Despite the same tired religion-versus-culture excuse trotted out at the end of the report below, this is not merely a “cultural” practice, as amply demonstrated by its persistence in Islamic countries far removed from one another. It persists because Muhammad, as a “beautiful pattern of conduct” per Qur’an 33:21, made the practice sacrosanct:
“The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with ‘Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death).” — Sahih Bukhari 7.62.88.
Apologists have repeatedly claimed that this is all a misunderstanding — that Aisha was 16, 19, or thereabouts, or that she was apparently only “9” in Galapagos tortoise-years or some such. Of course, it’s not our reporting on how, oddly enough, these cases keep happening, that drives the practice in the Muslim world, so their indignation is quite misdirected. It’s just so much easier to blame the messenger than, well, the “Messenger.”
“Judge blocks 14-year-old girl’s arranged marriage,” by Peter Mickelburough for the Daily Telegraph, September 15 (thanks to DJM):
A 14-year-old girl has been banned from leaving Australia and has had to surrender her passport to save her from an arranged marriage.
Just days before the girl’s father planned to whisk her overseas to marry a man she has never met, the Family Court ordered she must stay.
The Melbourne teenager is one of a number of Australian girls forced into arranged marriages overseas each year.
Her plight came to light when child protection officers received a report in June that the then-13-year-old had been taken out of school ahead of her intended marriage.
In a landmark decision published on Monday, the Family Court barred the girl, who cannot be identified for legal reasons, from travelling abroad until she turns 18.
Federal Police were ordered to place the girl’s name alongside the names of accused serious criminals and tax cheats on the official Watch List at departure points around the nation.
Her family, who are believed to be Muslims from the former Yugolsav Republic of Macedonia, has had to surrender the girl’s passport and cannot apply for a new one.
According to court documents, the girl had been interviewed by two child protection workers at her home while her parents were at work.
One of the officers said the girl told them she had been engaged for a month to a 17-year-old boy from another country but did not know what she felt about marrying him because she had never met him and had only ever seen a photograph of him.
The officer said he formed the opinion the girl had not considered the prospect of having sex with her new husband or the possibility of being abused.
He said the girl indicated she had not discussed her feelings with her parents and did not know her mother’s opinion of the marriage.
“It is my belief that it would not be in [the child’s] best interests to travel . . . to be married as she is a child and she does not appear to understand the consequences of marriage,” the officer’s affidavit concluded.
“Furthermore she would be deprived of a school education and she may be at risk of sexual exploitation and emotional harm.”
Islamic Council of Victoria vice-president Sherene Hassan said arranged child marriages were a perverse practice not mandated by Islam.
“Not mandated.” There’s a big difference between “not mandated” and “not permitted.”
“According to Islamic law a woman must give her consent to marriage without any form of collusion,” she said yesterday.
Did Hassan perhaps mean “coercion?” More importantly, however, when is a “woman” a “woman,” and what constitutes free and informed consent?
“Sadly there are some Muslims that fail to discern [the difference] between culture and religion.”
Islamic practices and values are necessarily suffused with Muhammad’s culture and personality, and the culture that grew up around imitating him. The practice of child marriage is but one consequence of that.