MUSLIM MARRIAGE

“The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e. till his death)” (Bukhari 7.62.88).

The Prophet engaged me when I was a girl of six (years). We went to Medina and stayed at the home of Bani-al-Harith bin Khazraj. Then I got ill and my hair fell down. Later on my hair grew (again) and my mother, Um Ruman, came to me while I was playing in a swing with some of my girl friends. She called me, and I went to her, not knowing what she wanted to do to me. She caught me by the hand and made me stand at the door of the house. I was breathless then, and when my breathing became all right, she took some water and rubbed my face and head with it. Then she took me into the house. There in the house I saw some Ansari women who said, “Best wishes and Allah’s Blessing and a good luck.” Then she entrusted me to them and they prepared me (for the marriage). Unexpectedly Allah’s Apostle came to me in the forenoon and my mother handed me over to him, and at that time I was a girl of nine years of age. (Bukhari 5.58.234).


Germany Moves To Ban Child Marriages After Finding 1500 Cases Among Refugees

The Daily Caller

April 5, 2017

The German government agreed on a proposal Wednesday to outlaw child marriages after finding more than 1,500 cases of immigrant minors having adult spouses.


The Central Register of Foreign Nationals has documented a surge in child marriages in recent years. As of July 2016, 1,500 minors of non-German background were registered as married, including 361 under the age of 14.


The largest group of child brides, 664 minors, come from Syria followed by Afghanistan and Iraq.


“Children do not belong at the wedding altar, they belong in school,” Justice Minister Heiko Maas said Wednesday. “We cannot tolerate any marriages that might harm the natural development of minors.”


Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet wants to annul all marriages where a participant was under the age of 16 at the time of the wedding. Courts would further have the power to nullify marriages involving a person between 16 and 18 years of age.


The current age of consent for all marriages is 16 in Germany. Since the country doesn’t recognize “religious marriages,” authorities can’t do anything to stop the practice from taking place in many cases.


Schools across the country have warned that young girls frequently stop showing up to school after getting married.


“There are frequently cases where a girl, usually between 13 and 15 years of age, suddenly no longer come to school,” an anonymous teacher told newspaper Welt am Sonntag last August.



Lost childhood and education: Child marriages in Bangladesh

Sumon Corraya

Poverty and traditional Islamic culture are the main causes. 55% of brides are under 18 years of age; 18% under 15. A new law would allow the wedding in "special circumstances" to save the honor of the girls. Three stories of child marriages.

Dhaka (AsiaNews) - "I lost my childhood, I wanted to go to school. I loved studying, but my parents received a good proposal and organized the wedding despite my opposition”,  Sumi Akter, 17 year old Muslim girl married off when she was 14 tells AsiaNews. Hers is one of many cases of child marriage, a scourge that afflicts the whole of Bangladesh society.

Poverty and traditional Islamic culture are the main factors driving families to arrange marriage for girls at an early age. The phenomenon cuts across all religious communities, except for Catholics who do not support early marriages.

The practice is especially widespread in the Islamic community. Sumi today is the mother of a two year old, has two sisters and two brothers. She said that her father, a simple worker, "could not carry on maintaining the family. So they made me marry hiding my real age. " She risked her life at birth, due to severe bleeding. She's was care of, but the child was born under-weight and has had several problems. For all these reasons, she says, "I strongly oppose the passage of the law authorizing the marriages before age 18".

The reference is to a law approved last month by the Dhaka authorities. According to the draft of the Prohibition of Child Marriage Act - 2016, the juvenile marriages will be permitted only in "special circumstances", such as "accidental or illegal pregnancies", so as "to save the honor of the girl."

According to current provisions, the legal age for marriage is 21 years for males and 18 for females. Several activists complain that the bill would legalize forced marriages to repair for pregnancies that are the result of sexual violence, which is widespread in the country.

Official figures show that Bangladesh is the Asian country with the highest rate of child brides. 52% of brides are under 18 years old and 18% under 15 years old.

