Saturday, February 14, 2015
Islamic Crime of the Week: Marriage
Let me rephrase that. In Yemen, an eight yer old girl was forced into marriage with a middle aged man, who proceeded to rape her, doing so much damage to her internal organs that she bled to death. What's remarkable about this is that in Yemen, and in Islam, this is perfectly legal. At least fourteen percent of girls in Yemen are forced into marriage before turning fifteen. While Yemen appears to be one of the worst places in the world for this crime, it's not an outlier. In Iran, child bride Razieh Ebrahimi, was handed a death sentence for killing her abusive husband. She'd been forced into marriage at age 14. This crime is quite common in many regions, but is particularly pronounced in Islamic cultures, because Islam explicitly endorses this practice. Banning it is un-Islamic.
I suppose it's bad form to quote Wikipedia, but note these:
"In 2013, Nigeria attempted to change Section 29, subsection 4 of its laws and thereby prohibit child marriages. This was opposed by Islamic states of Nigeria, who called any attempts to prohibit child marriages as un-Islamic. Christianity and Islam are practiced by roughly 50%-50% of its population respectively, and the country continues with personal laws from its British colonial era laws, where child marriages are forbidden for its Christians and allowed for its Muslims. Child marriage is a divisive topic in Nigeria and widely practiced. In northern states, predominantly Muslim, over 50% of the girls marry before the age of 15."
This isn't simply a cultural problem with backwards Arab tribesmen who happen to be Muslims. It's a Muslim problem.
"In Islamic nations, many countries do not allow child marriage of girls under their civil code of laws. But, the state recognized Sharia religious laws and courts in all these nations have the power to override the civil code, and often do. UNICEF reports that the top five nations in the world with highest observed child marriage rates Niger (75%), Chad (72%), Mali (71%), Bangladesh (64%), Guinea (63%) are Islamic majority countries." And note "...there is a strong belief among most Muslims and scholars, based on Sharia, that marrying a girl less than 13 years old is an acceptable practice for Muslims."
Maybe this is an exaggeration. Maybe it's not "most." Maybe it's only 25%. I doubt that, but isn't there a serious problem in a religion that has at least hundreds of millions finding this crime to be perfectly acceptable in this day and age? (Not a rhetorical question -- there's a correct answer: yes!)
Here's a fascinating video on a case of child marriage in Yemen. It manages to be horrifying, uplifting, and heart-breaking. But especially worth noting is the representative of the Muslim Brotherhood, a Yemeni parliamentarian and Islamic scholar, who explicitly defends child marriage as Islamic. Religion of peace, pppffooey!