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mediazioni e arbitrati, risoluzione alternativa delle controversie e servizi di mediazione e arbitrato
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» 04/16/2009
SAUDI ARABIA
Saudi court confirms validity of marriage for eight-year-old girl
Criticisms from UNICEF and the U.S. State Department. The Riyadh justice minister himself says that he wants to put an end to the arbitrary power of parents who arrange marriages for minor children, but does not mention any ban.

Riyadh (AsiaNews/Agencies) - UNICEF, the U.S. State Department, and human rights groups are protesting over the sentence from the Saudi court of Unaiza, which has confirmed the validity of the marriage between an eight-year-old girl and a fifty-year-old man.

The court confirmed that Islamic tradition allows girls to marry, on the condition that they not have sexual relations before puberty.

In theory, the woman's consent is required for a marriage to be valid, but many officials who perform weddings do not feel it is necessary to ask for this.

The question of the minimum age for marriage is extremely controversial in Islamic countries. Those who oppose setting one point out the fact that Mohammed himself took a nine-year-old girl as a wife. But women's movements and women in general see it as indirect human trafficking, in addition to its being the violation of a fundamental human right. This can even lead to the abandonment of the Islamic religion.

This case, however, seems capable of providing a jolt to the system, partly because of the desire for the modernization of his country expressed by King Abdullah. If UNICEF has said that it is "deeply concerned" by the sentence of the Saudi court, asserting that child marriage is "a violation of that child's rights," and a spokesman for the State Department, Robert Wood, has called it "a clear and unacceptable violation of human rights," the Saudi justice minister himself, Mohamed al-Issa, has announced that he wants to "put an end to arbitrariness by parents and guardians in marrying off minor girls." The minister, however, did not mention a ban, but only the desire to "preserve the rights" of girls, and "end the negative aspects of underage girls' marriage."

Behind marriages like these, in fact, in addition to tribal traditions, there is often economic trafficking, with actual "purchase" of child brides on the part of adult men. The practice, in fact, is present above all in the poorest areas of countries in the Arabian Peninsula, like Yemen.


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See also
09/10/2008 PAKISTAN
Christian girl, kidnapped and converted by Muslims, returned to family
by Qaiser Felix
03/24/2009 SAUDI ARABIA
Religious police accused of torture by Saudi Society for Human Rights
03/07/2007 SAUDI ARABIA
Saudi women discriminated against even in marriage with foreigners
03/11/2009 SAUDI ARABIA
Prison, whipping for 75-year-old widow: her nephew brought her bread
02/26/2009 YEMEN
A "fatwa" against Yemeni law setting minimum age for marriage

Editor's choices
EGYPT - ISLAM
What Tayeb and Sisi said is big step towards a revolution in Islam
by Samir Khalil SamirThe grand imam of Al-Azhar slammed literalist interpretations of the Qur'an and the Sunnah, as fundamentalists and Islamic terrorists do. He supports the urgent need for Islam's reform, especially in terms of teaching lay people and clerics. He also calls for an end to mutual excommunication (takfir) between Sunnis and Shias. Egyptian President al-Sisi chose to fight the Islamic state group after it beheaded 21 Coptic Christians, whom he called "Egyptian citizens" with full rights.
SAUDI ARABIA - ISLAM
For head of Al-Azhar, religious education reform is needed to stop Islamic extremismFor Ahmed al-Tayeb, it is urgent to come up with new educational programmes to avoid "corrupt interpretations" of the Qur'an and Sunnah. Islamic terrorism undermines the unity of the Muslim world. He blames Mideast tensions on a "new global colonialism allied to world Zionism". a speech by the Saudi king is read at the conference.
HONG KONG - CHINA - VATICAN
It looks like someone is trying to shout us down
by Card. Joseph Zen Ze-kiunThe widespread optimism concerning the dialogue between the Holy See and China is largely groundless. Some Chinese bishops unable to speak freely are asked "leading" questions. The key issues remain unresolved, namely episcopal appointments and the fate of the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association. Benedict XVI's Letter to Chinese Catholics, also cited by Pope Francis, provides guidelines. No agreement is better than a bad agreement. What happened to Msgr. Cosma Shi Enxiang and Msgr. James Su Zhimin? Hong Kong's bishop emeritus, champion of religious freedom in China, delivers a vibrant reflection.

Dossier

by Giulio Aleni / (a cura di) Gianni Criveller
pp. 176
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