Iraqi Bill to Legalize Child Marriage Criticized

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A contentious draft law being considered in Iraq could open the door to girls as young as nine getting married and would require wives to submit to sex on their husband’s whim, provoking outrage from rights activists and many Iraqis who see it as a step backward for women’s rights.

The measure, aimed at creating different laws for Iraq’s majority Shiite population, could further fray the country’s divisions amid some of the worst bloodshed since the sectarian fighting that nearly ripped the country apart after the U.S.-led invasion. It also comes as more and more children under 18 get married in the country.

“That law represents a crime against humanity and childhood,” prominent Iraqi human rights activist Hana Adwar told The Associated Press. “Married underage girls are subjected to physical and psychological suffering.

Iraqi law now sets the legal age for marriage at 18 without parental approval. Girls as young as 15 can be married only with a guardian’s approval.

The proposed new measure, known as the Jaafari Personal Status Law, is based on the principles of a Shiite school of religious law founded by Jaafar al-Sadiq, the sixth Shiite imam. Iraq’s Justice Ministry late last year introduced the draft measure to the Cabinet, which approved it last month despite strong opposition by rights groups and activists.

The draft law does not set a minimum age for marriage. Instead, it mentions an age in a section on divorce, setting rules for divorces of girls who have reached the age of 9 years in the lunar Islamic calendar. It also says that’s the age girls reach puberty. Since the Islamic calendar year is 10 or 11 days shorter than the Gregorian calendar, that would be the equivalent of 8 years and 8 months old. The bill makes the father the only parent with the right to accept or refuse the marriage proposal.

Critics of the bill believe that its authors slipped the age into the divorce section as a backhanded way to allow marriages of girls that young. Already, government statistics show that nearly 25 percent of marriages in Iraq involved someone under the age of 18 in 2011, up from 21 percent in 2001 and 15 percent in 1997. Planning Ministry spokesman Abdul-Zahra Hendawi said the practice of underage marriage is particularly prevalent in rural areas and some provinces where illiteracy is high.

Also under the proposed measure, a husband can have sex with his wife regardless of her consent. The bill also prevents women from leaving the house without their husband’s permission, would restrict women’s rights in matters of parental custody after divorce and make it easier for men to take multiple wives.

Parliament must still ratify the bill before it becomes law. That is unlikely to happen before parliamentary elections scheduled for April 30, though the Cabinet support suggests it remains a priority for Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki’s administration. Al-Maliki is widely expected to seek a third term.

Baghdad-based analyst Hadi Jalo suggested that election campaigning might be behind the proposal.

“Some influential Shiite politicians have the impression that they should do their best to make any achievement that would end the injustice that had been done against the Shiites in the past,” Jalo said.

The formerly repressed Shiite majority came to power after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-led regime. Since then, Shiite religious and political leaders have encouraged followers to pour in millions into streets for religious rituals, a show of their strength.

Written By: AP / Sameer N. Yacoub and Sinan Salaheddin
continue to source article at time.com

46 COMMENTS

  1. So now we are to have legalized, and religiously endorsed, child abuse. Terrific. When is this toxic and barbaric travesty of a religion going to get hauled into the light of day and shown for what it is, a worse than stone age primitivism. I am fed up to my back teeth with the apologists, at all levels, telling me how I must be more accepting, and more tolerant, and how it is not the moderate Moslems etc, and add more platitudes as required..

    Accept this sort of crap and you bring yourself down to their level.

    Even the RCC has an official policy that speaks against pedophilia, although granted, their enforcement and holding to it needs work.

    • In reply to #2 by Sheepdog:

      So now we are to have legalized, and religiously endorsed, child abuse. Terrific. When is this toxic and barbaric travesty of a religion going to get hauled into the light of day and shown for what it is, a worse than stone age primitivism. I am fed up to my back teeth with the apologists, at all le…

      Be prepared for the theists with their No True Scotsman fallacy when it comes to the more disgusting aspects of religion like this.

