Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Child-Marriages in the Muslim World

AOL News reports that for the first time in Saudi Arabia, the government run Human Rights Commission has hired a lawyer to look into the case of a 12 year old girl who was forced to marry her father’s 80 year old cousin. The arranged marriage was opposed by the girl’s mother, who since withdrew her opposition. The father received $23,000 as bride price.

Among the Wahhabi Muslims in Saudi Arabia there is strong support for child marriages and claim that it is supported by the Koran. Mohammed himself married his third wife, Aisha, when she was 9 years old.

"It is incorrect to say that it's not permitted to marry off girls who are 15 and younger," Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, the kingdom's top cleric, said in January, according to the regional Al-Havat newspaper "A girl aged 10 or 12 can be married. Those who think she's too young are wrong, and they are being unfair to her."
Human rights advocates hope that the highlight on this case will push for the introduction of legislation set the legal age for marriages between 16 and 18.

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