The girl’s Muslim parents forced her into the marriage when she was fourteen. Her mother tried to put a good face on a bad situation, enticing the girl with a picture of marriage as a never-ending party: her husband, she said, would treat the girl to ice cream and lollipops and take her to movies and amusement parks. Reality turned out to be a bit different: her husband imprisoned her inside their home and forced her to watch violent videos featuring jihad attacks against soldiers from Western countries. He also raped her and beat her frequently.
The girl went to her father for help. But her father, as she recounted later, was completely unsympathetic, telling her: “So what if he raped you? So what if he bashed you? The only way you can come back to me is in a coffin.”
This didn’t happen in Pakistan, or Egypt, or Indonesia. This girl suffered in comfortable suburban Australia, where Western society failed her as thoroughly as did Islamic society: she went to a teacher and explained what was happening, but despite laws requiring teachers to report such incidents, nothing was done.
Perhaps the teacher was afraid that if she reported the girl’s husband, she’d be accused of “bigotry” and “hate.” The forces promoting multiculturalism are as strong and deeply entrenched in Australia as they are in Europe and the United States. But inevitably, the multiculturalist acceptance of all things Islamic and stigmatization of any and all opposition to Islamic law as “racist” and “bigoted” are going to come into conflict with core Western principles of human rights and human dignity. This Muslim teenager’s teacher apparently accepted child marriage and spousal abuse as the price of eschewing “Islamophobia.”
Last week I wrote that Western countries were soon “going to have to make a choice as to whether they’re going to affirm the human dignity of women and maintain the illegality of polygamy, or whether they’re going to allow them to become mere possessions and playthings, denizens of de facto harems.” The same choice is coming regarding child marriage. Australian society, along with European and American society as well, is before too long going to have to choose between protecting the rights of women and thus fighting against child marriage, or allowing it in the interests of marching together with Sharia adherents into the brave new multicultural future.
Most people don’t believe this choice will ever have to be made, because they don’t realize how entrenched child marriage is within Islamic law. Islamic tradition records that Muhammad’s favorite wife, Aisha, was six when Muhammad wedded her and nine when he consummated the marriage:
The Prophet wrote the (marriage contract) with Aisha while she was six years old and consummated his marriage with her while she was nine years old and she remained with him for nine years (i.e., till his death) (Bukhari 7.62.88).
Muhammad is an “excellent example” for Muslims (Qur’an 33:21), which in practice means that whatever Muhammad did is good, right, and to be emulated.
This girl in Australia is not a singular case: many other Muslims in the West are emulating Muhammad’s example in this. The Iranian and Kurdish Women’s Rights Organisation (IKWRO) has stated that in England in 2010, at least thirty girls in Islington, a neighborhood of greater London, were forced into marriage, and that some were as young as nine years old. And just this month, an undercover investigation in Britain revealed eighteen mosques that agreed to perform child marriages. In Sweden, meanwhile, there are several hundred reported incidences of child marriage every year. And that’s just what gets reported. Anyone who thinks that all or most forced marriage and child marriage cases come to the attention of Western authorities is simply naïve.
Likewise naïve are those who believe that stopping child marriage in Western countries will be a simple matter of enforcing our own laws. The relentless campaigns against anti-Sharia legislation have already branded foes of Islamic law as “bigots.” What’s more, Islamic leaders in the West, since child marriage is endorsed by nothing less than the example of Muhammad himself, are certain eventually to begin to resist attempts to prosecute those who engage in it.
This is already happening in Muslim countries. In 2009, Muslim clerics in Yemen issued a fatwa declaring that opposition to child marriage makes one an apostate from Islam. A law raising the legal marriage age for girls to adult levels was nevertheless passed, but then almost immediately repealed after some Yemeni legislators argued that it was un-Islamic. In Malaysia in December 2010, a government minister, Nazri Aziz, said at a press conference that the Malaysian government had no plans to legislate against child marriage, because of Islam: “If the religion allows it, then we can’t legislate against it.”
In July 2013, a Muslim leader named Alhaji Mujahid Abubakar Dokubo-Asari warmly endorsed the Nigerian Senate’s approval of child marriage, and accused foes of child marriage of lacking respect for Muslims and their rights: “People should learn to respect other people’s sensibilities. … We Muslims have the right to marry when we want or give out our daughters at any age we want. It is not your business and the law must respect our right to do so. Anything short of that is an infringement on our rights.”
It will come to this in our countries: “respect” Muslim sensibilities, or stop child marriage. In Australia, in the case of this young victim of forced marriage, child marriage, and spousal abuse, it already should have.
image courtesy shutterstock / Smailhodzic