marriage is currently in the spotlight after a 41-year-old Kelantanese man took
an 11-year-old Thai girl as his third wife in southern Thailand last month. —
Picture via Facebook
Investigating Marriage of Man to 11-Year-Old Girl
Website Seeks To Combat Female Genital Mutilation
Misses 30pc Women’s Quota for Ministers and Deputies
Increase in Licenses Granted To Saudi Women Lawyers in Three Years
By Her Native Chechnya, a Woman Is Returned From Islamic State
Teenager Jailed for Drifting, Impersonating Woman
Prepares for Ministerial Conference on Women’s Role in Development
by New Age Islam News Bureau
State Shariah Laws to Ban Child Marriage, Say Lawyers
LUMPUR, July 2 — A uniform legal age of marriage at 18 will only become a
reality if all state legislative assemblies amend their respective Islamic
Family Law Enactments, legal experts said.
lawyer Lim Wei Jiet said this was because jurisdiction on Muslim marriage fell
under Item 1 of the State List in the Federal Constitution, making it solely
the purview of the state governments.
means that the rest of the individual states (with the exception of Labuan,
Kuala Lumpur and Putrajaya) would have to amend their respective enactments
governing Muslim marriages,” he told Malay Mail.
to federal civil law, the legal minimum age of marriage is at 18 for both
genders, but non-Muslim girls aged 16 can still get married with approval from
the mentri besar. Non-Muslims however cannot marry below 16.
state Islamic laws, the marriageable age is 18 for boys and 16 for girls, but
the Shariah courts hold the authority to give consent to those under the
permitted age to get married. There is no minimum age of marriage for Muslims.
said Parliament can make a similar amendment to Section 8 of the Islamic Family
Law (Federal Territories) Act 1984, which governs Muslim marriages in the
Section reads: “No marriage may be solemnised under this Act where either the
man is under the age of eighteen or the woman is under the age of sixteen except
where the Shariah Judge has granted his permission in writing in certain
said the amendments to the state Islamic Family Law Enactments and to the
Islamic Family Law in the Federal Territories should seek to remove the Shariah
courts’ power to grant special exceptions to underage marriage.
state legislatures are already in the same spirit, setting the minimum age for
females at 16 years old but the only step now is to not allow any exceptions by
the Shariah courts.
should be no exceptions if the principle is to protect a child from entering
into a life-changing, irreversible relationship which he or she has no agency
to decide in the first place,” he said.
said if Pakatan Harapan (PH) was truly committed, the amendments could “easily
be done” in PH states including Selangor, Penang, Negri Sembilan, Johor and
legislatures only require a simple majority to amend state enactments governing
Islamic family law.
may be a bit tricky in Kedah and Perak where there is only a slim majority and
where PAS may actually object to such amendments,” he said.
those seven states governed by PH that also has federal power, an alliance of
PH and Parti Warisan Sabah controls Sabah. Kelantan and Terengganu, on the other
hand, are governed by PAS and do not have a single state or federal
representative from PH.
lawyer, Nizam Bashir, echoed the same sentiment, adding that the government
should impose an equal, if not more, scrutiny on laws governing marriages.
a person below the age of 18 cannot smoke, drink or vote. Marriage is something
more weighty as compared to that, yet we seem to be more prepared to
countenance the marriage of a child.
it is feasible to place a minimum age for smoking, drinking and voting, then it
would be equally feasible to place a minimum age for marriage.
child should be encouraged to explore all opportunities that the world has to
offer especially where education is concerned,” he said.
Surendra Ananth said Parliament should instead enact a criminal law to prohibit
child marriage, which would then render all state Shariah laws
marriage cannot be considered as ‘personal law’. If such a criminal law is
enacted, all state Shariah laws would contravene a federal law, rendering them
each Shariah law in each state is one way but it would fall within the
discretion of each state legislative assembly.
view is that it is better for Parliament to take a stand by way of a criminal
law to prohibit child marriage,” he told Malay Mail.
said another way to impose a total ban on child marriage was by arguing that
any state Shariah law that allowed the marriage was a contravention of Articles
5, 8 and 10 of the Federal Constitution.
three Articles speak about Malaysians’ fundamental rights to liberty, equality
and freedom of speech, assembly and association, respectively.
