Sunday, April 12, 2009

Unlucky Eight

A Saudi judge has reaffirmed his previous ruling allowing the marriage of an eight-year old girl. The case had returned to him after an appellate court remanded the case. His reasoning was that the girl's mother, who brought the case on her daughter's behalf, had no standing to sue since she was not the girl's legal guardian (that would be the father, who arranged the marriage to settle a debt and is separated from his wife). The judge said that the girl herself could petition for divorce once she reached puberty, and in the mean time the man was forbidden to have sex with his "wife".


jon said...

The outrage about this article is not because the western cares about the well bieng of an 8 year old muslim girl, but to make a mockery of Saudi society. Had this been true concern about the well bieng of an 8 year old girl, than why was the world so silent when hundreds of 8 year old children were shelled and burned alive by Israeli phosphorous bombs in Gaza in the recent war. What is a greater crime, an 8 year old getting married to an old man, where she still has a voice and people to speak on her behalf, or children burned and murdered by the worst weapons on earth and left to die under a besieged strip of land without appropriate medical care.

PG said...


The outrage about this article is not because the western cares about the well bieng of an 8 year old muslim girl, but to make a mockery of Saudi society.What a ridiculous claim. The CNN article is all about the tension between the religious judges and the more secular/ modern parts of Saudi society.

We've been hearing about these types of cases once every four or five months because the Saudi public is now able to express this kind of anger -- especially so when girls are traded off to older men," Wilcke said.

Wilcke explained that while Saudi ministries may make decisions designed to protect children, "It is still the religious establishment that holds sway in the courts, and in many realms beyond the court."

Last December, Zuhair al-Harithi, a spokesman for the Saudi government-run Human Rights Commission, said his organization is fighting against child marriages.

"The Human Rights Commission opposes child marriages in Saudi Arabia," al-Harithi said. "Child marriages violate international agreements that have been signed by Saudi Arabia and should not be allowed." He added that his organization has been able to intervene and stop at least one child marriage from taking place.

Wajeha al-Huwaider, co-founder of the Society of Defending Women's Rights in Saudi Arabia, told CNN that achieving human rights in the kingdom means standing against those who want to "keep us backward and in the dark ages."

She said the marriages cause girls to "lose their sense of security and safety. Also, it destroys their feeling of being loved and nurtured. It causes them a lifetime of psychological problems and severe depression."
Good grief, how many times can someone react to a problem with allowing religion to dictate citizens' lives with "Look over there, it's Israel!"