mark hertsgaard

Independent Journalist & Author


Hidden Daughters


Hello, I’m Mark Hertsgaard in San Francisco, and welcome to Spotlight, Link
TV’s investigative news show, featuring documentaries from around the
world, reporting stories usually missed by American television.


This week our spotlight is on the teenage daughters of Islamic
immigrants in Europe. The parents of these girls want to raise them in the
traditional, Islamic way: no dating, no boyfriends, a girl stays home
until a marriage is arranged for her. Some daughters accept this, but
those who resist, face a difficult, even dangerous future. Some parents in
effect abduct their daughters and return them to the old country, where
the girls are re-educated and forced into marriages with unwanted
relatives or strangers.

We’ll be back afterwards with an update. For now, from Danish
Public Television’s DRTV, here is “Hidden Daughters,” on Link TV, your
connection to the world.


Welcome back. You’re watching “Link TV Spotlight”. I’m Mark

The film you’ve just seen only hints at the violence often directed
against Islamic women. Perhaps nowhere is the problem more acute than in
Pakistan. The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan reports that thousands
of women are abducted, raped, deliberately burned or killed every year.
And often it’s the women, not their abusers, who get blamed.

Take the case of Mukhtaran Mai. Village elders ordered the woman gang-
raped because her brother got too friendly with a girl of higher status.
Ms. Mai filed criminal charges and actually won a guilty verdict against
her rapists. But in March 2005 a regional court reversed that decision and
acquitted the men. Outrage at home and abroad soon led the High Court of
Pakistan to reinstate the guilty verdict. But that didn’t save Ms. Mai
from further punishment. Pakistani president General Pervez Musharraf
personally ordered her passport taken away–to keep her from traveling
abroad, he said, and ruining Pakistan’s good name.

Nor is Denmark the only European nation where Islamic women are
threatened. Ayaan Hirsi Ali is a member of the Dutch parliament. But she
was born in Somalia and in 1992 her Islamic parents ordered her to marry a
distant cousin in Canada. Instead, she fled to the Netherlands, where she
became an outspoken champion of Islamic women’s rights. Ms. Ali insists
that honor killings take place in Europe as well. In 2004, there were 11
honor killings in a single Dutch province, she says, and another six in the
German capital, Berlin.

If you want to find out more about these issues, check out the
resources listed at the end of this program. You can also find those
resources at our website,

Following those listings you’ll see a clip from next week’s program.
Until then, this is Mark Hertsgaard in San Francisco for Link TV:
Spotlight. Thank you for joining us.



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About Mark

Independent journalist Mark Hertsgaard is the author of seven books that have been translated into sixteen languages, including Bravehearts: Whistle Blowing in the Age of Snowden; HOT: Living Through the Next Fifty Years on Earth; and A Day in the Life: The Music and Artistry of the Beatles. He has reported from twenty-five countries about politics, culture and the environment for leading outlets, including The Guardian, Der Spiegel, Vanity Fair, The New Yorker, Time, Mother Jones, NPR, the BBC and The Nation, where is the environment correspondent. He lives in San Francisco.