Warning: Do not read this article if you have a weak stomach or have great trouble reading about sexual injuries or rape.
In Yemen the marriage of child brides, in emulation of Muhammad’s marriage to Aisha, is pretty commonplace (as it is in several societies dominated by fundamentalist Islam).
One such bride, and eight year-old named Rawan, died this weekend from injuries sustained as her 40 year-old husband consummated their marriage.
Activists in the region want to put an end to the practice of marrying young girls, and have called for police to arrest the girl’s husband and family. Nevertheless, the forced marriage of child brides in Yemen remains a socially accepted custom in many rural areas.
Indeed, the practice has deep cultural and religious roots, and is widespread in Yemen. A February 2009 law set the minimum age for marriage at 17, but it was repealed after some conservative lawmakers called it un-Islamic.
In particular, a prominent Islamic cleric, Abdulmajeed al-Zindani, issued a fatwa in support of the practice, declaring supporters of a ban on child brides to be apostates, and ultimately leading a successful campaign against legislation that would prevent adult men from marrying children.
An eight year old bride in Yemen died from internal injuries on her wedding night, bleeding to death after deep vaginal tearing caused by sex with her 40 year old husband.
You may think to yourself what a monster the man was, and you’d be right. But, to my eyes, he has nothing on the girl’s parents who allowed this. Christians in America often make a big deal about how their faith comes first, then their family. These parents are guilty of the same: they cared more about Islam and the social mores it has enshrined than their daughter.
Religion should never become more important than our humanity. And if a religious leader, no matter how prominent, tells you god won’t let you into heaven until religion becomes that important, it’s time to invite that religious leader and the god for whom they speak to go straight to hell where they belong.