Fatwa of the Month: “A nine-year-old girl has the same sexual capacities as a woman of 20 and over”

A Moroccan Islamic theologian, Mohamed Ben Sheikh Abderrahman Al Maghraoui, has caused a great stir by stating “A nine-year-old girl has the same sexual capacities as a woman of 20 and over”

He issued a fatwa (Islamic edict) where he “legalizes” the union between a child and an adult male. “We found that girls of that age give better benefits than adult women,” he says. “Consequently they are so trained to marry as young of 20 years.”

In the Islamic world, especially in the Arabian Peninsula, marriage between girls and adult males is relatively common, but Muslim theologians have not gone so far in justifying the practice.

Al Maghraoui, a well-known Salafist sheikh, and the author of half a dozen books of theology, posted the fatwa on the website of his association Preaching in the Koran and Sunna. His critics argue that he probably has done it to defend, from a religious point of view, the marriage contracted in secret by one of his friends.

His pronouncement has caused a major scandal in Morocco, but so far there has been no reaction from the authorities. The radical theologian bases his edict in the example of the prophet Muhammad. “Aicha, recalls, had only six years when she became her fiancée but was not married until she turned nine”.

There are “vicious theologians who are capable of putting religion in the service of paedophilia” writes the socialist daily Al Ittihad al Ichtiraki. “The era of our Prophet is completely different from ours. These days a marriage of the kind would be a true injustice towards the girl. A true aberration” says Naji Adib, who heads the association No ones touch my Children, who campaigns in Morocco against this scourge.

“This type of people look at Islam from the point of view which is convenient for them. It is a restrictive vision of Islam. And it is bad. Fatwas like these show the lack of reasoning from those who issue them. I cannot understand via what intellectual road or for what mental construction they come to such aberrations” she added.

Faced with the passivity of the authorities, a lawyer from Rabat, Mourad Bakouri, has taken the initiative to denounce Al Maghraoui for “violation of the Family Code and violation of children’s rights.” The new Moroccan law, which came into force in 2005, stipulates that the minimum age for marriage is 18 years.

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Over half of married women under 15, says report (Yemen)

Sanaa, 9 June (AKI) – Over half of women who marry in Yemen are under 15 years of age, said a field study conducted by Yemen’s Women and Development Study Centre, which is affiliated with the University of Sanaa.

According to the study which was cited in the Yemen Times newspaper, the rate of child marriage among females in Yemen reached 52 percent, compared to less than seven percent among males.

On top of that, in rural parts of Yemen, girls usually get married at an average age of 12 to 13 years old.

The parliament in Yemen is reportedly working to raise the minimum marriageable age, which currently stands at 15 years old and so far there is no punishment for those families who allow their daughters to marry under this age.

“Recently the case of early marriage in Yemen has come to light, especially after the divorce of a little girl last month,” said Amatalrazaq Hummad, Yemen’s Minister of Social Affairs, in an interview with the Qatari daily Al-Watan.

Hummad was referring to the case of ‘Noujoud’, the first eight-year-old child to obtained a divorce from her husband who is in his early 30s, through a court in Sanaa. n [digg=http://digg.com/world_news/52_of_Married_Women_Under_15_Years_Old_Yemen]

15 child brides used to settle Pakistan feud

It started with a dead dog, escalated into a tit-for-tat tribal war, and has now reached a grotesque climax with the exchange of 15 child brides.

Pakistani human rights activists are outraged at reports that a long-running blood feud in a remote corner of western Baluchistan province has been resolved by the handing over of 15 girls, aged between three and 10, for marriage.

“There has to be action,” said Asma Jahangir, a leading rights campaigner. “These people who force others to sell their daughters must be sent to prison.”

The new government in Islamabad, led by the party of the late Benazir Bhutto, has promised to act. “We will not allow young girls to be traded like this,” said the information minister, Sherry Rehman. “The culprits who tried to do this will be arrested. The orders have been given.”

But Jahangir said those orders had not been acted upon. “There is a dysfunction in the whole system. They are not listening to the government,” she said. “We need to see them being more effective than just rhetoric.”

Vanni, an ancient tribal practice in which feuding clans settle their differences by exchanging women for marriage, is illegal in Pakistan. In 2004 the Sindh high court outlawed all such “parallel justice” systems. But the writ of government is weak in rural areas, and local police often turn a blind eye.

The current controversy started with a row over a dog, said Muhammad Paryal Marri, a researcher in northern Sindh for the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan.

A dog owned by one tribe, the Chakranis, was shot dead because it strayed too close to a well controlled by their rivals, the Qalandaris. In revenge the Chakranis shot a donkey belonging to the other side. A ferocious bout of tit-for-tat killings ensued in which 19 people, including five women, were killed.

The fighting ended in 2002 when Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti – a rebellious tribal chieftain who was later killed by the Pakistan army – brought the two sides together. Bugti ordered the Chakranis to hand over 15 child brides in compensation; at a jirga, or tribal council. Last Friday they finally agreed to make good on that promise, said Marri.

“They agreed to pay some money and exchange the ladies,” he said.

Such brutal traditions have only come to light for a broader public in the past decade, thanks to activism by human rights groups and publicity from local media.

“Barbarity in the name of tradition,” declared the English-langauge newspaper Dawn earlier this week in a scathing editorial against the “medieval mindset that dominates many sections of our society”.

