Saudi marriage official weds 12-year-old girl
The marriage of a Saudi government official to a 12-year-old girl has inflamed a long simmering battle over marriage to minors in the country, reports The National.
The fact that the unidentified groom, who lives in the city of Najran, was a mazoun, or marriage official, whose job it is to preside over the signing of marriage contracts, only added to the outrage over the marriage among some Saudis.
Some tribal elders also see nothing wrong in giving young girls in marriage. Many families marry their daughters to older men for financial benefits, getting payments from grooms in advance and if a marriage is broken.
Many traditionalists believe early marriage protects their daughters from premarital relationships, pointing to active support from senior clerics such as Sheikh Abdul Aziz al Sheikh, Saudi Arabia’s grand mufti.
“If a girl exceeds 10 or 12 then she is eligible for marriage, and whoever thinks she is too young, then he or she is wrong and has done her an injustice,’’ Sheikh Abdul Aziz told an audience in Riyadh University last year.
Many argue that Islamic law in fact permits such marriages, citing the Prophet Mohammed’s marriage to Aysha when she was nine.
There are many, many reasons why child marriages should be outlawed, not least because they take such a physical and mental toll on the girls concerned. The following paragraph in the article says it all:
The man who married the 12-year-old girl told Al Watan newspaper on Friday that he was goaded into consummating the union by his mother and that it took “several attempts over two weeks” to accomplish, even as the girl expressed bewilderment about “why her parents gave her away to me”.
Thanks to @myscannerdarkly for this story.