Shariah laws that are inconsistent with fundamental rights are void. However,
this required a pronouncement from the civil courts. It requires judicial
intervention,” he said.
marriage is currently in the spotlight after a 41-year-old Kelantanese man took
an 11-year-old Thai girl as his third wife in southern Thailand last month.
Lumpur, Jul 2 (AP) Malaysian authorities are investigating the marriage between
an 11-year-old Thai girl and a 41-year-old Malaysian Muslim that has sparked
public outrage and calls for child brides to be banned.
scrap dealer Che Abdul Karim Che Abdul Hamid secretly married the girl as his
third wife in Thailand, and the union became public after one of his wives
lodged a complaint with police.
under the minimum legal marriage age of 16 can wed with the consent of the
Shariah court and their parents. Muslim men in Malaysia can marry four wives.
Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has said the marriage was illegal as it
had not been approved by the Shariah court. (AP) PMS PMS
new website, titled “Enough with FGM” has been launched to combat Female
Genital Mutilation (FGM), as a part of a wider campaign to raise awareness of
the pratice, Vivian Fouad, coordinator of the National Strategy against FGM
website includes religious, health and medical materials seeking to educate
readers on the dangers of FGM. It includes video clips from accomplished
obstetricians and gynecologists, alongside religious figures, discussing the
severity of FGM risks.
told Egypt Independent that the website received anonymous posts from people
reporting FGM attempts or revealing the locations of doctors who illegally
preform the operation, so the website can cooperate with the general
prosecution to investigate.
received a recent notice of a doctor in Al-Giza governorate who was secretly
performing FGM on girls in his clinic. We communicated with the Ministry of
Health who they notified the prosecution. The clinic was and the doctor
arrested,” she explained.
website frequently receives questions from parents skeptical if FGM really is
unhealthy, illegal and forbidden by Islamic sharia.
are actually the most calls we receive,” Foud said, “We answer all their
questions comprehensively with scientific proof, explaining pure in a factual
manner without exaggeration to maintain their trust.”
instance, if I tell a father planning to take his daughter for FGM that she may
die, it’s certainly a very real risk, but he still wouldn’t believe us as he
would know several examples of girls who have come through FGM alive,” Fouad
site also receives stories from women who went through FGM. They anonymously
dictate their bad experiences, such as how it’s affected their sex lives, as a
way of discouraging parents from going through the practice with their girls.
2016, Egyptian parliament approved a bill to tighten the criminality of FGM,
with a penalty of five to seven years in
prison for those who carry out FGM. The penalty would reach 15 years if it
caused permanent disability or death, and those who also escorted the girl
would receive one to three years in prison.
since FGM was criminalized people have become much more willing to speak out
against it. According to the general prosecution indices, the number of
complaints received doubled after the new year, as from 2012 to 2016 they only
received three cases, while 2016-2018 saw 10 complaints,” Fouad said.
added that cultural awareness and education are the most pivotal tools in
shaping the minds of future generations who will one day be parents themselves.
Fouad’s statements, PM Nadia Henary praised the website, saying that it will
help monitor most FGM attempts. She believed that raising awareness is the
solution to ending the practice, since with the new law efforts from women who
have undergone FGM to put an end to it are skyrocketing.
even though doctors are being arrested, legal procedures still don’t always go
smoothly, and so they continue easily being released,” Henary told Egypt
is currently working on a bill to protect people who report on FGM attempt
or on a doctor who practice FGM
operations, not to be subjected to legal accountability.
