29 April 2017
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  • » 04/08/2017, 15.25

    MALAYSIA

    Malaysia parliament upholds child marriage



    Proposal to ban the custom fails. For Shabudin Yahaya, girls as young as nine are “physically and spiritually” ready for marriage. Under Islamic law, children under 16 can marry, a practice used to avoid prosecution in rape cases.

    Kuala Lumpur (AsiaNews) - The Malaysian parliament approved a bill on sexual offences against children without outlawing child marriage.

    Opposition MP Teo Nie Ching had proposed banning child marriage, but her amendment failed to win support in parliament in the Muslim majority country.

    During the debate, Shabudin Yahaya, a member of the Barisan Nasional coalition, said that girls as young as nine were "physically and spiritually" ready for marriage.

    "They reach puberty at the age of nine or 12. And at that time, their body is already akin to them being 18 years old. So physically and spiritually, it is not a barrier for the girl to marry," he said.

    He also added that in his view there was "nothing wrong" with a rape victim marrying her rapist to avoid a "bleak future".

    Shabudin's comments sparked outrage, with some opposition politicians calling on for him to resign.

    In a statement on Wednesday, Shabudin said his comments were taken out of context, and that marriage was not a "back door exit to legalise rape,” noting that he rejected the motion to ban child marriages as it is contrary to provisions in Islamic law (Sharia).

    Under both civil law and Islamic law, girls and boys under 18 can marry. Civil law sets the minimum age of marriage at 18, but those above 16 can marry with the permission of their state's chief minister.

    Under Islamic law, children younger than 16 can get married if the Sharia courts allow it.

    The new law criminalises "grooming" – touching and befriending children as a prelude to sexual abuse – and spells out penalties for making and possessing child pornography. However, the law does not mention child marriage.

    Critics argue that this allows offenders to get away with rape through marriage. Spousal abuse is not an offence under Islamic and Malaysian law.

    Over the years, several rapists have married their victims, including underage girls, to avoid prosecution.

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    EGYPT – VATICAN
    Pope in Egypt: Egypt called to condemn violence and poverty in the Middle East



    In his address to Egyptian authorities, Francis stressed Egypt’s role and responsibility in the future of the region. "In the fragile and complex situation of today’s world, which I have described as ‘a world war being fought piecemeal’, it needs to be clearly stated that no civilized society can be built without repudiating every ideology of evil, violence and extremism that presumes to suppress others and to annihilate diversity by manipulating and profaning the Sacred Name of God.”


    ISLAM – VATICAN – EGYPT
    A Muslim writes to the pope: Dear Pope Francis . . .

    Kamel Abderrahmani

    He admires the charity shown by the pontiff towards Syrian Muslim refugees, and his push in favour of love and against hatred. Islamic scholars are not like this, he says, they do not denounce Daesh’s hatred and do nothing for Christians. He calls on the pontiff to press President to Sisi and Al Azhar to reform Islam. Without this Al Azhar risks being the academy of world fundamentalism. Here is the letter from our friend and collaborator Kamel Abderrahmani.


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