The juvenile marriages also affect the Hindu community. Bristy Rani was married at 16 years with a boy of 25. Her parents have chosen marriage as a means to "ensure my safety. When I was in school I was the target of several guys who made me marriage proposals and insulted me. Given the situation, my family members agreed. " According Bristy, poverty and insecurity would push parents to arrange the marriage of their daughters. "Bangladesh is not a safe place for girls - she says - and we cannot move freely. Government and associations must reduce poverty".

In the Catholic community in general there are few incidents of early marriages. Church authorities do not support the marriage of minors. The rare exception is to Probitro Rozario and Pronoti Gomes (fictional names), spouses at age 16. The local Church has allowed their marriage because Pronoti was pregnant. Irrespective of their case, Probitro believes that "juvenile marriages are wrong. The Church has to transmit good values to pupils, teaching Christians not contract marriage in childhood.



UN Voices Alarm At Growing Number Of Child Marriages In Iran


Agence France-Presse

February 05, 2016

GENEVA:  A growing number of young girls are being forced to marry in Iran, UN rights experts warned Thursday, decrying laws permitting sexual intercourse with girls as young as nine.


Following a review of the situation in Iran, the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child (CRC) urged the country to "repeal all legal provisions that authorise, condone or lead to child sexual abuse."

The committee, which is made up of 18 independent experts who monitor the implementation of international children's rights treaties, said it was "seriously concerned" over reports that child marriages in Iran were on the rise.

A growing number of "girls at the age of 10 years or younger ... are subjected to child and forced marriages to much older men," CRC said.

Compounding the problem were laws allowing sex with girls as young as nine, and a lack of criminalisation for sexual abuse of even younger children, it said.

The committee also lamented a law obliging wives "to fulfil sexual needs of their husbands at all times," which it stressed "places child brides at risk of sexual violence, including marital rape."

Stressing the devastating effects child marriage can have on the physical and mental health of young girls, the experts called on Tehran to introduce national laws clearly banning and criminalising the practice.

The committee also raised a range of other disturbing issues, including the fact that boys in the country are considered criminally responsible at the age of 15, and girls at nine.

This means children down to those ages can be subjected to "sentences involving torture or cruel, degrading treatment of punishment," it said.

Most distressing perhaps is that some crimes committed as a minor in Iran are punishable by death, and that the country occasionally executed children.

"A small number of children have been executed in Iran," committee member Bernard Gastaud told reporters.

His colleague Benyam Mezmur described the situation as being "of very serious concern."


Bill banning child marriage fails in Pakistan after it’s deemed ‘un-Islamic’


By Ishaan Tharoor

The Washington Post
January 15, 2016

Pakistani lawmakers had to withdraw a bill aimed at curbing the practice of child marriage after a prominent religious body declared the legislation un-Islamic.


The bill, which proposed raising the marriage age for females from 16 to 18, also called for harsher penalties for those who would arrange marriages involving children. Despite the laws in place, child marriages, particularly involving young female brides, are common in parts of the country. It's estimated that some 20 percent of girls in the country are married before they turn 18.


But the Council of Islamic Ideology, a constitutional body which gives advice to parliament on the compatibility of laws with Sharia, appeared to slap down the legislation after deeming it "un-Islamic" and "blasphemous," according to Agence France Presse. It had already handed down a similar ruling in 2014.


The council has garnered opprobrium in the past. In 2013, reports AFP, "it suggested making DNA inadmissible evidence in rape cases, instead calling for the revival of an Islamic law that makes it mandatory for a survivor to provide four witnesses to back their claims."


Girls Not Brides, an international coalition of civil society organizations working against child marriage, cited this religious body as an obstacle toward reform. A number of provinces in Pakistan have pushed for legislation cracking down on child marriages, but implementing the law is more difficult.


Clerics on the council object to minimum age requirements, arguing instead that an individual can marry once reaching puberty, which can be as early as the age of 9.



Women must give husbands sex ‘even on camels’, Islamic scholar says

BY IDA LIM
Malaymail Online

KUALA LUMPUR, April 27 — While insisting that the concept of marital rape does not exist in Islam, religious scholars say it is sinful for a Muslim man to force his wife to have sex when she is ill or menstruating.

