Saturday, July 16, 2011

Horrors of Child Brides

From CNN:
In Yemen, a deeply tribal society, the issue of child marriages is a complicated one.

Two years ago, 10-year-old Nujood Ali shocked the world when she took herself to court in Yemen's capital city of Sana'a and asked a judge for a divorce.

After a well publicized trial, she was granted one -- and became a heroine to those trying to shine a spotlight on the issue of child brides in Yemen, where more than half of all young girls are married before age 18, mostly to older men.

In 2009, Yemen's parliament passed legislation raising the minimum age of marriage to 17. But conservative parliamentarians argued the bill violated Sharia, or Islamic law, which does not stipulate a minimum age of marriage.

And because of a parliamentary maneuver the bill was never signed into law.

More than 100 leading religious clerics called the attempt to restrict the age of marriage "un-Islamic".

Mohammed Aboulahoum, who advises Yemen's president, said the law should be passed, but he added the fight against child marriage restrictions were a distraction -- a way for the parliament to avoid bigger, more sensitive, political issues.

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