LUMPUR, July 2 — The Pakatan Harapan (PH) coalition has officially broken its
pledge for 30 per cent women’s representation in its administration now that
all its ministers and deputies have been sworn in.
the appointments of the remainder of the Cabinet this morning, the coalition
will now have just five women as full ministers and four as deputies.
ministers are Datuk Seri Dr Wan Azizah Wan Ismail, who is both deputy prime
minister and women and family development minister, Rina Harun (rural and
regional development), Zuraida Kamaruddin (housing and local government),
Teresa Kok (primary industries) and Yeo Bee Yin (technology, science, climate
change and environment).
deputy ministers are Hannah Yeoh (women and family development), Teo Nie Ching
(education), Isnaraissah Munirah Majilis (technology, science, climate change
and environment), and Fuziah Salleh (Islamic affairs).
and Isnaraissah’s selections will make their ministries an all-women’s affair,
five women among the 26 ministers, the gender’s representation is 19 per cent
of the Cabinet.
representation is lower still among deputy ministers, at just 16 per cent.
previously said it would be difficult to deliver on its 30 per cent election
manifesto pledge, and today’s development confirms this.
Increase in Licenses Granted To Saudi Women Lawyers In Three Years
Arabia’s Ministry of Justice represented by the Department of Lawyers, reported
an astonishing 240% increase in the number of licenses granted to women lawyers
in the past three years.
to Saudi Press Agency, the number of women lawyers saw a sharp rise since the
Ministry of Justice began offering licenses in 1434H.
the past three years alone, the ministry issued 77.5% of the total number of
the first year since the ministry began granting licenses to women, only 10
licenses were approved. However, this year saw 95 licenses granted to women so
Hissain Arif, a licensed Saudi lawyer who trained recent graduates in a law
office in Jeddah, said over the years she noticed an improvement in the level
of professionalism of the trainees.
women “continuously prove their strength” in numerous fields and have an
“ability to accomplish extraordinary goals,” she said.
to Arif, there has also been a noticeable difference in the professional
presence of women in the courts and law offices.
who regularly submits legal articles to a local newspaper, told Al Arabiya that
a large number of Saudi women lawyers publish articles and books on law.
added that Saudi women “are half of the society and undoubtedly play a major
role” in prospering the country.
women to join the workforce
increasing role in judicial affairs comes with the Minister of Justice and the
President of the Supreme Judicial Council of Saudi Arabia Waleed Bin Mohammed
al-Samaani’s attempt to empower Saudi women.
was instructed to provide more opportunities for women to obtain an
authenticated license so that they could practice law.
part of the government’s Vision 2030 goal to raise women’s participation in the
workforce, new job opportunities have become increasingly available to women.
ban on women drivers, which was officially lifted on June 24, is also expected
to increase the influx of women joining the workforce. An estimated 3 million
women are expected to be driving in Saudi Arabia by 2020, according to research
by audit firm PwC.
Russia — She’s a mother of seven who married an Islamic State fighter and was
captured in Syria, but Madina was lucky. She is a Chechen, and that means she
got to come home.
November, the 36-year-old was pregnant, her small children jumpy at the
slightest noise, when they were packed onto a plane and sent from Syria to
Grozny, the capital of Russia’s mainly Muslim republic of Chechnya.
the family out of Syria was an act of clemency on the part of Chechen
authorities, who say it is their duty to bring back the women and children
stranded in Islamic State territory after their insurgent husbands or fathers
have been imprisoned or died.
Chechen government says if we take back the women and children, and give them
the best things, treat them the best way we can, we can try to let them forget
who they used to be in Syria,” said Madina, who agreed to speak on the
condition that her family name not be disclosed. “And this is the best method,
in my eyes.”
and intense, Madina had framed her small face with a thick black covering, a
khimar, that stretches over her elbows and below the waist, like a cape. Not a
whisp of hair could be seen. She spoke solemnly yet without remorse, relaying
her life story as a series of unforeseen events connected to each other by
geographical footprint and life trajectory seem to reflect the international
reach and allure of the Islamic State. She left a war-wrecked Grozny in the
late 1990s, settling in the Netherlands, where she met, married and divorced
two men. Her third husband, with whom she traveled to Syria, is from Tunisia,
which has sent more Islamist fighters abroad than any other country. Russia has
provided the second-largest contingent, at 5,000, according to President
the men from around the world were their wives. It is estimated that hundreds,
if not thousands, of Russian-speaking women accompanied men to the caliphate.
month before she was returned to Chechnya, Madina and her family were captured
in a raid by the American-backed Syrian Democratic Forces. Her husband is in
prison in Syria, and the two do not speak. He doesn’t know that she gave birth,
in Chechnya, to his third, and her seventh, child.
family was held in a camp in Qamishli, near the border with Turkey, with women
from Russia, Central Asia and elsewhere. Madina said she was regularly beaten
and denied the toilet, and her children were starved.
