Though she was only eleven, and he had promised to wait till after puberty. Then again, if Muhammad — that paragon of all virtue — consummated his wedding with Aisha when she was nine, within an Islamic context, what’s the problem? As for this business of tying her up and “raping” her, sharia law has no problem with that. Or, as one Yemeni legislator put it, “Everything that is not forbidden [such as raping one’s wife, an oxymoron in Islam] is permitted.”
“Islamists Fight Yemen Law Banning Child Marriage,” from Fox News, April 16:
SAN’A, Yemen “” She was 2 years old when her father promised her in marriage to a man in his 30s. It was a swap, so the father could marry the man’s sister without paying the obligatory bride-price.
At age 9, the girl was put on a sack of rice to appear taller next to the bridegroom in the wedding picture. At 11, she was taken to her husband’s house to live. Despite promising not to consummate the marriage before she reached puberty, he tied her to a bed, stuffed a rag in her mouth and raped her, she says.
“One day he tied me up and attacked me,” the girl, who is now 13 and has fled her husband, told The Associated Press on Wednesday, choking with tears during an interview at an orphanage that has given her shelter. Her name and her husband’s aren’t being used to protect her identity.[…]
Child marriage is an issue elsewhere. In neighboring, more affluent Saudi Arabia, several cases of child brides have been reported in the past year, though the phenomenon is not believed to be nearly as widespread as in Yemen.
The U.S. on Wednesday sharply criticized the practice after a ruling by a Saudi judge upheld the marriage of a girl whose father gave her at age 8 to a man in his late 40s. The girl’s mother has sought a divorce for her daughter.
“Child marriage is a clear and unacceptable violation of human rights in our view. U.S. officials at all levels frequently raise with the Saudi government our human rights concerns, especially those dealing with children and marriages,” State Department spokesman Robert Wood said.[…]
That is, in between Obama bows to the Saudi king.
Legislator Sheik Mohammed al-Hazmi, one of the most ardent opponents of a minimum marriage age, says the new law is a “Western plot aimed at Westernizing our culture.”
“The West wants to teach us how to marry, conceive and divorce. This is cultural colonization that we reject,” he told AP.
Al-Hazmi said Islam permits the practice because nothing in the Quran and the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad bans it. “Everything that is not forbidden is permitted,” he said.
Lawmaker Sheik Shawki al-Qadhi vehemently disagrees. He said that according to Islamic law “a ruler can ban that which is permitted if it is proven to cause harm.”
Regulations short of an outright ban won’t work, he said. “Are we going to post a policeman at every bedroom to ensure husbands don’t consummate marriages before girls reach puberty?”
Al-Qadhi said he is confident the new law will survive review, though some say the age could be lowered to 15.
The girl who spoke with the AP is now living at the Alrahma Foundation for Human Development, an orphanage in the capital, San’a.
She first came to the orphanage when her father died, when she was 11. She had not yet moved in with her husband, because the agreement had been that she would do so at puberty.
But she said her brother showed up at the orphanage and persuaded her to go with him, telling her they would seek a court annulment of the marriage. Instead, he took her to her husband’s house in the southern town of Thammar for a bribe of about $200, the girl said. About nine months later, the husband forced her into sex, she said.
She got a chance to break away when she developed stomach and vocal cord problems last year and her husband sent her to San’a for treatment. She escaped from the house where she was staying and fled to the orphanage 10 months ago.
Today, at 13, she is learning to read and write and beginning to think about the future.
“I want to become a businesswoman,” she said, two tiny dimples lighting up her thin face.