Robert Spencer

“Nigeria is not alone, either in the prevalence of child marriage or in attempts to end the practice. In September 2008, Moroccan officials closed sixty Koranic schools operated by Sheikh Mohamed Ben Abderrahman Al-Maghraoui, because he issued a decree justifying marriage to girls as young as nine. “The sheikh,” according to Agence France-Presse, “said his decree was based on the fact that the Prophet Mohammed consummated his marriage to his favourite wife when she was that age.”23 It should come as no surprise, then, given the words of the Koran about divorcing prepubescent women and Muhammad’s example in marrying Aisha, that in some areas of the Islamic world the practice of child marriage enjoys the blessing of the law. Time magazine reported in 2001 that “in Iran the legal age for marriage is nine for girls, fourteen for boys,” and notes that “the law has occasionally been exploited by pedophiles, who marry poor young girls from the provinces, use and then abandon them. In 2000 the Iranian Parliament voted to raise the minimum age for girls to fourteen, but this year, a legislative oversight body dominated by traditional clerics vetoed the move.”24 Likewise, the New York Times reported in 2008 that in Yemen, “despite a rising tide of outrage, the fight against the practice is not easy. Hard-line Islamic conservatives, whose influence has grown enormously in the past two decades, defend it, pointing to the Prophet Muhammad’s marriage to a 9-year-old.”25 (The characterization of proponents of Islamic law as “conservatives” is notable—the Times doesn’t seem fazed by the fact that “conservatives” in the U.S. are not typically advocates of child marriage.) And so child marriage remains prevalent in many areas of the Islamic world. In 2007, photographer Stephanie Sinclair won the UNICEF Photo of the Year competition for a wedding photograph of an Afghani couple: the groom was said to be forty years old but looked older; the bride was eleven. UNICEF Patroness Eva Luise Köhler explained, “The UNICEF Photo of the Year 2007 raises awareness about a worldwide problem. Millions of girls are married while they are still under age. Most of theses child brides are forever denied a self-determined life.”26 According to UNICEF, about half the women in Afghanistan are married before they reach the age of eighteen.27”

Robert Spencer, The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran
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The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran The Complete Infidel's Guide to the Koran by Robert Spencer
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