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“Save me. I don’t want him.”

“Save me. I don’t want him.”

An 11-year-old girl has been forced to marry an octogenarian in Saudi Arabia, becoming the latest addition to the rising number of child brides in the kingdom.

January 18, 2010 12:14 by



In the latest example of the rising number of child brides in Saudi, an 11-year-old girl was forced to marry a man 70 years her senior who already has three wives, reports Al Arabiya, quoting local media. Despite the girl’s mother objecting to the marriage, the girl’s father, who received SAR 85,000 ($22,665) in dowry, said that there was no reason for the wedding to be a problem.

“I don’t care about her age,” he told the Saudi daily al-Riyadh. “Her health and her body build make her fit for marriage. I also don’t care what her mother thinks,” he said. “This is a very old custom and there is nothing wrong with it whether religiously or socially.”

The groom, a cousin of the girl’s father, also seemed surprised at the commotion created by the wedding.

“He [the father] told me ‘I have a girl and she will marry no one but you,’” the groom told the paper. “So, we got the witnesses and summoned the registrar. I paid the dowry and we held the ceremony and that was it,” he said.

“It is very simple. We didn’t do anything wrong. It is a valid contract that meets all the conditions for marriage. What’s the point of all this fuss?”

The marriage registrar also shared the same sentiment. “There is no law that prohibits the marriage of a girl under 18,” an official told al-Riyadh. “Plus, I summoned the girl and she declared her consent and signed the contract,” he added, contrasting reports that the bride burst into tears and cried: “Save me. I don’t want him.”



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9 Comments

  1. Goran on January 19, 2010 7:47 am

    Having spent 22 years working throughout the region I have been fortunate enough to see and enjoy so many good sides of Middle East and met so many genuine good people.

    The reported event is not representative of Middle East but will still reinforce the incorrect image many people have of the area. It is unfortunate that the thinking of a few people remains set in a different millenium.

    If the comments of the men involved are correctly reported to us, one must hope the Saudi society at large will work towards eradicating child marriages and bringing in laws to punish such offenders who do not want to see that childern should remain children.

     
  2. Faisal on January 19, 2010 8:29 am

    Well as of my knowledge it is an old custom of Arab society (which is also allowed in Islam) that a father has the right to marry his daughter BUT it obviously should not be by force. So if someone forces his girl into this than he (as an individual) is to be blamed for it and not the entire society.

    At the same time I want to address all those western minded people who are going to look at this news and point their figures towards the entire Arab region calling them cruel to women or whatever. A legal marriage of a young girl does not go down the throat of people with western mind but I want ask them are your young girls really single?? What happens on prom nights in west, same aged girls have alcohol / sex and this is absolutely fine with everyone. Madonna said it very proudly on stage in front of entire world that she had intercourse when she was only 13 years old. Now when was Madonna 13?? May be about 40 year ago?? Western society has advanced far ahead now and everyone knows that your girls and boys have sex in very young ages like 10 / 11 / 12 only BUT when the same aged girl is being legally married, people with western minds have a problem?? Guys isn’t it hypocrisy??

    There was a time when homosexuality was a crime in western society but now it is legally allowed for gays to get married, there was a time that pornography was a crime but today it is a legal business. So who knows that may be 50 years down the line child marriage will also be allowed?? Think wisely…..

     
  3. Miss Anne Thropic on January 19, 2010 10:07 am

    People aged 11. 12, 13 etc should be neither having sex or getting married. Both activities are entirely inappropriate for people so young. Western countries have age of consent laws making it an offence to have sex usually under the age of 16, 17 or 18. Of course these laws don’t necessarily stop underage sex but legal intervention, as well as the intervention of social workers, can take place in the event of underage sex.

    What is truly absurd in the Middle East is that sex that takes place between a 15-year-old girl married off to an older man is legal but sex that takes place between two consenting adults is not.

     
  4. Babu on January 19, 2010 1:07 pm

    It is a old news.
    After this crisis, Saudi Government has passed a law that says a girl should have attained 18 years for a marriage. And marriage without the consent of the bride will go void.

     
  5. Tony on January 19, 2010 1:49 pm

    I think Faisal is missing the point. She is 11, he is over 80! There is a HUGE difference from girls having underage sex (although not right).,to a girl being forcefully married to a man old enough to be his grandfather to service his own needs. If a girl in the west was having ‘relations’ with a man eight times her age, people would sit up have a real issue with it. She has been bought and sold against her will. Hmm there is a word for that no?

     
  6. OFiroz on January 19, 2010 4:43 pm

    Almost all the local Arabs are having 2 or more wives, one in their own country and another one in Pakistan, Egypt or Lebanon. So marrying 2 or more ladies are not an issue here, older man marrying an under aged girl is definitely an issue! And that too without her (bride’s) approval. This law whatever it is has to be eliminated. It is inhumane.

     
  7. Justice on January 20, 2010 1:13 pm

    It is really rather simple… A law should be introduced making it illegal for any under-age person (male or female below the age of 18) to marry. Three (3) positives will come out of this:

    1. Completing a high school education would get priority over marriage.

    2. People might choose to delay marriage altogether, in favor of pursuing a college education; thereby slowing down the current population explosion that is affecting KSA.

    3. The law will make pedophilia a punishable crime in KSA

     
  8. Andrew on January 20, 2010 6:16 pm

    So Faisal (quite rightly) mentions that some cases shouldn’t mean blaming the culture as a whole, but place responsibility on the person. He then rather ironically goes off on a rant about women in the western world.

    Kudos mate, I couldn’t attempt to be a bigger berk if I tried.

     
  9. Sleepless in Sharjah on January 23, 2010 10:11 am

    What comes to mind really is paedophilia. So perhaps Faisal, according to your logic, paedophilia could be legalized worldwide in 50 years or so? By no means, religious, spiritual or social, is molesting a child or getting a child to consent to sexual activities (under duress or unawareness) a God driven deed or good for society, or do you beg to differ?

     

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