Yemeni minister to seek child-marriage ban

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Human rights minister pledges to press for minimum marriage age to be fixed at 18, after reported death of child bride.

Yemen's human rights minister has said she will press for the minimum age of marriage to be set at 18, after the reported death of a young girl on the first night of her marriage.

Eight-year-old Rawan was said to have died last week from internal bleeding after sexual intercourse, after having been married to a man in his 40s in the northeastern province of Hajja.

The provincial governor, however, on Saturday denied the reports that Rawan had died.

Huriya Mashhoor told the AFP news agency she wanted to revive a bill that has lain dormant since 2009, which would have set the minimum age for marriage at 17, and amend it to raise the age to 18.

Written By: Al Jazeera
continue to source article at aljazeera.com

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  1. Holy contradictions Batman…

    The accompanying picture shows a large group of women veiled in this black symbol of their subjugation to men holding up a book that condones the very thing they’re protesting against. According to Sharia law, aren’t these women at risk of being accused of insulting the prophet who was himself married to a 9 year old child?

    Don’t get me wrong here. I think it’s a good thing that Yemeni women are protesting against child marriage but doing it based on the idea that it’s wrong because the koran forbids it is delusional at best. This is one thing that christians and muslims have in common: they are convinced that their holy book is a moral guide regardless of how much repugnant immorality it actually contains.

    That’s the power of religious indoctrination. It can show you something that’s hideous and make you believe it’s beautiful.

    • In reply to #1 by NearlyNakedApe:

      Holy contradictions Batman…

      The accompanying picture shows a large group of women veiled in this black symbol of their subjugation to men holding up a book that condones the very thing they’re protesting against. According to Sharia law, aren’t these women at risk of being accused of insulting th…

      It’s a path well worn by feminists to rail against patriarchy, male chauvinism, sexism, objectification and subjugation by men etc. However, when you look who populates the pews, say, in Latin America where abortion is commonly illegal and severely penalized – overwhelmingly you find women. Are they there at gunpoint? Or the Black church in America, are all those women forced to attend? Or beauty pageants. Or the $billions women spend on cosmetics and cosmetic surgery.

      There seems to be a certain conformity and a sort of Stockholm syndrome at work here.

      “Emancipate yourselves from mental slavery;
      None but ourselves can free our mind.”
      Bob Marley

      • In reply to #4 by godsbuster:

        In reply to #1 by NearlyNakedApe:

        Holy contradictions Batman…

        The accompanying picture shows a large group of women veiled in this black symbol of their subjugation to men holding up a book that condones the very thing they’re protesting against. According to Sharia law, aren’t these women at ri…

        It’s a paradox. Perhaps it has something to do with aligning yourself with those in power. I don’t know, though I’ve often wondered.

        • In reply to #5 by Nitya:

          In reply to #4 by godsbuster:

          In reply to #1 by NearlyNakedApe:

          It’s a paradox. Perhaps it has something to do with aligning yourself with those in power. I don’t know, though I’ve often wondered.

          That has to be part of it, and just the general human tendency to want to fit in – not stand out. And the sheer inertia of that irrepressible old chestnut – “we’ve always done it that way”. Which is so intractable that it can even help cause an at least nominally evidence based discipline such as medicine to act counter to its core ethic – the Hippocratic oath – as occurs in the (bastion of freedom) US where millions of baby boys continue to be subject to genital mutilation.

          In short, as is usual with social phenomena: multiple causes.

          • In reply to #13 by godsbuster:

            In reply to #5 by Nitya:

            In reply to #4 by godsbuster:

            In reply to #1 by NearlyNakedApe:

            It’s a paradox. Perhaps it has something to do with aligning yourself with those in power. I don’t know, though I’ve often wondered.

            That has to be part of it, and just the general human tendency to want to…

            Off topic, but I followed a link recently on Circumcision :A Cure Looking for a Disease. It was a timeline stretching from the 1800s giving various ailments that circumcision is supposed to prevent, from blindness to epilepsy! Can you believe it? They’re there with their scalpels , looking for a good reason to mutilate baby boys!

