A ten-year-old girl found hiding in her aunt’s home was forcibly returned to her eighty-year-old husband by her father. While the man would be called a pedophile in the West, he is called a husband under Sharia law in Saudi Arabia and could rightfully demand the return of the child wife.
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.
Mohammad is often accused by critics of being a pedophile due to his marriage to 6-year-old Aisha, which was consummated when she was 9.
Notably, in this case, the aunt stand accused of interfering with a valid marriage by giving shelter to the girl: “My marriage is not against Sharia. It included the elements of acceptance and response by the father of the bride.”
The story of another ten-year-old child bride’s struggle in Yemen is inspirational, but she continues to be exploited by her family even after her success in securing a divorce, here.
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