  2. Do people realise the stage of development a nine year old has reached? She will probably still have many of her first teeth…possibly missing front teeth in the wedding photos! Little chance of any secondary sexual characteristics as yet. A child’s voice, stature and limited understanding. If you look at the school photos of a third or forth graders you get the idea. Are these kids marriage material? I think this is a dreadful crime!

    • In reply to #3 by Nitya:

      Do people realise the stage of development a nine year old has reached? She will probably still have many of her first teeth…possibly missing front teeth in the wedding photos! Little chance of any secondary sexual characteristics as yet. A child’s voice, stature and limited understanding. If you…

      Not only that, her vulva/vagina are not capable of accommodating the erect penis of an adult male, so severe tearing and bleeding will invariably result from the consummation of the marriage. This will at the very least leave her painfully scarred for life, but there is also a good chance that she will be so badly injured that she will die from her wounds.

      I’m a forensic analyst for the South African Police Service and I have examined the exhibits from many child rapes, including girls in this age group. There is always copious amounts of blood on the underwear and clothing. From my experience I have found that I cannot support any punishment for child rapists, other that being slowly tortured to death over a period of several days.

      Recall the 8 year old Yemeni girl that died in September after her wedding night with her 40-fucking-year old husband who essentially fucked her to death. He is called an “Ideal Islamic Man”. This makes the end of Islam one of the things I would love the most to see before I die, even though I know there is no chance of that happening.

  3. Is it unreasonable to expect the UN to take this sort of thing as seriously as an illegal referendum in Crimea?

    Hope to hear immediate condemnation from moderate Muslims, especially those living in the West who have more free speech.

    Also would be nice to see a piece in The Guardian (liberal), maybe even before The Mail (not liberal).

    • In reply to #4 by Marktony:

      Hope to hear immediate condemnation from moderate Muslims, especially those living in the West who have more free speech.

      You would assume that hundreds of millions of Muslims are opposed to any such proposals.

  4. The proponents of this bill are obviously unaware that girls are human and have the same natural rights as they do. Would those proponents have minded being married off at the age of nine? They are men, you say? – What has that to do with it? It makes them no more human than nine-year-old girls. We were all nine at one time or another.

    • Excellent. And good to see some resistance from Iraqi Muslim ‘scholars’.

      In reply to #8 by Katy Cordeth:

      In reply to #4 by Marktony:

      Also would be nice to see a piece in The Guardian (liberal), maybe even before The Mail (not liberal).

      Here you go.

      The Guardian, Comment is free:

      Ja’fari law takes the Iraqi government’s violation of women’s rights to a new level

        • No, my memory is not that good. I don’t remember that post where you linked to a definition of “scholar”.

          Here is the web site of those learned/erudite persons of the The Association of Muslim Scholars referenced by the Guardian. Enjoy.

          In reply to #24 by Katy Cordeth:

          In reply to #22 by Marktony:

          Excellent. And good to see some resistance from Iraqi Muslim ‘scholars’.

          Golly, and I thought I had a good memory.

  5. What a stomach turner. Any man wanting to wed and bed a nine-year-old needs a very aggressive circumcism. That part of the world had such a jump on civilization and pissed it all away in the name of a god they created to validate their baser instincts.

  6. I shall sit back and await the the clamor of calls from other Islamic Nations and leaders to publicly condemn this move. I genuinely hope they do. This is their chance to show us that they are not the backwards monsters many in the West think they are.

  7. We see the true side of Islam, legalising child sex and even the rape of children because of its twisted beliefs. Look forward to moderate Islamic countries leading condemnation of this insane plan.

  8. What IS the attraction to men of underdeveloped females ? I can’t get my head around the causes for the practice of forced child marriages. While I loathe adult rape, I can at least understand the psychological underpinnings, but the desire for very young girls baffles me. It is too facile an explanation to call it perversion, since it is so widespread. So where does that come from? The question is not rhetorical.