Perak Mufti Tan Sri Harussani Zakaria said that men can always have sexual intercourse with their spouses even if the latter do not agree, saying that a Muslim woman has “no right” to reject her husband’s demand.

“Even the Prophet says even when they’re riding on the back of the camel, when the husband asks her, she must give.

“So there’s no such thing as rape in marriage. This is made by European people, why should we follow?” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted yesterday as he cited the hadith or reported teachings of Prophet Muhammad.

Harussani claimed that Europe itself did not regard women highly before creating the concept of marital rape after the 18th century when Europeans came into contact with the Muslims and were attempting to improve Islamic laws.

According to Harussani, a woman’s agreement to marry will be sought when her father gives her away to a man in marriage. Subsequently, she can only refuse her husband sex if she is menstruating, sick, or has just given birth, he said.

“Once she got married, the dowry is paid, she can’t refuse unless when she’s [on her] period,” he said, saying that the Quran clearly states that it will be “haram” or forbidden to have a sexual intercourse with a woman who is menstruating.

Independent Muslim preacher Wan Ji Wan Hussin said that rape is defined in Islam as an act between two unmarried individuals.

“That term (marital rape) is not accurate in the practice of Islam because rape in Islam is defined as forced sexual intercourse outside of marriage,” he told Malay Mail Online when contacted yesterday.

While stating that husbands cannot force their wives to have sex, he said the key issue is not about getting consent, but revolves around how men can show love and create a romantic atmosphere to change their spouses’ minds to willingly agree to sexual intercourse.

“That means if the husband does not seek consent, it cannot be considered rape, but that action is considered not polite (beradab) in Islam,” he said, adding that it would not be considered “haram” or sinful, but would be “makruh” or frowned upon by Islam.

Wan Ji said women have the right to refuse sex when they are either sick, menstruating or old, insisting that men having sex in such cases are considered sinful.

During the fasting month for Muslims, both men and women are not allowed to have sexual intercourse and wives must reject such requests by their husbands, he said.

Women may opt to either turn down their husbands’ requests or cancel their fast during optional and additional fasting days, he said, adding that women can even refuse sexual intercourse if they are in a bad mood or were exhausted from work.

Both Harussani and Wan Ji said that using violence to force a wife to have sexual intercourse would be clearly criminal, with the former saying that the wife can call the police or a religious judge as it would be an offence in both the civil and Shariah legal systems.

Wan Ji said the use of actual violence would fall under the “qisas” system of Islamic offences that would allow retributive punishments, explaining that the threat to harm a wife would not be an offence but would be considered a sin as it could affect her emotions.

In Malaysia, marital rape is not a legal offence, but a husband may be prosecuted and imprisoned up to five years for forcing his wife to have sex by threatening violence or by harming her.

Following the launch of DAP lawmaker Yeo Bee Yin’s joint rape awareness campaign with the All Women’s Action Society (AWAM) last week, some Muslims have disagreed with a poster that said “Without her consent, it is rape. No excuse” and claimed that rape does not exist in the context of Islamic marriage.


Pakistan's religious body endorses underage marriage

PTI | May 22, 2014

ISLAMABAD: In a retrogressive step, a religious body in Pakistan has declared girls as young as nine years old eligible to be married "if the signs of puberty were visible", a media report said today.

Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) chairman Maulana Mohammad Khan Sheerani of the Jamiat Ulema-i-Islam-Fazl (JUI-F) said after a meeting yesterday that media and 'some other segments of society' were not taking the council's decisions seriously.

He said laws that defined a minimum age for marriage were not Islamic and should be repealed, adding that the council would recommend that the Parliament amend these laws to bring them in accordance with Islamic principles, Dawn news reported.

He also criticised the Sindh Assembly which last month passed Sindh Child Marriage Restraint Bill, banning underage marriages.

The CII chief said marriages that were solemnised at a time when both individuals were minors were only binding if they were arranged by the 'wali' (father or grandfather) of the two individuals.

