Paying a debt with a child.

Unable to pay off his debt, a Muslim man is being forced by his culture to give his daughter away to be married to his lender’s 17 year-old son.

The arrangement effectively values her life at $2,500. That is the amount Mr. Mohammad borrowed over the course of a year to pay for hospital treatment for his wife and medical care for some of his nine children — including Janan, 3, who later froze to death in bitter winter weather because the family could not afford enough firewood to stay warm.

“They said, ‘Pay back our money,’ and I didn’t have any money, so I had to give my girl,” Mr. Mohammad said. “I was thankful to them at the time, so it was my decision, but the elders also demanded that I do this.”

The kicker?  His daughter is six years old.  Don’t worry though, she’ll be seven when the transaction takes place next year.

And before the “Islam is actually beautiful” people start claiming this is an isolated incident, it’s not. From wikipedia.

Aisha was six or seven years old when betrothed to Muhammad. Traditional sources state that she stayed in her parents’ home until the age of nine when the marriage was consummated with Muhammad, then 53, in Medina, with the single exception of al-Tabari, who records that she was ten.

And yes, other Muslim men attempting to live in the image of their prophet have continued the practice.

This is why we can see stories like that of Nujood Ali, an eight year-old forced to marry a man more than three times her age (who, under Sharia law, received compensation from Nujood’s family in the divorce).  Her parents said they could not protect her because now she belonged to her husband.  Look at me and tell me that they would’ve done this without the influence of Islam.

There are countless other cases I could trot out.

As I said in my talk this weekend: once religion is extinguished from every human mind we will not lose art, or music, or camraderie with other people.  Those things belong to humanity – religion took them from us.  But we will lose all manner of horrors enacted because religious dogma and ancient, terrible tradition are given authority over compassion.

  • baal

    9 kids?! That’s not exactly healthy for the wife. Tell me again why we don’t strongly push family planning in the rest of the world?

    • iknklast

      Because we were told that would be racist and imperial. We were told that women want children in those countries and we aren’t to interfere. This was, of course, told to us by the men – rich men, the leaders of their countries. Often, if you talk to the women, and the women feel free to talk, they will tell you they don’t want so many children, but it isn’t their choice.

      • Glodson

        Oh, we shouldn’t export our Family Planning, and other ideas. But we should export our religion. Missionary work is still considered good.

  • Glodson

    Too bad religion didn’t die with God.

  • CJ Klok

    “There are countless other cases I could trot out.”

    That would actually be a great service to the assertive atheist community. Please compile an exhaustive list with references for verification.
    Having an easy to reference and very comprehensive list to show whenever the old trope ‘… That’s just an isolated incident…’ gets trotted out would eventually sink in with the apologists that their BS platitudes are not sufficient in arguing for their horrifying religions.

    Of course, I would indulge in my perverse sense of pleasure by slowly reading off one incident, then another, and a third. Really dragging it out, before handing over the list packed with ‘isolated incidents’.

    • http://anthrozine.com Cubist

      I like your proposed response to the “isolated incident” excuse, CJ Klok. Possibly someone could set up a blog or Twitter feed devoted entirely to these ‘isolated incidents’? And of course there should be an ink-on-paper version which collects them all into a hardcopy book. Okay, series of hardcopy books, since godbots do insist on providing a continuing series of ‘isolated incidents’…
      The titles of these books: An Isolated Incident. Another Isolated Incident. One More Isolated Incident. Yet Another Isolated Incident.

  • Hypatia’s Daughter

    Several years ago, someone in Saudi Arabia (the USA’s BFF in the Middle East) was trying to pass a law imposing an age limit on marriage (it currently has none). The rational for not passing the law was that putting it at six years would imply that Mohammed was wrong when he married Aisha and thus be blasphemy. The ONLY reason – to defend Mohammed’s reputation.
    Let’s not even mention that a father owns his children to the extent that he can barter or trade them like a cow. I wonder if he could sell his son into slavery? At what age does his son go frombeing a possession of his father to the possessor of the same rights as his father?


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