But, despite previous shows of similar anger, official action has lagged far behind. “The government is unwilling to use its authority to protect women. It will find any excuse,” said Jahangir.

Muhammad: Setting the ultimate pedophile example to be followed today.

An Abhorrent practice.

Nojoud, 8, gets divorce granted after forced marriage

A Yemeni court on Tuesday granted a divorce to an eight-year-old girl whose unemployed father forced her into an arranged marriage this year, saying he feared she might be kidnapped.”I am happy that I am divorced now. I will be able to go back to school,” Nojud Mohammed Ali said, after a public hearing in Sanaa’s court of first instance.

Her former husband, 28-year-old Faez Ali Thameur, said he married the child “with her consent and that of her parents” but that he did not object to her divorce petition.

In response to a question from Judge Mohammed al-Qadhi, he acknowledged that the “marriage was consummated, but I did not beat her.”

Yemen, one of the world’s poorest countries, has no law governing the minimum age of marriage.

Nojud was a second grader in primary school when the marriage took place two and a half months ago.

“They asked me to sign the marriage contract and remain in my father’s house until I was 18. But a week after signing, my father and my mother forced me to go live with him.”

Nojud’s father, Mohammad Ali Al-Ahdal, said he had felt obliged to marry off his daughter, an act he claims she consented to.

He said he was frightened after his oldest daughter had been kidnapped several years ago and later married to her abductor. He said the same man then kidnapped another of his daughters who was already married and had four children, resulting in him being jailed.

Dressed in traditional black, Nojud said she would now go to live in the home of her maternal uncle and did not want to see her father.

The girl’s lawyer, Shadha Nasser, said Nojud’s case was not unique. “I believe there are thousands of similar cases,” she said, adding that civil society groups are pressing parliament to set the minimum age for marriage at 18.

Although this will not right the abuse against her it has put a stop to it. I hope others in her position can learn from her example to stand up for their own rights.

8-year-old girl asks for divorce in court (Yemen)

Brave Nojoud Muhammed Nasser YT
(Photo by Hamed Thabet)

SANA’A, April 9 – An eight-year-old girl decided last week to go the Sana’a West Court to prosecute her father, who forced her to marry a 30-year-old man.

Nojoud Muhammed Nasser arrived at court by herself on Wednesday, April 2, looking for a judge to handle her case against her father, Muhammed Nasser, who forced her two months ago to marry Faez Ali Thamer, a man 22 years her senior. The child also asked for a divorce, accusing her husband of sexual and domestic abuse.

According to Yemeni law, Nojoud cannot prosecute, as she is underage. However, court judge Muhammed Al-Qathi heard her complaint and subsequently ordered the arrests of both her father and husband.

“My father beat me and told me that I must marry this man, and if I did not, I would be raped and no law and no sheikh in this country would help me. I refused but I couldn’t stop the marriage,” Nojoud Nasser told the Yemen Times. “I asked and begged my mother, father, and aunt to help me to get divorced. They answered, ‘We can do nothing. If you want you can go to court by yourself.’ So this is what I have done,” she said.

Nasser said that she was exposed to sexual abuse and domestic violence by her husband. “He used to do bad things to me, and I had no idea as to what a marriage is. I would run from one room to another in order to escape, but in the end he would catch me and beat me and then continued to do what he wanted. I cried so much but no one listened to me. One day I ran away from him and came to the court and talked to them.”

“Whenever I wanted to play in the yard he beat me and asked me to go to the bedroom with him. This lasted for two months,” added Nasser. “He was too tough with me, and whenever I asked him for mercy, he beat me and slapped me and then used me. I just want to have a respectful life and divorce him.”

Nasser’s uncle, who does not want to reveal his name, is following the case now as her guardian. According to her uncle, after Muhammed Nasser, the girl’s father, lost his job as a garbage truck driver in Hajjah, he became a beggar, and soon after suffered from mental problems.

Thamer is in jail now. “Yes I was intimate with her, but I have done nothing wrong, as she is my wife and I have the right and no one can stop me,” he said. “But if t

The husband YT Photo by Hamed Thabet

he judge or other people insist that I divorce her, I will do it, it’s ok.”

So far, no accusations have been made against her father, who was later released due to health problems, or Nasser’s husband, who will remain in jail for further investigation.

“So far there is no case and no charges, as Nojoud arrived by herself to court asking just for a divorce,“ said Shatha Ali Nasser, a lawyer in the Supreme Court who is following Nojoud Nasser’s story.

Shatha Ali Nasser confirmed that item number 15 in Yemeni civil law reads that “no girl or boy can get married before the age of 15.” However, this item was amended in 1998 so parents could make a contract of marriage between their children even if they are under the age of 15. But the husband cannot be intimate with her until she is ready or mature,” said Nasser.“This law is highly dangerous because it brings an end to a young girl’s happiness and future fruitful life. Nojoud did not get married, but she was raped by a 30-year old man.”

Nasser confirmed that Nojoud Nasser’s case is not the first of its kind in Yemen, but it is the first time that a girl went to court by herself to ask for a divorce.

“We are not planning to return Nojoud to her family. Who knows? Maybe after a few years the same thing will happen to her again,” said Shatha Ali Nasser. “We are planning to put her in Dar Al-Rahama [an non-governmental organization that works with children], where she can have a better life and education. We do not want her family to pay her expenses, as they are poor.”

Congratulations to this young girl for standing up for herself and her rights as a human.

Article source: Yemen Times