In cases where marriages were solemnised by someone other than the 'wali', both individuals had the option to refuse or reconsider the match upon achieving adulthood.

Clarifying the decision, Sheerani said that a 'nikah' could be performed at any age, but the bride could only start living with the groom after reaching puberty, the report said.

The CII chief also said that most of the clauses of the existing Muslim Marriage Law, 1961 were un-Islamic.

He said that section 6 of the law, which required men to seek permission from their wives before entering into another marriage, was not in accordance with Islamic principles.

Civil society took strong exception to the statement.

"Women and children are the most vulnerable groups in the country. If such legal cover as a minimum age prohibiting child marriages are done away with, then exploitation of women and children will increase," human rights commission of Pakistan chairperson Zohra Yousuf said.



Afghan parliament upholds right to marry children

By Cheryl K. Chumley
The Washington Times
Monday, June 10, 2013

Afghanistan's parliament has rejected a measure that would have barred men from marrying girls younger than 16, saying the proposal ran counter to Islamic ideology.

The measure also would have banned “baad, [the] traditional practice of buying or selling women to settle disputes,” and outlawed criminal charges being imposed on rape victims, Breitbart reported. Rape victims in Afghanistan often are charged with fornication or adultery.

President Hamid Karzai reportedly supported the measures, but opponents said they “violate[d] Islamic principles,” Breitbart reported.

The failure of parliament to act in accordance with Mr. Karzai highlights a deep rift among the nation’s politicians. And it comes at a time when elections are set for April 2014 for a new president.

There is “a rift between conservative and more secular members of the community,” Sky News reported.


Teenager exposes India's 'one month wives' sex tourism

A 17-year-old girl has exposed the scale of Islamic sex tourism in India where Muslim men from the Middle East and Africa are buying 'one month wives' for sex.

By Dean Nelson, Hyderabad
5:19PM BST 14 Apr 2013

Campaigners for Muslim women's rights said while short term 'contract marriages' are illegal in India and forbidden in Islam, they are increasing in Hyderabad, in southern India, where wealthy foreigners, local agents and 'Qazis' – government-appointed Muslim priests – are exploiting poverty among the city's Muslim families.

The victim, Nausheen Tobassum, revealed the scale of the problem when she escaped from her home last month after her parents pressurised her to consummate a forced marriage to a middle aged Sudanese man who had paid around £1,200 for her to be his 'wife' for four weeks.

She told police she had been taken by her aunt to a hotel where she and three other teenage girls were introduced to a Sudanese oil company executive. The 'groom', Usama Ibrahim Mohammed, 44 and married with two children in Khartoum, later arrived at her home where a Qazi performed a wedding ceremony.

According to Inspector Vijay Kumar he had paid 100,000 Rupees (around £1,200) to the girl's aunt Mumtaz Begum, who in turn paid 70,000 Rupees to her parents, 5,000 Rupees to the Qazi, 5,000 Rupees to an Urdu translator and kept 20,000 Rupees herself. The wedding certificate came with a 'Talaknama' which fixed the terms of the divorce at the end of the groom's holiday.

"The next day he came to the house of the victim girl and asked her to participate in sex but she refused. She is a young girl and the groom is older than her father," Inspector Kumar told The Telegraph.

Her parents reassured him they would persuade their daughter and told her she would be punished if she did not. Instead she ran out of their tiny one room home in Hyderabad's Moghulpuri neighbourhood and was rescued by a police patrol. The police arrested the groom, the victim's aunt and the Qazi, and issued a warrant for her parents' arrest – Nausheen is a minor under Indian law and cannot marry until she reaches 18. Her parents are now in hiding but will be charged with arranging a child marriage, 'outraging the modesty' of a woman, and criminal conspiracy.

Inspector Kumar said there are dozens of illegal short term contract marriages in the city, and that the Sudanese man they arrested had come to Hyderabad after a friend in Khartoum told him he had taken a '40 day wife' during an earlier visit.

"If a Sudanese wants to have sex, he has to pay three times more [in Sudan] because there are far fewer girls there, or he takes a second wife. In India the girls are coming for a cheaper rate and they are beautiful. Even if they are only staying for a few days they are doing this kind of illegal marriages for sex," he said.