Kurdish women guarding them had taunted the prisoners, telling them they would
be sold to Iraqi Shias. “They will rape you, and take your children away,”
Madina recalled them saying. So when Madina was blindfolded and led to a car,
she was sure they were heading to their enslavement.
they were met by Chechen officials at an airport.
Saratova, one of those overseeing the repatriation program, corroborated
Madina’s account. She said Madina and her children were flown back from the
Hmeimim air base, which Russia operates.
Grozny, they live in a temporary refuge given to her by the government, a
Soviet-era apartment on the outskirts of the capital, one of the few buildings
to have survived the city’s flattening during its two doomed wars for
independence from Russia.
year, 13 women of Chechen origin and their 35 children, including Madina and
her family, were taken back to Chechnya, Saratova said.
men go off to fight in ISIS, but the women and children were not involved in
this,” Saratova said. “They made a mistake by following these men to Syria, and
they know that.”
Kadyrov, the strongman leader of the tiny republic in Russia’s North Caucasus,
uses Islam to further his own interests, from rebuilding mosques in Syria to
aggressively stamping out Islamist militancy at home. This is key to currying
favor with the Kremlin, on which he relies for money and a large degree of
autonomy. Rehabilitating Chechen wives who went astray in the clutch of the
Islamic State sends a signal, analysts say, that alternatives to extremism
exist. And Madina said she’s grateful for that.
with similar repatriation programs in France or the United Kingdom, Chechnya’s
is by far the most lenient, so much so that other regions in Russia refuse to
follow suit, instead bringing women to trial and placing the children in foster
Madina fled Chechnya in 1999, as Russian troops entered the breakaway republic,
she headed with her sisters and mother to Maastricht, a hilly town in the
southern tip of the Netherlands.
Maastricht, Madina studied psychology and married a Dutchman, a non-Muslim.
When that relationship soured, she moved back in with her mother and started
working odd restaurant jobs. For a brief moment, her eyes clouded over with
memory as she joked about Maastricht’s riverside barges selling cannabis,
before her glance turned steely.
have no interest in seeing that country again,” she said, abruptly.
married two more times, and has seven children, ranging from six months to 12
years old. As she reeled off their ages, the children who are with her,
including two from her first marriage, timorously came into the living room,
where they gathered by her feet, hidden under the folds of a floor-length gray
skirt. Madina effortlessly slipped in and out of four languages with them:
Dutch, Arabic, Russian and Chechen.
second husband was a Russian Muslim, her third is the Tunisian. She pointed to
her three smallest boys, his children. “See, they look Arab, don’t they?” she
met him in Turkey in 2014, and they left for Syria a year later.
lived all over Islamic State territory together, from Raqqa in the north to
Deir ez-Zor in the south. Most of the family’s time was spent in Tabqa, a city on the Euphrates River.
the heaviest battles between the Islamic State and the American-led coalition,
in the second half of 2016, an explosion
ripped through the side of their house in Tabqa.
children were sleeping on the mattress, so they were okay,” she said. But
still, her two little Syrian-born boys, Abdullah and Isaaq, are often on edge.
he hears loud noises,” she said of 2-year-old Abdullah, who was sitting on the
floor trying to navigate a fidget spinner, “he is searching, looking, all
around him. When he hears fireworks, he starts to cry and cry, and I cannot
tiny scrap of a boy with eyes like chestnuts, Abdullah is still sickly from
their time in prison. When he arrived in Chechnya, he weighed barely 11
wouldn’t say she misses Syria, as there wasn’t much she could actually see. “We
women, we were just sitting at home making children, taking care of the house
and the husband,” she recalled. But she often wonders about the fate of her
friends there, a group of women from Trinidad and Tobago, with whom she shared
a great deal of laughter-filled gossip.
of their spell in the Islamic State returns each morning by way of a green tub
of halva. The treat is the family’s one keepsake from Syria, and they take
turns scraping out a thin shaving to savor.
