15/5/10; A mud-walled village in Iran. Soraya, a 35-year-old mother of seven, is falsely accused of adultery by her violent husband, who wants to be rid of her to marry a 4-year-old girl. He blackmails the local mullah, who sentences Soraya to death by stoning under Sharia law. The crowd cries “Allahu akbar [God is great!]” as Soraya’s two young sons are invited to hurl the first stones. It takes Soraya an agonising three hours to die. The next day an Iranian-French journalist, Freidoune Sahebjam, stops in the village to get his car fixed and is told the horrific story by Soraya’s fearless aunt, Zahra. He makes a narrow escape from the village and goes on to write a book in honour of Soraya that will become an international bestseller in 1994, opening the eyes of the West for the first time to the barbaric practice of stoning in some Islamic countries.
Posts Tagged ‘Marriage’
Charles Bremner; 27/4/10
President Sarkozy’s campaign against full Islamic veils took a comic turn yesterday when a Muslim butcher claimed that his wives were no different from the mistresses that Frenchmen traditionally enjoyed. Lies Hebbadj, 35, was defending himself after the Government made him a national example by citing his supposed polygamy as an illustration of un-French ways. He came to attention when a police officer in Nantes fined his wife euros 22 for driving while dressed in a niqab. Brice Hortefeux, the Interior Minister, demanded that Mr Hebbadj, who was born in Algeria, be stripped of his French nationality. The butcher said: “If we are stripped of nationality for having mistresses there would be a lot of French people stripped of nationality.” Mr Hebbadj has become an unwitting symbol for both sides in the row over Mr Sarkozy’s plans for a law, to be tabled in Parliament next month, that will bar women from covering their faces in public.
A 13-year-old Yemeni girl who had been forced into marriage died five days after her wedding when she suffered a rupture in her sex organs and haemorrhaging, a local human right’s organisation said. Ilham Mahdi al-Assi died last Friday in al-Thawra hospital in Hajja province, the Shaqaeq Arab Forum for Human Rights said in a statement quoting a medical report. She was married last week in a traditional arrangement known as ”swap marriage” in which the brother of the bride also married the sister of the groom, it said.
Fatima Sidiya; 26/3/10
A sheikh has urged the government to implement a minimum age for marriage. Shiekh Abdul Muhsin Al-Obaikan wants to avoid cases of very young girls getting married to men many years their senior. The sheikh has also pledged his support for the “No to Minor Marriages” campaign run by Arab News’ sister publication, Sayidaty magazine. Al-Obaikan said that forcing a young girl to marry nullifies the marriage because it does not fulfill one of the major rules of Islamic marriage — the agreement of the girl. The campaign has already received support from princesses, human rights activists, Shoura Council members, lawyers and the Ministry of Social Affairs.
A 14-year-old Muslim girl was arrested at her home by Ghatkopar police, Mumbai, in December last year, in connection with a supposed violation of the Child Marriage Prohibition Act as her relatives complained to the police that she was underage and should not be married off. Instead of taking suitable action against her parents, the police arrested the young girl. The police should know that a jail sentence will remain a scar in her life for not fault of her under the pretext of protecting her interest. Is this what a welfare state should do after 60 years of being liberated from the British standard of colonial justice? Women’s organizations too forget the plight of individuals who remain in focus due to wranglings between authorities and legalities and keep barking up the wrong trees.
Some of Yemen’s most influential Islamic leaders, including one the US says mentored Osama Bin Laden, have declared supporters of a ban on child brides to be apostates. The religious decree, issued Sunday, deeply imperils efforts to salvage legislation that would make it illegal for those under the age of 17 to marry. The religious decree, issued Sunday, deeply imperils efforts to salvage legislation that would make it illegal for those under the age of 17 to marry. The practice is widespread in Yemen and has been particularly hard to discourage in part because of the country’s gripping poverty — bride-prices in the hundreds of dollars are especially difficult for poor families to pass up.
Aa a proud Zulu, South African president JacobZuma has long stood firmly by his right to have multiple wives (three, currently) and a large brood of children (20) by different mothers. But in the past couple of weeks the 67-year-old has been forced to issue a public apology following revelations he fathered a child out of wedlock – less than a month after tying the knot with Tobeka Madiba, 36 in a Zulu ceremony. Headlines at home such as “The Shame of a Nation” shouldn’t have come as too much of a shock to Zuma, however – among traditionalists in South Africa, polygamy isn’t a sin but having a child out of wedlock certainly is. Zuma has so far shown no inclination to take a fourth wife – the mother of his new baby daughter.
Chris Merritt, 18/2/10
The Law Council of Australia has committed itself to overturning the federal ban that prevents judges taking account of Aboriginal customary law. The Law Council’s new policy on indigenous Australians describes customary law as “sophisticated and complex”. But the Law Council has also recognised that some aspects of customary law — such as the arranged marriage of under-age girls – breach Australian law and international human rights principles. The policy says the Law Council recognises that indigenous Australians may observe their customary laws and that these should be recognised by the legal system where this is appropriate. But it says this should be done “consistently with international human rights standards” — a qualification that could leave the way open for the exclusion of the more contentious aspects of Aboriginal law. The policy, which was launched this week by Law Council president Glenn Ferguson, would require the federal government to overturn the Howard government’s 2006 changes that prevent judges taking account of customary law when passing sentence. This issue came to prominence in 2006 when a 55-year-old Aboriginal elder was sentenced to a month’s jail for having anal sex with a 14-year-old girl promised to him as a wife.