          • In reply to #16 by Nitya:

            In reply to #13 by godsbuster:

            In reply to #5 by Nitya:

            Off topic, but I followed a link recently on Circumcision :A Cure Looking for a Disease. It was a timeline stretching from the 1800s giving various ailments that circumcision is supposed to prevent, from blindness to epilepsy! Can you believe it? They’re there with their scalpels , looking for a good reason to mutilate baby boys!

            Not all that far off topic – it goes to having us (accustomed to arrogantly riding our high horse of 1st world rational superiority roughshod over those supposedly oh so backward folks who sanction child marriage) ease up a bit when pointed out the bronze age barbarism we blithely routinely practice right down the hall form the MRI machine.

            Another “ailment” it was intended to prevent was masturbation. Now we have MGM apologists, rabbis not least of which, claiming that circumcision has no effect whatsoever on sensation/pleasure. Which is it?

            As is evident the absurdities trotted out to rationalize MGM can hold their own with those trotted out to justify child marriage rape.

          • In reply to #19 by godsbuster:

            In reply to #16 by Nitya:

            In reply to #13 by godsbuster:

            In reply to #5 by Nitya:

            Off topic, but I followed a link recently on Circumcision :A Cure Looking for a Disease. It was a timeline stretching from the 1800s giving various ailments that circumcision is supposed to prevent, from blindness t…

            The timeline showed the name of various medicos advocating the procedure, ( yes, masturbation was featured prominently). Many of the names were obviously Jewish. I think they set out with a mission to legitimise this cultural practice. Here we have rational, well educated doctors taking part in a barbaric ritual. There must be a good reason for this! This was probably the underlying rationale.

            I’m so glad that I didn’t succumb to societal pressure and have my son “done” . It was about 50/50 at the time.

          • In reply to #20 by Nitya:

            In reply to #19 by godsbuster:

            The timeline showed the name of various medicos advocating the procedure, ( yes, masturbation was featured prominently). Many of the names were obviously Jewish. I think they set out with a mission to legitimise this cultural practice. Here we have rational, well educated doctors taking part in a barbaric ritual. There must be a good reason for this! This was probably the underlying rationale.

            I’m so glad that I didn’t succumb to societal pressure and have my son “done” . It was about 50/50 at the time.

            Splendid save of your son, bravissimo!

            Yemen’s human rights minister, really pretty cool that they even have such a thing there, and a woman at that – amazing really, is trying to set legal age for marriage at 18. Meanwhile, recently a court in Germany ruled that the circumcision of a young boy on religious grounds amounted to grievous bodily harm, and was therefore illegal.

            Of course the bearded ones of the book (both books) instantly launched into a wailing fest
            the likes of which perhaps not even that famous wall had ever heard.
            Followed by one of the more unseemly spectacles in the history of the German parliament -well in recent history anyway- where its members could be seen climbing over each other to be the first to prostrate themselves in the direction of Mecca and Jerusalem approving a bill to keep male circumcision legal.

            …On second thought, maybe I oughtn’t have been so strident© with ANTIcarrot after all…

    • In reply to #3 by prettygoodformonkeys:

      Photo of protest shows clearly the difference between Yemen and Femen.

      Duh yeah. One is bravely risking their lives to fight for the rights of children and teenagers to have autonomy over their own bodies, to be free from abuse and for women to be equal to men. The other a bunch of silly show offs taking off their tops in the relative safety of Europe for the right to show off their titties in the hope some man will say phwoar.

      In short Yemen trying to drag the attitudes to women in its world forward to 2013. Freedom and equality. Femen trying to drag the attitudes to women in its back to 1953 – the right to be a collection of body parts for men to look at.

      • In reply to #23 by PG:

        In reply to #3 by prettygoodformonkeys:

        Photo of protest shows clearly the difference between Yemen and Femen.

        Duh yeah. One is bravely risking their lives to fight for the rights of children and teenagers to have autonomy over their own bodies, to be free from abuse and for women to be equal to m…the right to be a collection of body parts for men to look at.

        Possibly more problematic yet – turns out Femen appears to have been headed by a man.

  2. They’re feeding you lies with calculating smiles, enslavement of the human mind as long as you kneel to their authority you’ll never be set free. Religion it’s what makes you blind.

