Child marriages continue unabated in Arab World

December 26, 2008

There is no remnant of civilized society that allows a young girl to be given to a man to settle her father’s debt. Saudi Arabia – the center of the Islamic world – remains a nation of savages. Period. Only a savage nation would sanction a child being sold to another man aka “arranged marriage”. They are violating international agreements they signed.

And who is holding them accountable?

CNN: 10 y/o Yemeni girl was beaten and raped after her parents married her off to a man in his 30’s. Her parents then said they thought she was going to be in the custody of the man’s family. She fled and asked a judge for a divorce herself.

Her mother: When I heard, my heart burned for her; he wasn’t supposed to sleep with her.

Her father: He was a criminal, a criminal. He did hateful things to her. He didn’t keep his promise to me that he wouldn’t go near her until she was 20.

Not go near her till she was 20? Now who in the hell believes that? They knew exactly what they were doing – they sold her to a pedophile. They deserve to rot.

CNN: Saudi judge, Sheikh Habib Abdallah al-Habib refused to annul a marriage between an 8y/o and 47 y/o. The child was given to the man as payment for her father’s debt. The mother couldn’t intercede because she”is not the legal guardian of the girl”. The judge asked for a pledge from the husband not to consummate the marriage until the girl reaches puberty. And then he went on to say that when she reaches puberty – when the man can rape her legally – she has a right to request a divorce. And how is that going to matter? What age is considered puberty in Saudi Arabia?


RIYADH: An 11-year-old boy gave out invitations to his classmates for a big event his family was planning this summer – and it wasn’t his birthday party. It was his wedding to a 10-year-old cousin. Muhammad Al-Rashidi’s marriage was eventually put on hold, his father said, after pressure from the governor of the northern province of Hail, who considered the elementary school student too young to marry.

A marriage between 4th and 5th grade cousins stopped only because of public pressure. The father capitulated and said he will delay it only one year.

Zuhair Al-Harithi, board member of the Human Rights Commission, a Saudi government-run rights group: “We are studying this issue so we can put an end to this phenomenon. These marriages violate international agreements the kingdom has signed.”

And who is holding the kingdom accountable? The rest of the Muslim world? Their group delayed the consummation of a 10 y/o and a man in his 60’s only because there are mandatory prenuptial medical tests. If they are mandatory – then every child could be identified.

But there are other marriages involving children that have gone ahead. One involved a 15-year-old girl whose father, Muhammad Ali Al-Zahrani, a death-row inmate, married her off to a cell mate who also was sentenced to death. The father’s sentence was carried out July 21, when he was beheaded for killing another man.

Pictures of the wedding, held in the prison in Taif for the men, appeared in several newspapers. Media reports said inmates recited poems and delivered speeches in the presence of prison officials. The teenage bride and other women, as is the custom here, held a separate reception outside the jail.

The groom, Awad Al-Harbi, and his bride were allowed to spend two nights together in a special prison quarters after the wedding, according to Al-Watan. Al-Harbi told another newspaper, Al-Madina, recently that his wife was pregnant. There are no laws in Saudi Arabia defining the minimum age for marriage. Though a woman’s consent is legally required, some marriage officials do not seek it. For example, a father can marry off a 1-year-old girl as long as sex is delayed until she reaches puberty, said one marriage official, Ahmad Al-Muabi.

And who is there to prove the pig waited until puberty? What kind of mother allows this? Here they talk about a woman’s consent. And an 8, 9, 10, 11 y/o?

Denouncing the custom, Sheikh Abdul-Aziz Al Sheik, the kingdom’s grand mufti and top religious authority, said recently a guardian should not impose his will on his children or promise them to their cousins. “Islam has stipulated that both parties agree to the marriage contract,” he said, according to Al-Madina newspaper. “The woman must express real consent to the suitor, and a guardian must not impose his choice of husband on her … or force his son to marry someone he doesn’t want.”

Arab Charter on Human Rights
Interpret these rights in the eyes of an innocent 8y/o little girl. Does she really have an inherent right to life if she is sold? A child forced to marry at age 8 is by definition held in servitude. There was no need for that father to sell his child to settle his debt. Marriage partners must fully and freely consent. Not possible at 8. And her recognition as a person?

Article 5
(a) Every human being has the inherent right to life.
(b) This right shall be protected by law. No one shall be arbitrarily deprived of his life.

Article 10
(a) All forms of slavery and trafficking in human beings are prohibited and are punishable by law. No one shall be held in slavery and servitude under any circumstances.

Article 18
No one who is shown to be unable to pay a debt arising from a contractual obligation shall be imprisoned.

Article 22
Everyone shall have the right to recognition as a person before the law.

Article 33

(a) The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society; it is based on marriage between a man and a woman. Men and women of full age have the right to marry and to found a family according to the rules and conditions of marriage. No marriage can take place without the full and free consent of both parties. The laws in force regulate the rights and duties of the man and woman as to marriage, during marriage and at its dissolution.

(b) The State and society shall ensure the protection of the family, the strengthening of family ties, the protection of its members and the prohibition of all forms of violence or abuse in the relations among its members, particularly against women and children. They shall also ensure the necessary protection and care for mothers, children, older persons and persons with special needs and shall provide adolescents and young persons the most ample opportunities for physical and mental development.

(c) The States parties shall take all necessary legislative, administrative and judicial measures to guarantee the protection, survival, development and well-being of the child in an atmosphere of freedom and dignity and shall ensure, in all cases, that the child’s best interests are the basic criterion for all measures taken in his regard, whether the child is at risk of delinquency or is a juvenile offender.

And what about female genital mutilation (FGM) that continues unabated in the Arab world – especially Northern Saudi Arabia? Forget the familiar refrain that FGM has nothing to do with Islam. WADI found that Iraqi Kurdistan 62% of women are mutilated – stats from 3 months ago. How is this not savagery? And why are Arab women allowing this to continue? They are the ones doing it to their daughters. Look at the horror on this little girl’s face. The do not use anesthesia and the women hold their daughters down while they scream for their mother to stop.

AFP via Kurdnet

First Lady Hillary’s Rodham Clinton’s Speech: “Women’s Rights are Human Rights

Bejing, China 1995 (text & video audio)

Named #35 of Top 100 Speeches of the 2oth Century

Think about that. She gave the 35th best speech in the 20th century while she was having “tea with ambassadors” while the orator of the cosmos has nothing.

While the Arab World Sits Silent

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