Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Iraqi Law Proposes Nine Year Old Girls Can Be Married Off

Story from The Week. com

foreign affairs 9:58pm ET

Bill Pugliano/Getty Images
Bill Pugliano/Getty Images

A controversial law in Iraq, proposed by former Justice Minister Hassan al-Shammari and passed by the Cabinet, would have girls considered adults at the age of 9 and able to marry, NPR reports.

Known as the Jaafari law (after a school of Islam by the same name), it still has to make its way to the Parliament. Action likely won't be taken until after Iraq forms its new government, following last month's elections. If passed, following the law will be voluntary, and will only apply to the country's Shiite Muslim majority.

Those who oppose the law say that although the people of Iraq have more opportunities to travel and internet access, women's rights are not moving forward, and conservative religious politics are becoming more mainstream. "We know the state of women in Iraq is getting worse, despite the intellectual openness that women had benefited from following the American occupation and the removal of the regime," Fawzia al-Babakhan, a lawyer, told NPR.

While the law is unlikely to be passed and was likely an overture to conservative Shiites, it is still unsettling to radio host Ahlam al-Obeidi. "We are a society plagued by patriarchal attitudes and outdated tribal laws, which are all conducive to violence against women," she said to NPR. "This is not marriage, but rather the selling and buying of young women." --Catherine Garcia

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