Saudi Arabia has been hit with a torrent of criticism over the practice of arranged marriages involving children often ten or even younger. In a spasm of reform, Justice Minister Muhammad Issa has now announced a major reform: the government will “regulate” such marriages to avoid abuse. Of course, this is like saying that you will regulate pedophilia to guarantee that it is not abusive.
Notably, the government has refused to prohibit the practice, even after the controversy of a marriage of a 47-year-old man and an eight year old girl.
These cases often involve daughters being sold to settle debts. Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul Aziz al-Shaikh has defended such marriages.
Courts will sometimes order that there should be no consummation until after a girl reached puberty. Since girls can reach puberty as early as nine, this reform means that men can have sex with nine and ten year old girls under reforms guaranteed to avoid abuse.
For the full story, click here.