    • In reply to #12 by justinesaracen:

      What IS the attraction to men of underdeveloped females ? I can’t get my head around the causes for the practice of forced child marriages. While I loathe adult rape, I can at least understand the psychological underpinnings, but the desire for very young girls baffles me. It is too facile an explan…

      If you believe women are worthless other than as vessels for your male children, if you believe that women who are disobedient and not cowered by their husbands are worthless, if you cannot stand the idea that a woman you are with has been made unclean by having had sex with another before you then motivation to get in first may be explained.

      Whether this is cultural or religious is up for debate I suppose, but if your religion gives you no wiggle room “This is the one and only true word of God” and your prophet married a nine year old then you have a religiously defensible position. To me this is the main problem with any religion that holds such firm beliefs. Evil like this will continue to be done in the name of god.

    • In reply to #12 by justinesaracen:

      What IS the attraction to men of underdeveloped females ? I can’t get my head around the causes for the practice of forced child marriages. While I loathe adult rape, I can at least understand the psychological underpinnings, but the desire for very young girls baffles me. It is too facile an explanation to call it perversion, since it is so widespread. So where does that come from? The question is not rhetorical.

      It makes sense in evolutionary terms for a male to acquire and mate with a female of the same species who he can be absolutely certain is not pregnant with another male’s child.

      Have you ever seen The Untouchables movie? There’s a scene in which Kevin Costner’s Elliot Ness character bemoans the corruption in the ranks of the Chicago police department. Sean Connery’s Irish cop says “If you’re afraid of getting a rotten apple, don’t go to the barrel, get it off the tree. Here endeth the lesshon.”

      This, I think, is the appeal to men of prepubescent females.

      • In reply to #17 by Katy Cordeth:

        It makes sense in evolutionary terms for a male to acquire and mate with a female of the same species who he can be absolutely certain is not pregnant with another male’s child.

        Evolutionary biology is science, not a moral code. The attractiveness of Old Testament morality for Iraqui Shi’a men, I suspect, is not devotion to Darwinian principles, but that young girls are more easily bossed around than adult women in a patriarchal society. Especially when there are several wives and the older women will lend a hand in disciplining the new recruit.

        • In reply to #19 by aldous:

          Evolutionary biology is science, not a moral code. The attractiveness of Old Testament morality for Iraqui Shi’a men, I suspect, is not devotion to Darwinian principles, but that young girls are more easily bossed around than adult women in a patriarchal society. Especially when there are several wives and the older women will lend a hand in disciplining the new recruit.

          Evolutionary biology isn’t a moral code but it can explain — at least to some extent — why we have some of the moral codes that we do. From the selfish gene standpoint of a male there is no worse evolutionary decision than to mate with a female and have it turn out that some other male is the actual biological father of your child. Even more so in a monogamous society. Not only are you not investing time in your own genes but you are wasting a lot of energy helping to raise some other males genes.

          So it is expected that men will value virgins. And according to Pinker (How the Mind Works and other writings as well) that is exactly what we do. In How the Mind Works Pinker summarized various studies on what body type men find attractive and — contrary to what would be expected from humanities dogma about how everything depends on culture — he found amazing uniformity across cultures and it came down to women whose age and body type indicated they had never been pregnant (and hence if they were mated with the man would know the child was his).

          • In reply to #20 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #19 by aldous:

            …From the selfish gene standpoint of a male there is no worse evolutionary decision than to mate with a female and have it turn out that some other male is the actual biological father of your child. Even more so in a monogamous society. Not only are you not investing time in your own genes but you are wasting a lot of energy helping to raise some other males genes.

            I think I’m right in saying that it’s usual for a male lion when assuming control of a pride with which it has no genetic connection to kill any cubs it hasn’t fathered.

          • In reply to #23 by Katy Cordeth:

            I think I’m right in saying that it’s usual for a male lion when assuming control of a pride with which it has no genetic connection to kill any cubs it hasn’t fathered.

            Animals without language have behaviour but not morality. They are condemned to a genetic bondage that we can escape. Through a morality, giving priority to our human interests rather than those ‘selfish genes’, we can make life better.

          • In reply to #27 by aldous:

            In reply to #23 by Katy Cordeth:

            I think I’m right in saying that it’s usual for a male lion when assuming control of a pride with which it has no genetic connection to kill any cubs it hasn’t fathered.

