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“Moderate” Malaysia: Muslim clerics stall reform of child marriage laws

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We are constantly admonished that Malaysia is a moderate Muslim nation, a model for the rest of the Islamic world and a demonstration of the fact that Islam can be compatible with a free and prosperous modern society. Yet as always, Islam sets the limits of just how free and modern a Muslim nation can be. Malaysia cannot outlaw child marriage because Muhammad married his favorite wife Aisha at age six and consummated the marriage when Aisha was nine.

Since Muhammad did that, there is no way that Malaysia could criminalize child marriage or change the legal permissible age for marriage. They cannot increase the age for marriage; the age which is allowed in Islam must be followed.

And the Democrats and RINOs are doing everything they possibly can to bring this terror to our cities, towns, schools.

“In Malaysia, religious concerns stall child-bride reform,” by Preeti Jha, Christian Science Monitor, December 16, 2017 (thanks to The Religion of Peace):

December 15, 2017 Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia—When the man who raped Saira asked for her hand in marriage, she was disgusted but unsurprised.

She was just 16. Her rapist expected she would keep her mouth shut if they were married, she figured. He wouldn’t be the first Malaysian to protect himself that way from prosecution.

But Saira would not comply. The Muslim schoolgirl took her case to court, and her attacker was sentenced to eight years in jail.

“There might be pressures from the outside, but this is where you have to be strong,” says Saira, not her real name, about resisting the unlikely marriage proposal. Today, she’s a confident 19-year-old, working at a full-time job.

If underage marriage were outlawed, say girls’ rights activists, there would be no risk that teen rape victims could be silenced by forced loyalty to their new husbands.

But as conservative strands of Islamic opinion gain influence in multi-ethnic, multi-religious Malaysia, child advocates are finding it an uphill battle to make marriage a matter for adults only.
Courts, but not necessarily justice

Lobbyists pressuring the government to criminalize child marriage “were getting quite a lot of momentum” at one stage, says Tham Hui Ying, vice president of Malaysia’s Association of Women Lawyers. “But suddenly it became a hot button issue. It’s religious,” so politicians are “not going to push to outright ban child marriage,” she says.

Malaysia operates a dual legal system. Civil law sets the minimum age of marriage at 18. But under Islamic law, which applies to the Muslim majority on family and morality issues, girls may marry as young as 12 with approval from a Sharia court.

Underage marriage cuts across ethnic and religious lines. About 1,000 Muslim teens get married every year, according to government figures. Fewer than half that number of underage non-Muslims wed, needing the consent of their state’s Chief Minister.

Nobody knows how many rapists avoid jail through marriage; rapes and out-of-court settlements often go unreported. But two court cases have galvanized efforts to outlaw child marriage altogether.

In 2013, a Sharia court in the eastern state of Sabah granted a 40-year-old restaurant manager permission to marry a 12-year-old girl he had raped. A civil court dropped the rape case when the man later said he was going to marry his victim….

“Muslim conservatism is permeating our society right now,” says Shareena Sheriff, a program manager at Sisters in Islam, a women’s group urging law reform on child marriage. And that is making child marriage a religious issue rather than a rights issue….

Not all Muslims support child marriage. The influential National Fatwa Council has declared the practice harmful, for example.

But the rise of a more austere form of Islam is strengthening religious arguments that defend child marriage, analysts say. And when the ruling party is courting the conservative Muslim vote ahead of elections expected in 2018, the government has little appetite to promote anti-child marriage legislation….

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