Madina talked about how she got to Turkey, and why she took her two oldest
children with her, while leaving her middle children behind in the Netherlands
with her mother, she declined to get into the details. The Dutch government is
treating Madina as a terror suspect. She has been accused in the Dutch press of
kidnapping the two Dutch-born children who are with her.
can never enter Holland again, I am not welcome there,” she said.
said she went to Turkey for eye surgery. She insisted her Tunisian husband was
not a fighter, and that the pair had been duped by Islamic State recruiters who
promised them a better way of life.
was my mistake. I took my children to Syria,” she said.
back in the city she grew up in can be disorienting. Where before there were
“just stones,” now there are immaculately kept gardens and polished avenues.
Madina said she cannot recognize anything in rebuilt Grozny, whose skyline is
punctuated by glistening skyscrapers. But there is one constant.
always wanted to live in a Muslim country. I want my children to live in a
Teenager Jailed For Drifting, Impersonating Woman
teenager in Saudi Arabia has been arrested after pretending to be a woman whilst
drifting in his car.
teenager was spotted by officers when they initially thought they had caught a
female driver drifting earlier this week - an illegal act in the kingdom - but
soon realised the person behind the wheel was a 19-year-old man impersonating a
woman in the northern city of Tabuk, close to the Saudi-Jordanian border.
teenager, along with one other person, were both arrested at the scene,
according to the spokesperson for the Tabuk traffic authority, for committing
what many are interpreting as a stunt to defame the kingdom's new women
women celebrated taking the wheel for the first time in decades on Sunday after
the kingdom overturned the world's only ban on female motorists.
much-trumpeted move is part of Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman's plan to
modernise the conservative petrostate - but it has been dented by the jailing
of female activists who long opposed the driving ban.
much of the initial optimism over Prince Mohammed's reforms appears to have
been knocked by a major crackdown on women driving activists.
have said nine of 17 arrested people remain behind bars, accused of undermining
security and aiding enemies of the state.
detainees include 28-year-old Loujain al-Hathloul - also held in 2014 for more
than 70 days for attempting to drive from neighbouring United Arab Emirates to
Saudi Arabia - and Aziza al-Yousef, a retired professor at Riyadh's King Saud
— The Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held a two-day workshop in
Ouagadougou, capital of Burkina Faso, as part of the preparations for the
upcoming seventh ministerial conference on the role of women in development in
member states. The workshop was inaugurated on June 28 (Thursday) by Helene
Marie Laurence Ilboudo Marchal, Burkina Faso’s minister for women, national
solidarity and family.
stated in her inaugural address that the OIC member states have successfully
created legal and institutional environment to promote women’s fundamental
rights nearly 10 years after the adoption of the first OIC Action Plan for the
Promotion of Women in Cairo, however many challenges remain.
this regard, she urged the member states and the OIC institutions to take
appropriate measures to address these challenges.
Hesham Youssef, OIC Assistant Secretary General for Humanitarian, Social and
Cultural Affairs, read a written speech of OIC Secretary General Dr. Yousef Al
Othaimeen, in which he highlighted the efforts undertaken by the OIC through
its various institutions in promoting the role of women in development in the
member states and the progress made in this area. He also lauded the spirit of
selflessness that characterized women in the member states, particularly in
Palestine where they pay a heavy price due to the oppression of the Israeli
occupation. He further reaffirmed the availability of the General Secretariat
to work in collaboration with Burkina Faso and the OIC institutions for the
success of the upcoming ministerial conference on women.
workshop touched on the themes, documents and projects to be submitted to the
ministerial conference which is scheduled to be held on Nov. 28 in Burkina
Faso. The workshop brought together representatives of relevant OIC organs and
institutions, members of the Advisory Committee on Women as well as a number of
Burkina Faso’s institutions. – SPA
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