            Animals without language have behaviour but not morality. They are condemned to a genetic bondage that we can escape. Through a morality, giving priority to our human interests rather than those ‘selfish genes’, we can make life better.

            Hasn’t really worked out though, has it, this morality thing? We are the only animal in our planet’s long history to have evolved a concept of right and wrong yet we’re responsible for more damage than all other species combined. Including Tyrannosaurus rexes, and those things were enormous.

            Gaia may have fuck#d the pooch when she gave us consciousness.

          • In reply to #30 by Katy Cordeth:

            Hasn’t really worked out though, has it, this morality thing? We are the only animal in our planet’s long history to have evolved a concept of right and wrong yet we’re responsible for more damage than all other species combined.

            Among other things, I listened to some rather ravishing Mendelssohn, got back to the gym after a long break, had an excellent prawn and vegetable curry and am now having a civilized conversation with you. I think it’s working out quite well. It’s true that civilisation comes at a price for the planet. What can we do except annihilate ourselves?

            In due course, we will become extinct. In the meantime, I see no particular merit in a dull and dreary existence. Why should we cede the planet to the cockroaches any sooner than necessary.

          • In reply to #30 by Katy Cordeth:

            IWe are the only animal in our planet’s long history to have evolved a concept of right and wrong yet we’re responsible for more damage than all other species combined. Including Tyrannosaurus rexes, and those things were enormous.

            Shouldn’t that be Tyrannosaurus Reges? Tyrannosauri Reges? Okay, I give up.

          • In reply to #20 by Red Dog:

            Evolutionary biology isn’t a moral code but it can explain — at least to some extent — why we have some of the moral codes that we do.

            It explains why our barbaric ancestors had them but not why they persist. One of the pernicious aspects of religion is that it enshrines, not only a belief system, but sanctifies the Founder. A piece of the cross, a hair from the Prophet’s beard are venerated. The customs and social attitudes of the Founder’s time in history are also given exaggerated respect (on a selective basis). The mores of the time are seen as having a special status by adherents of the religion. In the ‘West’ secularism has made inroads that compel all but the most literal-minded Christians to give up much of the anti-woman, anti-gay , anti-science, anti-democracy, anti-happiness attitudes inherited from the Old Testament. In Muslim countries, economic development has, for the most part, not yet reached the levels on which our moral evolution depends.

            With increasing secularism, it becomes more common to look rationally at the inheritance of the past, not just at what is preserved by religion, but what goes beyond it to the sources of belief and behaviour in evolutionary biology. It is not because a moral principle was valid, or might be perceived to be valid, at some remote period in time, that it is appropriate today.

            A Darwinian explanation for behaviour is not a guide to how we ought to behave. On the contrary, it may well be an indication of how not to behave. Living to serve our genes would not very intelligent. To act against our basic instincts, to manage them in our best interests, is the way to go. This is particularly the case with aggression. It may have seemed to make sense to our ancestors to raid the neighbouring village, steal their stuff and rape their women but, in a global environment where neighbours are armed with nuclear weapons, a drastic modification of ancient habits is required.

            .

          • In reply to #26 by aldous:

            In reply to #20 by Red Dog:

            Evolutionary biology isn’t a moral code but it can explain — at least to some extent — why we have some of the moral codes that we do.

            It explains why our barbaric ancestors had them but not why they persist.

            Of course it does. Because we aren’t all that different from our “barbaric ancestors” and as human males we all are born with the same innate desires that they had. We find young women with a certain body type attractive. It’s not rational. And it also doesn’t mean that it’s “right” just because we have the desire. It’s no different from our desire for fat and sugar which made total sense for the survival of our “barbaric ancestors” but not for us.

            A Darwinian explanation for behaviour is not a guide to how we ought to behave. On the contrary, it may well be an indication of how not to behave. Living to serve our genes would not very intelligent.

            I agree with you and I never said otherwise.

          • In reply to #28 by Red Dog:

            we aren’t all that different from our “barbaric ancestors” and as human males we all are born with the same innate desires that they had.