He said the visitors want to marry because they believe prostitution is forbidden under Islam. Poor families agree to contract marriages because they have many daughters and cannot afford to pay for all their weddings.

Instead, they have a series of one-month contract 'marriages' to fund their own genuine wedding.

Shiraz Amina Khan of Hyderabad's Women and Child Welfare Society, said there were up to 15 'contract marriages' in the city every month and that the number is rising.

"They come to Hyderabad because it has maximum downtrodden families. Thirty to forty per cent of families are going for the option of contract marriages to relieve their poverty. It has to be stopped," she said.

Nausheen Tobassum, who is now living in a government home for girls said in an interview before she was placed in care, that she had filed a complaint to stop the same thing happening to other girls.

"I didn't know what was happening and I agreed in ignorance. They forced me. They changed my date of birth certificate and made a fake one, where I was shown as 24 years old. They exploit girls and that's why I went to police. I had to show courage to go to police against my parents. I don't want to go back to my home, I am scared," she said.


Nearly half Saudi women are beaten at home

Study shows desert people are less violent that other Saudi men

By Emirates Staff
Published Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Nearly half Saudi women are beaten up by their husbands or other family members at home and many of them are hit by sticks and head cover, according to a university study published in local newspapers on Tuesday.

Surprisingly, the study found that the Bedouin men who still dwell the desert in the conservative Gulf Kingdom, are less violent than Saudi men in urban areas.

The study was conducted by Dr Lateefa Abdul Lateef, a social science professor at King Saud University in the Capital Riyadh. It involved female students at the university and some Saudi women covered by the government’s social security.

“The study showed that nearly half those covered by social security and more than a third of the female students at the university are beaten up at home,” Dr Lateefa said, quoted by the Saudi Arabic language daily Almadina.

“Husbands were found to be beating their wives more than others….they are followed by fathers, then brothers then sons…hands and sticks were found to be used mostly in beating women, following by men’s head cover and to a lesser extent, sharp objects.”

The study showed that husbands beating their wives included both educated and non-educated men and that “those dwelling in the desert are less violent with their wives than those living in cities or villages.”

The study found that the main reasons for violence against women include poor religious motives, drug addiction and alcoholism, arrogance and a tendency to control, psychological problems, poverty, and unemployment.


Man who divorced his child bride by TEXT MESSAGE could be sacked in Indonesia - as Twitter backlash also claims judge who joked women 'enjoy rape'

    The fact both could be fired shows attitudes to women's rights are changing
•    Government official Aceng Fikri left his wife four days after their wedding
•    President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono issues a rare public condemnation
•    The marriage had sparked outrage and was greeted with angry protests
•    Judge Muhammad Sunusi joked about rape at supreme court job interview
•    Judicial commission has recommended he is fired from his high court job

By ALEX GORE
PUBLISHED: 04:46 EST, 18 February 2013

A government official who sparked outrage by marrying a child bride could be sacked after divorcing her by text message four days into their marriage.

Aceng Fikri, 40, chief of Garut district in West Java province, Indonesia, was already married with two children when he wed the young girl.

In another case that highlights attitudes towards women's rights in the Southeast Asian country, a judge joked during a supreme court job interview that women might enjoying being raped.

But both officials are now at risk of losing their jobs, which has been seen as a small step forward by campaigners.

The supreme court has recommended the president dismiss Fikri for violating the marriage law, and police are investigating the case because it involves a minor.

The country's judicial commission has also called for Judge Muhammad Daming Sunusiat to be sacked for his comments about rape.

Unregistered polygamous marriages, such as Fikri's, are common in the archipelago. Although divorce by text message is rare, it is allowed under Islamic sharia law.

His ex-wife Fani Oktarahas, who was the legal age of 16 when she married him, denied his claims that she was not a virgin.
A photo of the wedding last summer was posted on the internet and caused a public outcry in the local media and on Twitter, blogs and Facebook.