    Slaves of fear; Amon Amarth

  3. Will people please shut the f**k up about how these woman are stupid/lazy/mind-controlled for not trying to turn their nation into America/western europe in one step literally overnight! This is not how it works. It has NEVER been how it works. And it certainly wasn’t how it worked historically in YOUR country.

    The fact that they’re protesting about something, anything – let alone something important, is a good thing, and pretty damn rare. So how about we applaud them for that, instead of whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiining about everything they’re not doing? Hmm? How about that?

    • In reply to #7 by ANTIcarrot:

      Will people please shut the f**k up about how these woman are stupid/lazy/mind-controlled for not trying to turn their nation into America/western europe in one step literally overnight! This is not how it works. It has NEVER been how it works. And it certainly wasn’t how it worked historically in YOUR country.

      The fact that they’re protesting about something, anything – let alone something important, is a good thing, and pretty damn rare. So how about we applaud them for that, instead of whiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiining about everything they’re not doing? Hmm? How about that?

      The acclaim your comment garnered supports the observation of the general human tendency to respond to emotion before responding to reason.

      The issues:

      1. Robust straw-manning:
        “stupid/lazy is neither mentioned nor insinuated in any of the comments preceding yours. “Mind-controlled”, yes. Sorry, but haven’t we largely established that is what religion does? Or am I on the wrong website? Also not mentioned or insinuated is the notion of turning “their nation into America/western europe in one step literally overnight!”. Nor is the notion “this is how it works”. Nor is the notion that this is how it worked historically in any country. Nor is the notion that their protest is not “a good thing”, to wit NNA: “… I think it’s a good thing that Yemeni women are protesting against child marriage”
      2. Counter to what you appear to suggest, applause can (and should, in a reason based environment, if applicable) be accompanied by criticism. We even do it here on this website (not nearly enough) when confronting those who out of one corner of their mouth proclaim their atheism and out the other cut religion slack.
    • In reply to #7 by ANTIcarrot:

      Will people please shut the f**k up about how these woman are stupid/lazy/mind-controlled for not trying to turn their nation into America/western europe in one step literally overnight! This is not how it works. It has NEVER been how it works. And it certainly wasn’t how it worked historically in Y…

      Exactly. It took 1500 years for Roman Catholic dominated countries to start breaking away from the shackles of the church, and it’s a process that’s still happening. Islam is just a few hundred years behind, that’s all.

  4. I concure with ANTIcarrot. The first thing that struck me about the picture is that the concept of people protesting on the streets, is accepted world wide, which is surely a step in the right direction.

    It would be very interesting to see who objects to this ban, and for what reasons.

    • As far as I know it goes along the lines of “Mohamed married a 6-year old and penetrated her when she was 9, so it can’t be wrong”.

      In reply to #8 by old-toy-boy:

      It would be very interesting to see who objects to this ban, and for what reasons.

  5. Banning child marriage (and forced marriages), though it is important, won’t be enough in itself to solve the problem, because as long as women are de facto economically dependent, they will be forced into unwanted marriages by the need to feed themselves…
    A good first step would be to ban child marriages AND establish compulsory education until the age of 18. If you excuse teenage mothers from school, you won’t be able to enforce such a ban-for examples, see rural areas of Turkey, and India.

    And yes, we should be applauding the women protesters!

  6. My social studies teacher told us a story about being stationed in India in WWII. He had an Indian man working under him about 18 years old. He had been married since age 2. He had not seen his bride since the wedding. Some sort of soothsayer said that the following Saturday would be an “auspicious day” to move in with his bride. He was desperate to get the day off because another auspicious day might not come for another 16 years.

    There, child marriage is just a variant on arranged marriage. The advantage is the families arrange practical compatibility, rather than trusting a rush of lust.

    The idea of child marriage is to enforce fidelity which is needed to ensure paternity and avoid sexually transmitted diseases. The husband or wife would have to break the marriage fidelity taboo.

    I think the problem is things get a little iffy about the time of first intercourse between people married in childhood. I think the Yemeni guy must have broken the custom. You can’t have a custom that usually kills the bride. The Yemenis may have been just as shocked as we were, and decided to change the law to match usual custom. We will see if he succeeds. It is a remarkable turnaround. The new age of marriage is higher than in the USA.

