Posted by: Lister | April 27, 2008


I heard about this from Muslimah Media Watch, which I found via a comment at Eteraz’s blog.

The Yemen Times says:

No one denies that the Yemeni society is a male dominant one whereby men have the upper hand in almost everything. It is also known that early marriage for boys but especially for girls exists. However, the story of Nujood the eight year old girl who was forced into marrying a man 22 years older is a sign of warning.

In any society, it is the women and children that get affected most by social, political, economic, health or educational problems.

[…] The issue is not a personal case of an eight year old girl who was forced to grow too soon and live with a man who demanded so much from her. It is the story of hundreds of Yemeni girls who have lost their innocence to a cruel society and harsh circumstances. It is the story of the absence of a good law, the lack of implementation and monitoring systems that make sure whatever legislation is being applied in reality. It is the story of an ever-growing social tension and economic deterioration that forces humans into a state of barbaric crudeness. What was not reported in Nujood’s case is that her two elder sisters have been equally abused by the father and married off to abusive husbands at an early age, although not as young as Nujood. This shows a scary trend as the father’s conscience is getting worse with the years as the age of his daughters sold out in a marriage contract gets younger. Luckily Nujood is the youngest female in that family.

It is my firm belief that the solution for such an issue must start immediately and through society mobilization. People must start taking responsibility for their neighborhoods and not turn a deaf ear as if it does not concern them. Although I appreciate the uncle’s position to support her in her trial against her husband and take the role of the guardian, I cannot help but wonder where was he when the marriage was discussed or even during the two months this child was sexually and physically abused.

Actually, many of the links I found trace back to the Yemen Times.

8-year-old girl’s divorce is finalized while a law to prevent early marriage stalls:

Eight-year-old Nojoud is now safe after an anonymous donor paid her 30-year-old husband to divorce her. Although this chapter of her life has closed, there are many other Yemeni girls who still suffer from early marriage and its consequences. Feminist groups in Yemen are urging the Parliament to legally define a minimum marriage age. However, there is a long way to go before girls like Nojoud can be free from detrimental early marriages.

[…] A few months ago, Nojoud was an average 8-year-old girl from a poor family. Then Nojoud’s father decided to marry her off to a man more than three times her age. Overnight, Nojoud became a wife, enduring physical and sexual abuse for two months until she ran away with the help of her uncle and filed a court case against her father and her husband.

[…] The Yemeni personal status law stipulates that a girl cannot be wed until she is ready for intercourse, which in essence leaves the judgment up to the girl’s parents or guardians.

Judge Ghowber explained that early marriages are usually the fault of the parents. He insisted that there must be increased awareness among Yemeni families in order to avoid these serious mistakes.

A number of Yemeni religious scholars, including some in the Evaluation and Jurisprudence Committee in the Parliament, say that since there is no religious statement defining a minimum age for marriage, then early marriage is perfectly fine if not desirable.

Other scholars and religious authorities, like Judge Hamoud Al-Hitar, the Minister of Endowment, want to create legislation to prevent parents from marrying their girls off at a young age and to prevent religious sheikhs from endorsing such marriages.

“Those who approve of girls marrying at 13, 14 or even below 18, are barbaric men who abuse childhood and are irresponsible,” said religious scholar Yahiya Al-Najar, the former Minister of Endowment.

[…] Al-Hitar said that the minimum age of marriage should be 16-years-old, no less. He added that previous religious bodies in charge of jurisprudence wrote such laws in 1976 and in 1988.

The article also has a table showing the percentage of girls married under 18 in various developing countries — From the ICWR.



  1. […] all entitled, but to then justify it and blame the pack barreling at him at 180 mph wa (0 clicks) NujoudI heard about this from Muslimah Media Watch, which I found via a comment at Eteraz’s blog. … Educação Especial – Links úteis (enviado pela Azuli)Sites nacionais SECRETARIADO NACIONAL PARA A […]

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