Thousands of people took to the streets in December to protest, with student and women's rights activists demanding he resign.

Protesters trampled and spat on photos of his face before setting them ablaze outside the council building in Garut.

President Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono responded by issuing a rare public condemnation of the 40-year-old official and his illegal marriage.

There has also been anger last month over the comments made by Judge Muhammad Daming Sunusiat at a parliamentary selection panel for a supreme court position.

He said it could be a mistake to impose the death penalty for rape because both the attacker and the victim 'might have enjoyed' it.

The remark reportedly drew laughter from panel members. Sunusi later apologised and said he had been joking.

Not only was Sunusi rejected for the job, but the country's Judicial Commission recommended that he be dismissed from his position on the South Sumatra high court.

But the supreme court would have to agree, and it has said such punishment would be too severe because he made the remark in an interview, not during a trial.

Husein Muhammad,of the commission on violence against women, said: 'Enough is enough!

'Our officials should no longer mess around and issue ridiculous statements even as a dumb joke.'

Women in the social-media-obsessed country have been rallying, online and on the streets, against sexists comments and attacks on women for some time.

The movement in a country of 240 million people, most of whom practice a moderate form of Islam, appears to be having some impact on the largely secular government.

Husein Muhammad added: 'We are living in a different era now. Now we have supporting laws and social media to bring severe consequences and social sanctions.'

But rights groups argue the country remains far behind on many issues involving gender equality and violence. Rape cases often are not properly investigated, and victims are sometimes blamed.

In 2011, after a woman was gang raped on a minibus, then-Jakarta governor Fauzi Bowo drew protests after warning women not to wear miniskirts on public transportation because it could arouse male passengers. Bowo lost his re-election bid last year.

A sex-trafficking case involving a 14-year-old girl prompted education minister Mohammad Nuh to say last year that not all girls who report such crimes are victims.

He said: 'They do it for fun, and then the girl alleges that it's rape.'

His response to the criticism he received was that it's difficult to prove whether sexual assault allegations are 'real rapes.'

Growing concern in Indonesia over women's rights reflects that in India, where a brutal and deadly New Delhi gang rape in December has drawn nationwide protests and demands for change. That case also resonated in Indonesia.

'Let's imagine the suffering of women who are treated badly by their husbands and the rape victims. What if it happened to our own families?' said Ellin Rozana, a women's rights activist in Bandung, capital of West Java province.

'We need government officials who will be on the front line to protect women, and judges who can see that violence against women is a serious crime.'

In the West Java official's case, it was the text-message divorce that prompted outrage more than his unregistered second marriage, though such weddings raise issues about women's rights.

They are regularly performed for Indonesians ranging from poor rice farmers to celebrities, politicians and Muslim clerics.

Polygamy remains common in many Muslim countries, based on Islamic teachings that allow men to take up to four wives.

In Indonesia, men are allowed to marry a second wife only after the first gives her blessing. Since most women refuse to agree to share their husbands, unregistered ceremonies, or 'nikah siri,' are often secretly carried out by an Islamic cleric outside the law.

Some of the marriages are simply a cover for prostitution. A cleric is paid to conduct 'contract marriages' as short as one night in some parts of Indonesia, usually for Middle Eastern tourists.

Practices differ slightly elsewhere, with men in places such as Malaysia sometimes marrying outside the country to avoid informing existing spouses and seeking permission from an Islamic court.

Ceremonies in Iraq are often held in secret for the same reason. No approval is needed in the Palestinian territories, but contract marriages are banned.

Without a marriage certificate, wives lack legal rights. Children from the marriage are often considered illegitimate and are typically not issued birth certificates, creating a lifetime of obstacles ranging from attending schools to getting a passport.

However, in another sign of Indonesia's changing attitudes, the supreme court this month ordered all judges to obey an earlier constitutional court ruling granting rights such as inheritance to children born out of wedlock, and to punish fathers who neglect them.

The women's commission on violence is now pushing for a revision of Indonesia's 1974 marriage law to grant more protections to women and children.

'I hope Indonesian women can take a lesson from Fikri's case,' said Ninik Rahayu of the commission.

