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Katie van Schaijik

Child brides

Apr. 9, 2010, at 10:00am

A 13-year old Yemini girl has died from injuries to her genitals four days after her wedding to a 23 year old. (Article here; hat-tip Jen Rubin.)

...the girl was married off in an agreement between two men to marry each other’s sisters to avoid having to pay expensive bride-prices. The group said that was a common arrangement in the deeply impoverished country.

In September a 12-year old child bride died after struggling to give birth for three days.

Yemen once set 15 as the minimum age for marriage, but parliament annulled that law in the 1990s, saying parents should decide when a daughter marries.

The brothers agree; the parents decide. Is the girl not a person?
It’s not just the extreme (and all too frequent) cases of brutality in strict Muslim societies that I object to—though they are horrifying enough—but the annihilation in law and practice of Muslim girls’ self-standing as persons. Their self-standing (i.e. their right and responsibility to dispose over their own existence) is denied, and their uniqueness as individuals is entirely bypassed in this Islamic view of marriage. It is not an “I” choosing a “Thou”, but a man getting a girl in a bargain.
Who can respect it?


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