Susan Maushart; 13/2/10
For all of recorded human history, females have reliably sought mates whose access to material resources – goats, sheep, share options – is greater than their own. Anthropologists call the tradition of marrying up “hegemony”, and note that it is also associated with choosing partners who are somewhat taller, somewhat older and infinitely more inclined to take up couch space. Today, however, the so-called Iron Law of Marriageability is finally getting metal fatigue. According to a new US study, young women are increasingly marrying down, and that means two things to this reporter. First, and most importantly, that I have always been a woman ahead of my time. (Repeatedly.) And second, that the sexual politics of marriage may never be the same again. (If we’re lucky.)
Rick Feneley; 18/1/10
A Melbourne woman trapped for years in Saudi Arabia has been deported and forced home without three of her children, who remain with her allegedly abusive former husband. The Australian consul and embassy officials surrounded the 33-year-old Muslim convert, Jennifer Birrell, as she collapsed on the road outside her Riyadh home and pleaded with her ex-husband: ”Please, don’t take my kids from me.” The children, Aliyah, 8, Salem, 7, and Ibraheem, 4 – all born in Australia – wept as they were separated from their mother before she was escorted to the airport with her two other children and flown to Melbourne, where they arrived late on Friday night. After a long struggle to obtain exit visas for her family, Ms Birrell, who had been the director of English at Al-Yamamah University, says she was suddenly told this month she was being deported without charge or explanation – and with no right to the three children fathered by her ex-husband.
Fathers-in-law can be real pains, especially when they try to force divorce and demand compensation. According to a report in the daily Al-Shams newspaper on Sunday, a Makkah man went to a judge demanding that his daughter separate from her husband of over nine years. In addition to that, the man wanted financial compensation for all the time his son-in-law slept with his daughter. The man also claimed that he had the legal right to speak on behalf of his daughter. The judge sent the father to a medical investigation to examine his mental health when he continued insisting a divorce despite the couple’s wish to continue their conjugal life with greater mutual understanding.
Muneera Al-Matrouk; 11/1/10
We Muslims find it painful to hear about the condemnable actions of some of our fellow Muslims. Islam is not to blame when a father violates the rights of his wife and children. It is regrettable to come across shameful acts while living in a Muslim country where values of justice and Shariah laws are implemented. It is tragic that some people justify such actions by saying he is the father and is free to do what he wishes with his daughter. This is worse than what happens in jungles where parents never torture their children or kill them. It is a pity that we — while living in a country of security, providence and prosperity — are unable to extend the simplest rights to the weak who are the first category of people that need protection, as they are unable to defend themselves. The incident involving a child in a swimming pool who was barely two years old and in which she was subjected to a frightening ordeal at the hands of her own father is yet another example of injustice.
Badea Abu Al-Naja; 5/1/10
Women who are forced to go out and seek jobs to sustain themselves or help their poor families might find themselves prey to all sorts of harassment. Employers, forced by Saudization rules to hire citizens, do not usually feel happy when approached by Saudis, especially women. These companies do not only offer women low wages but may also not pay them full salaries at the end of each month. The payments may also be delayed for many months. The predicament does not stop here. Some of the women job seekers or those already employed by the private sector may have to pay a heavier price if they want to be employed or continue in their jobs. Talking to Arab News about her bitter experience, Ibtissam, a young Saudi woman, said she had to seek a job because her ex-husband agreed to give her divorce only if she relinquished the alimony for their son. She said she got a job at a private sector establishment as a saleswoman. “The company gave me the mobile numbers of many customers and asked me to call and offer them our products,” she said. “A customer immediately started courting me the moment he heard me. It was as if he had never heard a female voice before. When I hung up on him I was surprised to hear my supervisor reprimanding me and telling me that I was not fit for the job.
Karen McVeigh; 19/12/09
A woman whose husband has been jailed for murdering their 15-year-old daughter 10 years ago in an ”honour killing” is living in fear of reprisals after she gave devastating evidence against him. Tulay Goren was killed in January 1999 after running away from home to live with her boyfriend, a fellow Turkish Kurd twice her age, whom her family disapproved of because he was from a different branch of Islam. On Thursday, at the end of a dramatic and emotional 11-week trial, Mehmet Goren was given a life sentence, with a minimum of 22 years, for killing his daughter after kidnapping, drugging and tying her up.
Arjuwan Lakkdawala; 9/11/09
The floods shocked many, especially a Saudi wife whose husband fled for his life and left her to drown in a car filling up with water. Pakistani truck driver Shahzad (not his real name) witnessed the cowardly act. “I couldn’t believe my eyes when this man left his wife to die. I couldn’t bear the sight of the drowning woman shouting for help,” he said.“I got down from the truck and half swam and half waded to her and carried her on my back and brought her to safety. We were petrified from what we saw happening around us. The woman was crying a lot. We waited till the Civil Defense helicopter came to rescue us.”
Richard Spencer; 7/12/09
On one side is the fashionably dressed Queen Rania of Jordan, a symbol of progressive values for Arab women. On the other are her country’s conservative social and religious leaders. At stake is a political test case for reform in the Middle East, one that pits demands for greater democracy against the need to end so-called honour killings of women. Queen Rania, who regularly appears without a head scarf, let alone a hijab, has given her quiet support to women’s rights groups that want to change laws amounting to legal impunity for men involved in honour killings. But standing against her is another symbol of the country’s attempts to show a progressive face. Jordan’s MPs, who have been given more power to hold the Government and royal family to account than in other Arab countries, have shown little enthusiasm for the moves.