'At least it has awakened their awareness to not marry in an illegal way.'


Muslim Forced Marriages in Spain

by Soeren Kern

August 14, 2012

Police in the northeastern Spanish region of Catalonia have intervened to prevent the forced marriage of a 13-year-old girl belonging to a Muslim immigrant family from Morocco.

The girl was one of nine reported victims of forced marriage in Catalonia during the first six months of 2012. Seven of the reported cases involved minors, but in several instances when police were alerted, they were unable to intervene in time to prevent the marriages from taking place.

Catalan police, known locally as Mossos d'Esquadra, have reported a cumulative total of more than 50 forced marriages involving minors since the regional government began compiling official data in 2009. Police, however, say this figure represents only "the tip of the iceberg"; many victims are unaware of their rights and most of the cases go unreported.

The issue of forced marriage is especially acute in Catalonia, where the Muslim population has skyrocketed in recent years. Catalonia, a region with 7.5 million inhabitants, is now home to an estimated 400,000 Muslims, up from 30,000 in the 1980s.

The Muslim population in many Catalan towns and cities now exceeds 20%; and the town of Salt, near Barcelona, where Muslim immigrants now make up 40% of the population, has been dubbed the "new Mecca of the most radical Islamism" because of efforts by Muslims to enforce Islamic Sharia law there.

According to Catalan officials, the majority of forced marriages in Catalonia involve Muslim girls from North Africa, Sub-Saharan Africa, South Asia and the Middle East. The majority of the cases involve immigrants from Morocco, followed by Pakistan, Gambia, Guinea and Senegal. Marriages are often arranged with a cousin or another family member to continue the tradition, to prevent the Europeanization of the girls, or to pay outstanding debts.

According to Catalan police, four of the cases of forced marriages during the first six months of 2012 occurred in the Catalan province of Gerona, one of the most heavily Islamized regions of Spain. Police say they were able to prevent only two of the four weddings. Three of the others occurred in the city of Barcelona, and two were within the province of Barcelona. All nine involved Muslim immigrants.

Children, on their own initiative, have even approached the police for help. The situation involving the 13-year-old girl, for example, began in January 2012, when the girl's mother, with whom the child had been living in Gerona, died, and the father, who was residing in neighboring France, took the girl to live with him in Toulouse.

Once in France, the girl discovered that her father was planning to marry her off to a man in Morocco in early July. The girl alerted police in Toulouse, who transmitted the information to the Spanish consulate in the city. Spanish authorities then devised a scheme in which the girl persuaded her father to take her to Gerona on the pretext of completing some official paperwork. Once across the border in Spain, police arrested the father, and the girl was transferred to a foster home in Gerona.

As forced marriage is not an offense under the Spanish Criminal Code, police have been trying to use other legal avenues such as pursuing crimes involving sexual assault, unlawful detention, gender violence and kidnapping. In the instance of the 13-year-old, police determined that the girl was being subjected to physical violence, and arrested the father for child abuse. But as is often happens in Spain, the judge overseeing the case ordered the father to be released from jail.

Many reports of forced marriages of children reach police through schools: victims often confide in a trusted teacher. In one such case in 2011, police in the Barcelona suburb of L'Hospitalet arrested a 27 year old Moroccan man for forcibly marrying a minor.

The case came to public attention after a former teacher of the girl, who lives in the same apartment complex as she, alerted the police. A subsequent investigation found that the girl's family had taken a trip to Morocco where the child was forced to marry against her will. Once back in Spain, the girl contacted the teacher, who then called the police.

Investigators found that the girl was being detained in her new husband's apartment against her will and that she was a victim of rape. Once again, the judge hearing the case ordered the husband released from jail.

In another case, a young Pakistani girl subjected to forced marriage escaped from her husband and wandered alone on the streets of Barcelona for ten days until gathering the courage to report her situation to the police.