            It’s not our innate desires that make us different but our ability to manage these desires and the rewards that we get from doing so. Effective contraception has separated procreation from copulation. This means that women can have education and careers without being submerged by pregnancies. The economic and technological circumstances, aided by religious obscurantism, stands in the way of women’s liberation in many countries, notably in the Middle East and Africa.

          • There are theories in direct opposition to this, using different interpenetrations of our biology and innate responses. Read Christopher Ryan – Sex at Dawn. I am not sure which is right since they come at it from different perspectives and reach very different conclusions but it is very interesting.

            In reply to #20 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #19 by aldous:

            Evolutionary biology is science, not a moral code. The attractiveness of Old Testament morality for Iraqui Shi’a men, I suspect, is not devotion to Darwinian principles, but that young girls are more easily bossed around than adult women in a patriarchal society. Especial…

          • To add – human societies have enormous variation. Ryan as an anthropologist talks about isolated societies in the Amazon that did not value or even understand virginity. Because they believed that you needed a lot of different semen to make a baby it was normal for a woman to choose a lot of lovers based on who was the best looking, the best hunter etc. The men has a sense of collective fatherhood. They saw themselves as all being the ‘father’ and therefore responsible for the well-being of the child. This can also be explained in evolutionary terms as children with the widest range of fathers were the most likely to survive. These people lived is small, interrelated hunter gatherer tribes – which may explain the difference. Status did not depend on ownership of wealth that was passed from father to son. Therefore, there was no underlying need to ensure paternity.

            Either way this law is disgusting regardless of what motivates it psychologically. The horror some people in this world are forced to live with is unreal.

            In reply to #20 by Red Dog:

            In reply to #19 by aldous:

            Evolutionary biology is science, not a moral code. The attractiveness of Old Testament morality for Iraqui Shi’a men, I suspect, is not devotion to Darwinian principles, but that young girls are more easily bossed around than adult women in a patriarchal society. Especial…

          • In reply to #38 by debjanrobin:

            To add – human societies have enormous variation. Ryan as an anthropologist talks about isolated societies in the Amazon that did not value or even understand virginity. Because they believed that you needed a lot of different semen to make a baby it was normal for a woman to choose a lot of lovers…

            I can see how this would fit into an evolutionary model if these isolated societies are patriarchal and patrilocal. That way, it would probably be a group of brothers and male first cousins impregnating women that come in from other groups and join their group. These closely related males would then know that they are supporting their own offspring or their own nephews. I remember hearing about a similar pattern in Tibet where two brothers share a wife. I find it hard to believe that a random selection of males would share breeding rights with each other and support offspring that aren’t their own or at least those of close male relatives.

            Now-a-days when women seek sexual variety outside of their primary relationship, it has to be secretive because the guys (probably) won’t be related closely and they will be at odds over support of the offspring because the paternity will be unclear. Some nasty consequences will ensue. The obvious strategy for her is to claim paternity to the primary male partner and keep the other liaison a secret. He will be a backup in case help and support is needed in the future.

      • In reply to #17 by Katy Cordeth:

        In reply to #12 by justinesaracen:

        What IS the attraction to men of underdeveloped females ? I can’t get my head around the causes for the practice of forced child marriages. While I loathe adult rape, I can at least understand the psychological underpinnings, but the desire for very young girls ba…

        This, I think, is the appeal to men of prepubescent females.

        Katy, I have to take you to task, gently, over what reads like a sweeping generalization. As a man, whom in roughly 55 years since puberty has had no sexual feelings whatever towards prepubescent females, I have to speak in defense of my gender. Feelings of protection, and warmth, yes, sexual, not even close.

        And, I would venture to say, despite the occasional and utterly detestable pervert, we are in the vast majority. Think of the chaos that would result if we were not. Why, it would be just like…….. Iraq, ……or Fuckedupistan, ……..or pretty much the rest of the ‘stans.

