Often, readers’ comments at Arab News are even more interesting than the articles themselves. As we found out last fall, silly kuffar, self-control is for girls. Today is International Women’s Day, and so the site has posted a number of articles on women’s issues in the Magic Kingdom.
First, there is a report on new proposals to curtail child marriage. Resistance to that will, of course, come from Islamic tradition, citing the example of Muhammad, and a reader makes that precise argument. The headline is a candidate for Understatement of the Week. “Child marriages, an issue still not resolved,” by Fatima Sidiya for Arab News, March 8:
JEDDAH: The Human Rights Commission (HRC) is preparing to release three studies covering child marriages in the Kingdom.
It will also recommend a minimum age for marriage in Saudi Arabia as well as criminalizing the act.
A minimum age would be tremendous progress. But chances are, as long as there are authorities willing to look the other way, there are about to be a whole lot of very young looking “18-year-olds” in the kingdom.
The three studies, explained HRC media relations head Mohammad Al-Ma”addi, will address the religious, health and social issues associated with child marriages. “The studies will discuss the negative effects of minor marriages on child wives, their babies, and society in general,” he said,
“After the studies are completed, we will present them in a seminar and discuss our recommendations, most importantly to set a law that criminalizes the act and set a specific minimum legal age for marriage in the Kingdom.”
A recent poll conducted by the National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) revealed over two thirds of those surveyed were against marriages involving girls under the age of 18.
Some critics oppose issuing rules that prohibit something legitimized by Islamic teachings. The majority of them call for stricter regulation of child marriages where would-be husbands are banned from exercising complete freedom in the marriage contract. […]
Though there has been no exact figure of child marriages, some studies published in the media suggested that no less than 3,000 girls in the Kingdom were under 13 when they got married, while their husbands were at least 25 years their senior.
Minister of Justice Mohammad Al-Eissa said in April 2009 that the ministry would regulate child marriages soon.
He added that they would do this to “protect rights and prevent any vice and to prevent the negative trend of minor marriages.” […]
Suhaila added that a new civil status law to be implemented jointly in the GCC countries would cause further problems, as it allows the judge to approve the marriage of any 15-year-old child, even if the parents or guardians do not approve.
“The judge according to this law will be able to OK these marriages. If we approve this law, we are basically undermining the importance of marriage contracts and being casual about the security of our families.”
She said that there is no data available on child marriages.
“The Ministry of Justice should provide us with that data, but unfortunately we don’t have any. The Ministry of Justice has recently included a clause in the marriage contract document forcing the couple to state their age. What is the use of that clause if we are not going to curb these marriages? More importantly, how can we make sure the ages we record are accurate?”
Quoth a reader: “As regards marriages, the Quran and Sunnah is clear. We have to go by the Islamic interpretation as to who a child is. When there are clear texts, there is no room for anyone’s opinion. As Muslims we cannot allow anyone to mess around with what Allah has permitted and prohibited. Giving in to these commissions is like opening “PANDORAS BOX.”
There’s your problem. More sentiments on this Women’s Day (there are minority voices of sanity interspersed at the link):
From “Mukhtar”: “Are we born free? It is a big question mark what we call as freedom. If we believe that we are from Allah and we have to return to Him. In this case we are bounded by the laws of Allah. So we are not free.”
From “SRKJED”: “Dear Women of Saudi Arabia, I do understand that you face a lot of trouble in daily lives, due to your dependency on your Meh’ram. But I would suggest that you stay away from the mainstream, since most men in this country are so ill-mannered and mishbehaved that they can even frustrate menfolk. ”
From “Umar”: “womens are given high position in Islam i think it is enough for them. Y these women looking for pleasures in this world just imagine the gifts and pleasure in Jannath.”
From “Muslim”: “Saudi Women should be given the rights, but not like western countries. See the result, women leaves the home even in mid night without anybody’s permission.”
From “N.A. Mohamed”: “Be careful. Some restrictions are ordained by the All Mighty one, Allah. Be proud of your religion. In islam everyday is womens day. Don’t listen to slogans of enemies of islam such as “women’s freedom”, “women’s day” etc.. The enemies want to destroy muslim ummah, especially Muslim women & girls.”
From “Sultan”: “No, No. No need to change anything. Present Saudi law is the best law it provides full protection , safety and dignity to women. They should always be controlled, dont let them to go out of control. Women should always be obedient to their parents and husbands, they are certainly their well wishers, guardians and protectors. Any sensible and wise lady will not ask for such “FREEDOM” May Allah protect our ladies (sisters and mothers) from all bad deeds and evil thoughts.”
And from “A Reader”: “I fail to understand why media is publishing such things. The atmosphere in the Kingdom is very peaceful and I dont think there is any problem for women. Newspapers should refrain from publishing such naive demands which are attempts to change the decent atmosphere and create disturbances in Saudi Arabia.The so called women’s day and women’s rights is nothing but to destroy and damage the dignity of women and just to uncover them in the name of freedom which is very bad and shameful.”