In some cases, the trigger for forced marriage comes when young women from Muslim immigrant families find a boyfriend in Spain and angry parents intervene. A 17-year-old girl in Gerona, for instance, was coaxed by her family to travel to her native country for a family reunion. Once there, she was forced to marry her cousin. Although she resisted because she had a boyfriend in Gerona, she relented when her family threatened to prevent her from returning to Spain if she refused to sign the marriage certificate.

Catalan police say they prevented 21 forced marriages in 2011, 13 of which involved minors; 15 forced marriages in 2010, and 13 in 2009. They also say that in 2011, they prevented the genital mutilation of 36 girls aged between two years to 12. Most of the cases (27) occurred in the province of Barcelona, eight in Gerona and one in Lérida. In 2010, Catalan police prevented the genital mutilation of 28 girls, and in 2009, 55 genital mutilations. Catalonia accounts for 80% of the girls in Spain who are at risk of genital mutilation.

Local police say that many Muslim girls in Catalonia live in fear of the so-called family reunion in disguise and that they often speak of friends who left Spain, but never returned.

Soeren Kern is a Distinguished Senior Fellow at the New York-based Gatestone Institute. He is also Senior Fellow for European Politics at the Madrid-based Grupo de Estudios Estratégicos / Strategic Studies Group. Follow him on Facebook.


Sordid trade in the 'summer brides'

Arab tourists are 'buying underage Egyptian sex slaves' to serve them for just a few months'

•    Poor families paid a 'dowry for the temporary marriages
•    Young victims suffer sexual slavery and forced to be servants

By DAILY MAIL REPORTER
PUBLISHED: 04:10 EST, 15 July 2012

Wealthy tourists from the Persian Gulf are paying to marry under-age Egyptian girls just for the summer, according to a report.

These temporary marriages are not legally binding and end when the men return to their homes in Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Kuwait.

The tourists pay a 'dowry' to poor families through intermediaries with prices ranging from £320 to £3,200.

The young victims - some under 18 - suffer sexual slavery and are forced to be servants to their 'husbands', claims the U.S. State Department report 'Trafficking in Persons'.

No foreigner can marry an Egyptian girl if there is an age difference of 10 years, according to state laws. But parents and marriage brokers are getting round the restriction.

They will forge birth certificates to make the girls appear older and the men younger. In 2009, a court in Alexandria jailed two registrars for conducting temporary marriages of hundreds of girls under 18.

Sex before marriage is banned under Islamic law and most hotels and landlords demand proof before allowing a couple to share the same room.

But the report found that many parents will marry their daughter without her consent and often the girls agree to the arrangement because their families have no money.

Some of the victims are taken back to their husband's country to work as maids while those left in Egypt are shunned by the conservative society - particularly if they have children during their temporary marriage.

The shame leads many of the girls to dump these youngsters in orphanages or abandon them with thousands of other Egyptian street children.Many of these 'brides' are also targeted by Egyptian men and forced into prostitution. 

Dr Hoda Badran, who chairs the NGO Alliance for Arab Women, told the Sunday Independent that she believed poverty was the major cause of the trade.

She said:'If those families are in such a need to sell their daughters you can imagine how poor they are. Many times, the girl does not know she is marrying the husband just for the short term.

'She is young, she accepts what her family tells her, she knows the man is going to help them. If the girl is very poor, sometimes it is the only way out to help the family survive.'


Islamic book on how to beat wives irks UK


Mar 26, 2012
The Times of India

LONDON: An Islamic marriage guide advising men on 'the best ways' to beat their wives has sparked outrage in Britain, especially among moderate Muslims who say that it encourages domestic violence.

The book - 'A Gift For Muslim Couple' - tells husbands that they should beat their wives with "hand or stick or pull her by the ears", the Daily Mail reported.

Authored by Maulavi Ashraf Ali Thanvi, who is understood to be a prominent Islamic scholar, the 160-page book claims to be a "presentation for newlyweds" or couples who have been together for some years.

"The book... deals with the subject of marriage and after marriage relationship, as well as the various pitfalls of marriage, causes of breakdown and their causes," reads the book's blurb.

The book, however, also states that a husband should treat the wife "with kindness and love, even if she tends to be stupid and slow sometimes".

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