    • In reply to #12 by justinesaracen:

      What IS the attraction to men of underdeveloped females ? I can’t get my head around the causes for the practice of forced child marriages. While I loathe adult rape, I can at least understand the psychological underpinnings, but the desire for very young girls baffles me. It is too facile an explan…

      While the age of maximum female fertility is, what, late teens-early 20′s? There is that, but when I think about all the ways that men try to entice, coerce, convince and seduce women into having sex in general, it doesn’t seem such a mystery that some will engineer the situation to their own benefit and trap children into a sexual slavery relationship with them. It must be a lifelong frustration to many men that they have to put so much work and energy into the goal of getting women to go along with their desires. How convenient that they have a model in front of them (Mo) who produced a sacred book giving them permission to coerce and rape any number of women and little girls with impunity. It’s not like the adult women have freedom to decline their advances. They could end up tossed out with no resources if they get too uppity in the bedroom. What can a totally dependent female of any age do when the Master of the house says service my needs, you do it. Not a choice.

  9. We all mature at different rates, but no child of nine is sufficiently developed either physically or mentally for sexual congress.

    I cannot imagine the emotional and physical torture such a foul deed causes a child.

    This preposterous notion is born of a level of ignorance that little other than religious dogma can engender.

    I think everyone has an obligation to speak out against the advocacy of this abominable crime.

    And religious leaders should be in the vanguard of the protests.

    But will they be? Can we expect them to be? Are they able to be, since it would entail an act of unequivocal renunciation on their part?

    I, for one, await their response.

  10. I now can say something good about Islam:

    Islam, in the field of children’s rights, is not as bad as the Paedophile Information Exchange.

    PIE wants the age of consent lowered to four years old, whereas Islam wants to double this to eight years and eight months.

    Verily I say unto thee, Islam is a truly enlightened religion.

  11. A contentious draft law being considered in Iraq could open the door to girls as young as nine getting married and would require wives to submit to sex on their husband’s whim, provoking outrage from rights activists and many Iraqis who see it as a step backward for women’s rights.

    The fact that it is in consideration in any country is a problem. The fact that any faith would even consider trying to put it into law is a problem. The step backwards for women’s right’s is but a symptom here. The root cause is literal translation of absolutely unprovable text taken in the most extreme manner.

    When you accept such ideas blindly with no consideration for those actually affected, you’ve already established how little you care about how the oppressed feel. That their well being is of the least consequence when it should be of the most.

    We need to have human rights take precedent over religious rights in every case. Obviously that is a far longer road in some countries than others.

  12. Why are Muslim men so threatened by women? Every one of these proposed “laws”, as well as fatwas against women driving, going outside the home unchaperoned, girls being educated, or showing any skin whatsoever, strikes me as nothing more than the shrill screeching of emotionally-stunted men who fear their testosterone fountains will dry up and their genitals will be exposed as the sub-par wilted flowers they really are if they are forced to deal with women as adult human beings with intelligence, willpower, desires, and rights of their own.

    And, IMO, any man who thinks it’s okay to force his penis into a child should have his anus forcefully plugged with a red hot sashweight.

  13. Jesus is a revered prophet in Islam and he once said “Suffer little children to come unto me” (Luke 18:16). The mullah’s in Iraq seem to believe he said “Suffer little children to come FOR me.”

    • In reply to #40 by Bob Springsteen:

      Jesus is a revered prophet in Islam and he once said “Suffer little children to come unto me” (Luke 18:16). The mullah’s in Iraq seem to believe he said “Suffer little children to come FOR me.”

      I doubt they come, but they certainly do suffer.

      Steve

    • In reply to #40 by Bob Springsteen:

      Jesus is a revered prophet in Islam and he once said “Suffer little children to come unto me” (Luke 18:16). The mullah’s in Iraq seem to believe he said “Suffer little children to come FOR me.”

      They read from right to left in Arabic, they thought it said; “Suffer me to come into the little children.”

  14. What are we mean to say? We wanted them to have Democracy, that doesn’t mean that they have to vote the right way. This is a stupid, disgusting and wilfully cruel law, but that’s where strict adherence to scripture and a need to win votes from that religion lead.

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