Afghan Father Sells Eight Year Old Daughter Into Marriage

150px-muslim_woman_in_yemenWe have yet another horrific case of a girl being treated as chattel — one more girl among an estimated 10 million forced to marry worldwide. Her father, Abdul Momin, sold her for $2000 in a small village near the border with Tajikistan. Child brides remain common in Afghanistan under Sharia law and local custom. The girl, Mina, was forced also to drop out of school. After all, she is now married. She had dreamed of becoming a teacher.

Afghan media showed the girl being married off to a boy of 12. When sold away into such marriages, these girls generally lose any opportunity for education — if it even exists for girls.

The wedding was reportedly attended by the local Mula Imam (religious leader) who insisted that the marriage was absolutely moral and right with Islam. We have seen other cases where girls this young have been married off to middle aged men under the same sense of morality.

The Imam noted that “[t]here is no ban for under age marriage in special conditions in Islam.” The “special condition” in this case appears to be that the father needed the money and could not afford the girl. However, Muslim clerics have defended such marriages as not “underaged.”

33 thoughts on “Afghan Father Sells Eight Year Old Daughter Into Marriage”

  1. Free NYC Pics (@freenycpics)

    @betty, of note in this story is that the 8 year old girl was betrothed to a 12 year old boy. I’m defending it only within the specific cultural context in which it is occurring. The fact pattern here is suggestive of an arranged marriage of course, that’s something that is deeply rooted in humanity’s history. Neither I nor you, from an American context, condone somebody choosing our spouse for us, the thought is even abhorrent.
    I agree with you. It is common in many societies today that the family picks the prospective spouse. My experience isn’t great but I have had discussions on this topic with two people. The first was a woman, a student, who was preparing for her wedding. She was completely ok with the idea that her family would be able to pick the right spouse for her. The other was a man just finishing his medical residency, who was actively looking for a wife and asked me for a recommendation (I may be many things, but cupid isn’t one of them). While he specifically expressed no preference as to religion, the choices for a Muslin woman were non-existent in the community and he found no one. He turned to his middle eastern family. The first woman they recommended was unacceptable because she was completely lacking in basic education. He broke off their engagement. Their second recommendation seemed more to his liking. After a short visit with her in the ME, he returned engaged. I lost contact so I don’t know if the marriage happened. Her part of the world is now in chaos.

  2. So when this girl is 18 and still dreams of being a teacher, what do you suppose will happen if she leaves her husband. Do we chalk it up to cultural differences when her brother slits her throat for bringing shame of the family?

    1. RSA – chances are good that her husband will divorce her before she is 18 because she got too old. She can still be a teacher if that is within reason. When I was her age I wanted to be a pro baseball player. Never had the skill set.

  3. Holmes, I think you need to do some research about the Ukrainian government before you call them “freedom” fighters. Even in the mainstream media in the US you can figure out that the legal, elected government was illegally overthrown by armed fascist groups. All you have to do is go to the BBC and see what these so called freedom fighters call themselves and their program. They are quite proud of the term fascist and they have adopted the Nazi banners, slogans, and war criminals as their guide. The program of theirs is to exterminate all non-Ukrainians from the Ukraine. Those groups now have control of four cabinet offices in the current government, two of which are the military and police.

    While I am not a big fan of Putin, he is responding to the fact of this fascist government which has no intention of treating all its citizens fairly or decently. So unless you support coups against elected governments, like Nazis, and creating ethnically pure states, you cannot support US support for the current government in the Ukraine. If you think Hitler was a freedom fighter, THEN you can call them that, but I think the majority of freedom loving folks here would take issue with your view.

  4. I dreamed of being a pro baseball player but that didn’t work out. However, as long as it is legal in that country it is not our right to interfere. Their country, their rules.

  5. Well why not those smart republicans in Arkansas have yet to fix the minimum age to marry…. So what’s the beef….

  6. Free NYC – your perspective is balanced, and none of us in any society has the option of changing the social norms even where we disagree with them. I was making a narrow point. Sometimes people justify situations with the argument they hadn’t any choice. My point being the father of this child did have a choice, and the choice he and many other fathers in that society make is the ease with which they sacrifice females interests to their own, even their nearest relative. Sexual restraint is not unknown in other poor cultures where the men have a modicum of respect for women.
    It is not seen as shocking because it is a social norm. What if poor women extricated themselves from poverty by selling their male children to old men? Would the argument that they had to do it because of poverty be acceptable?

  7. Steve H, You’re en fuego this morning. Just wait, the bashers will “announce their presence w/ authority” just like Nuke LaLouche.

  8. @prayer, dowries are nothing new, humanity’s tale comes complete with tales of woe, in this circumstance the fact pattern suggests necessity. We speak of the 1% in this country, but in reality relative to the world we’re all filthy rich of course, the rest of world? DESPERATELY poor; you’re self actualizing, they’re much farther down on Maslow’s pyramid.

  9. @betty, of note in this story is that the 8 year old girl was betrothed to a 12 year old boy. I’m defending it only within the specific cultural context in which it is occurring. The fact pattern here is suggestive of an arranged marriage of course, that’s something that is deeply rooted in humanity’s history. Neither I nor you, from an American context, condone somebody choosing our spouse for us, the thought is even abhorrent.

  10. prayerwarrior, Poor rural communities are unlikely to have much access to birth control, so births happen. Selling a child can (hopefully) provide a better life to the child who is sold and the money can ease the life of those still in the family. A hard choice. Very young brides to middle aged men is not such a good idea.

  11. It wasn’t at all unusual for European royalty to use their children as treaty binders by marrying them off to potential allies, frequently at a very young age. Of course, that was hundreds of years ago.

  12. We’re judging this action by American standards of course and it fails to take note of the specific cultural traditions in place in Afghanistan which are very similar to medieval European customs that are actually very important in agrarian societies. There’s no need for me to even try to defend the impact this has on gender equity, it obviously robs this young girl ree will. Arranged marriages and the subsequent dowry exchange also form bonds between families in societies that don’t have Social Security, that need to form such bonds. In the US, you can often make choices between good and bad, in much of the Third World, that’s not the case, the optimal choices reflect humanity’s roots which as little as slightly over a century ago was simply one of fundamental poverty.

  13. The current mood in American politics is to tolerate and embrace all other cultures; in some cases, to elevate them and celebrate them. It’s past time that Americans, especially leadership, recognize that Islam is a culture (not just a religion) that aspires to destroy most (all?) of the advances of civilization over millennia.

    Now the standard Islam-defender rhetoric is: “Islam, at its core, is a peaceful, gentle religion that has been hijacked by a few radical maniacs.” Tell that to this 8-year-old little girl. Better yet, tell that to your 8-year-old daughter.

    I’m going to get another cup of coffee. Would the “usual suspects” begin their attacks on Christianity now?

  14. And now we are going to spend more blood and treasure to save these countries from themselves. We should spend on money who people who want democracy and freedom like the Ukrainians or others in Eastern Europe now being threatened by Putin. Let the Muslims sort themselves out!

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