  7. In reply to #14 by godsbuster:

    In reply to #7 by ANTIcarrot:

    The acclaim your comment garnered supports the observation of the general human tendency to respond to emotion before responding to reason.

    Translation: those who don’t agree with my point of view just aren’t thinking enough. They mean well enough I suppose, but their heart has dominion over their head.

    I’ve read other comments in which you expressed this view, but they were always directed towards female site members: Laurie, atheistengineer, me. Nice to see you branching out to include the male demographic of the Oasis.

    Robust straw-manning: “stupid/lazy is neither mentioned nor insinuated in any of the comments preceding yours. “Mind-controlled”, yes. Sorry, but haven’t we largely established that is what religion does? Or am I on the wrong website? Also not mentioned or insinuated is the notion of turning “their nation into America/western europe in one step literally overnight!”. Nor is the notion “this is how it works”. Nor is the notion that this is how it worked historically in any country. Nor is the notion that their protest is not “a good thing”, to wit NNA: “… I think it’s a good thing that Yemeni women are protesting against child marriage”

    I don’t suppose it occurred to you that ANTIcarrot’s post may have been partly in response to other, related threads in which users have insinuated that Muslim women are stupid/lazy; that the cumulative effect of all the idiocy and rage one regularly encounters on this site may have been what informed the carrot’s comment. No, I don’t suppose it did.

    Counter to what you appear to suggest, applause can (and should, in a reason based environment, if applicable) be accompanied by criticism.

    Ooh, what was that you were saying about strawmen? When did ANTIcarrot suggest that criticism is verboten?

    We even do it here on this website (not nearly enough) when confronting those who out of one corner of their mouth proclaim their atheism and out the other cut religion slack.

    Since when did atheism equate to intolerance for all religious individuals? Just because someone doesn’t happen to believe in the Almighty, does that mean empathy for those who do is to be dispensed with? I must have overlooked that page in the atheist handbook we’re all given.

    I’m an atheist. I’ll happily proclaim that, from all parts of my mouth. I cut the religious plenty of slack if they happen to be nice, or clever, or cute, or funny. I have very little truck with miserable, witless, misanthropic, sanctimonious atheists just because we have a lack of faith in common. I’m fond too of many of religion’s rituals, music, stories etc. Doesn’t mean I overlook the evil done in its name, or the acts of kindness.

    “Cut religion slack”. Gimme a break.

  8. The Muslim faith in comparison with other religious beliefs, it seems to me the most dangerous. We all have witnessed the tragedy of September 11, the terrorist attacks in London and many other unprecedented terrorist acts against humanity. The whole civilized world must recognize the obvious evil living by our side. Only together and extremely civilized way, we will be able to compete for a happy secular present, and the future of our children.

  9. I think that instead of just banning these things without asking what most people think on the issue they should put it to a vote. Banning entrenched cultural practices to curry favour with the West may earn the minister plaudits abroad and on this comment board but may not be so popular at home. Indeed it may be sufficiently divisive as to lead to a nationalist or a so-called fundamentalist coming to power on the back of popular resentment at what is seen as western interference which may then trigger even more interference such as US drone strikes, western backed coup détats or support for brutal dictatorships.

    Allowances, within reasonable limits, should be made for countries where the onset of puberty is seen as the marker of sexual maturity or adulthood and not some arbitrarily defined age of consent and/or the concept of childhood and what is considered acceptable differs from Euro-American culture.

    • In reply to #25 by Ipse Dixit:

      I think that instead of just banning these things without asking what most people think on the issue they should put it to a vote. Banning entrenched cultural practices to curry favour with the West may earn the minister plaudits abroad and on this comment board but may not be so popular at home. Allowances, within reasonable limits, should be made for countries where the onset of puberty is seen as the marker of sexual maturity or adulthood and not some arbitrarily defined age of consent and/or the concept of childhood and what is considered acceptable differs from Euro-American culture.

      Ah yes, now that it brought us air-conditioning, cars, flat screens, cat scans, iPhones, and jet planes that whisk our corrupt ruling elites right into the sinful midst of it, lets lock out that depraved and decadent infidel Euro-American culture.

