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Child marriage in the Arab world

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  • Sunny
    http://news.kuwaittimes.net/child-marriage-in-the-arab-world/ Friday, August 16, 2013 Child marriage in the Arab world Muna Al-Fuzai I always thought that
    Message 1 of 1 , Aug 16, 2013
       
      Friday, August 16, 2013

      Child marriage in the Arab world

      Muna Al-Fuzai

      Muna Al-Fuzai

      I always thought that child marriage was something that took place only in poor and ignorant communities. But recently, an Egyptian TV serial brought the topic out into the open. It shed light on the problem by showing how an old rich man would marry young girls by taking advantage of the family’s poverty and ignorance. The series tells a gripping story which cannot be ignored. This series has in fact, made child marriage the main topic of discussion on social media websites and many see it as a form of rape which is not recognized by the legislature. While the victim’s voice goes unheard, the rapists get away scot-free!

      Some believe that this happens in places like Yemen or Egypt as they have many isolated villages where poverty is wide-spread and the poor families give their young daughters away to rich men, hoping they have a better life while making some money in the bargain. They don’t understand the magnitude of their actions and believe, on the contrary, that they are doing their daughters a favor by gifting them a better life. They tend to overlook the possibility of underage pregnancy and the health complications that can arise from it, including death.

      Last week, the Iraqi Minister of Planning and Cooperative development made a shocking statement when he admitted in Iraq, “11 percent of the women marry before they turn 18 years old”. Unfortunately, in some countries, some fatwas support marrying girls off before they reach their teens. The Egyptian series has caused a lot of uproar on social networking sites. While some feel that the whole idea is sick, others think that it’s good that the issue has come into the open and will go far in educating people of the negative consequences.

      The girls tend to pay a really high price and lose their future when they are used as bargaining chips to feed the sick desires of old men. It’s important for such topics to be addressed openly to create awareness. It’s not just the producer’s responsibility but everyone’s, including NGOs and the media, to take action. Considering this serial provoked such a reaction in Egypt and other Arab countries, I would say it’s a success and did well.

      Muna@...

      By Muna Alfuzai, Staff Columnist

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