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.
One of the more famous child-brides is of course the one that was foricibly married to the Ayatollah Khomeini, who called marriage to a prepubescent girl: “a divine blessing,” and advised the faithful: “Do your best to ensure that your daughters do not see their first blood in your house.”
In June, 2002 Iranian authorities approved a law raising the age at which girls can marry without parental consent from 9 to 13. The elected legislature actually passed the bill in 2000, but the “Guardian Council”, a 12-man body of conservative clerics, vetoed it as contradicting Islamic Sharia law. Iran’s clerical establishment insists that the marriage of young girls is a means to combat immorality.
The Expediency Council, which arbitrates between the elected parliament and the theocratic Guardian Council, timidly passed the measure. The law however does not change the age at which children can get married (nine for girls and 14 for boys), but says that girls below the age of 13 and boys younger than 15 need their parents’ permission and the approval of a “Righteous Court.” Reformists state that the new law does not protect children, since most of those who marry at such a young age do so by force.
It is quite common in Iran for older men to marry children, as long as they pay the appropriate bride-price to the girl’s family. This basically means that a father can sell his daughter to whomever he wants, whilst the mad mullahs see this as a means of maintaining purity. We prefer to call this child prostitution and rape, especially given that Iran’s clerics approve of the ‘tradition’ of ‘temporary marriage’ (Mut’a), which can last less than 24 hours and may be repeated as many times as desired. This form of exploitation is widespread and legitimises sex with young children. The man may even visit his temporary wife every weekend at her father’s house, for about $10 per visit. How’s pimping?”
1.) “Khadija died three years before the Prophet departed to Medina. He stayed there for two years or so and then he married ‘Aisha when she was a girl of six years of age, and he consummated that marriage when she was nine years old.” Bukhari vol.5 book 58 ch.43 no.236 p.153.