing the Matter of Kasinga and the associated media attention, historian Charles Piot was concerned about the perpetration of possibly negative and racist stereotypes about Africa. In an analysis of several New York Times articles about the case, Piot called the "evocation of images of the immutable nature of patriarchal tradition" in Africa "extraordinary." Tahirih argues that several cultural practices throughout the world have adverse health effects that often go unnoticed because of poor education among the local community. Tahirih posits that many of the subjects who undergo practices such as female genital cutting are uninformed about the potential pain and other consequences that result from the procedure. Since Tahirih views these issues as ones relating to human rights, it believes in the protection of individuals who may experience these acts.

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