      • In reply to #26 by godsbuster:

        In reply to #25 by Ipse Dixit:

        … Along with war, famine, genocide, malnutrition, slavery, exploitation, usury….

        And let’s not forget China (the gun, gun powder, porcelain, stirrup, rudder, bulkhead, silk, deep bore drilling) whose citizens are making those iphones, computers, air conditioning units. Or those Gulf monarchies whose oil, gas and iron ore we in the the oh-so-clever West are -cough, stealing – using.

        Don’t straw man me please. I’m not claiming anyone is better or worse than anyone else, merely pointing out that we all come from a culture but not everyone comes from the same culture and cultures do differ.

        • In reply to #27 by Ipse Dixit:

          In reply to #26 by godsbuster:

          In reply to #25 by Ipse Dixit:

          … … Along with war, famine, genocide, malnutrition, slavery, exploitation, usury.

          And let’s not forget China (the gun, gun powder, porcelain, stirrup, rudder, bulkhead, silk, deep bore drilling) whose citizens are making those iphones, computers, air conditioning units. Or those Gulf monarchies whose oil, gas and iron ore we in the the oh-so-clever West are -cough, stealing – using.

          Don’t straw man me please. I’m not claiming anyone is better or worse than anyone else, merely pointing out that we all come from a culture but not everyone comes from the same culture and cultures do differ.

          “I’m not claiming anyone is better or worse than anyone else,” No kidding. That’s the problem. Your cultural and moral relativism was garishly on display the first time round which prompted ridicule in the first place – doubling down as you are doing here really wasn’t necessary. I am claiming that in the field of murder of little girls by rape (which happens to be the topic of the discussion on this page) the “West” is not only better but in another dimension: It considers it a heinous crime, not a “cultural practice” based on a “different concept of childhood” for which “allowances should be made”.

          “War, famine, genocide, malnutrition, slavery, exploitation, usury” all patented by the West and never heard of in the East until introduced by the West seems to be your claim here. Read any Koran or Hadiths at all? It would seem not.

          The Gulf family dictatorships would still be riding camels as their only form of transportation instead of having indoor skiing and the world’s tallest building were it not for the West’s (whose cleverness lent value to oil in the first place) “theft” of their oil.

  10. godbuster comment 24 In reply to #23 by PG:

    Possibly more problematic yet – turns out Femen appears to have been headed by a man.

    Yes, no surprises there. Victor something or other. Variously described as a dirty old man, a misogynist who hated women to have an opinion and a good old fashioned sexist who wouldn’t let any girly he didn’t fancy partake in the topless protests. A man not unlike their fan base if we’re honest.

    I guess that is why prettygoodformonkeys saw such a contrasts. Yemen fighting against misogyny to throw off the shackles of opprosion in a long game that will end with them finallyl abandoning the burkha and Feman fighting to for a misogynist to put back on the shackles of oppresion and I guess a long game that will eventually lead to any of us over 25 being force to wear the burkha

  11. Ipsedixit
    think that instead of just banning these things without asking what most people think on the issue they should put it to a vote. Banning entrenched cultural practices to curry favour with the West may earn the minister plaudits abroad and on this comment board but may not be so popular at home.

    Now if this were a matter of Starbucks putting a few Yemeni coffee shops out of business or the more tricksy issue of interfering in free votes I’d be with you. But, call me old fashioned, human rights trump and cultural practices in my book, and when a cultural practice trumps a human right than it is not a cultural practice that should be kept.

    Allowances, within reasonable limits, should be made for countries where the onset of puberty is seen as the marker of sexual maturity or adulthood and not some arbitrarily defined age of consent and/or the concept of childhood and what is considered acceptable differs from Euro-American culture.

    Well the one big problem here is that the onset of puberty is years away from maturity or adulthood. Little girls at the onset of puberty are not the toys of older men they are human beings. And tho they can get pregnant and survive sex, unlike the 8 year old in this case, they rarely can survive pregnancy and childbirth unscathed. Their bodies aren’t ready, tho manage in societies with very good maternal care. So death, anal fistula, permenant damage to reproductive organs and emotional trauma are all the result of that cultural practice. So I don’t see how you can make allowances for that.

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