Child Brides of Obama’s Islamic Allies

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This is Faiz Mohammed and his bride, Ghulam Haider, who was 11 years old on the day of her wedding in Afghanistan, in 2006.

We chased the Taliban out of power in Afghanistan in 2001, and if you still believe the Bush/Obama propaganda, we are now and were always on the verge of installing a more enlightened form of Islam where the demonic Taliban formerly ruled.

But it was surprisingly difficult to find a “more enlightened form of Islam” to install in Afghanistan, even if the “goal” of nine years of mass murder by the CIA and other American agencies hadn’t suddenly changed from driving the Taliban out of Afghanistan to making a deal with those same demons.

Karzai has endorsed the idea of talking with all levels of the Taliban, and his aides insist that women need not worry about the equal rights the Afghan constitution guarantees them.

(Apparently among the “equal rights” which the Afghan Constitution guarantees for women was Ghulam Haider’s “right” to marry Faiz Mohammed when she was 11 years old.)

But after we make our deal with the demonic Taliban, the condition of women in Afghanistan will supposedly improve, because the Taliban will peacefully share power with our more enlightened Islamic allies.

And where will Obama find those more enlightened Islamic allies, after he makes a deal with the Taliban?

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Roshan Kasem was 8 years old on the day of her betrothal to Said Mohammed in Ghor Province, Afghanistan, in 2006.

Maybe Obama can find a more enlightened form of Islam among his allies in Yemen!

A 13-year-old Yemeni child bride who bled to death shortly after marriage was tied down and forced to have sex by her husband, according to interviews with the child’s mother, police and medical reports.

The practice of marrying young girls is widespread in Yemen and has drawn the attention of international rights groups seeking to pressure the government to outlaw child marriages.

A February 2009 law set the minimum age for marriage at 17, but it was repealed and sent back to parliament’s constitutional committee for review after some lawmakers called it un-Islamic.

The issue of Yemen’s child brides received widespread attention three years ago when an 8-year-old girl boldly went by herself to a courtroom and demanded a judge dissolve her marriage to a man in his 30s.

In September, a 12-year-old Yemeni child-bride died after struggling for three days in labor to give birth, a local human rights organization said.

So apparently Yemen isn’t exactly the best place to look for a “more enlightened form of Islam” to substitute for the Taliban, and maybe we should look in Bahrain instead!

Lawmakers in Bahrain have no plans to close a loophole that allows girls below the age of 15 to be married in the Gulf island state, despite legislation intended to ban the practice.

The government prompted a storm of controversy last year when it pushed through a law which set the minimum marriage age for girls at 15. Lawmakers from the largest opposition bloc in the Bahraini Parliament had opposed the legislation, saying it went against Islamic principles.

On the upside, Nicolas Kristof is reporting some very good news about child brides in Pakistan!

It used to be that families felt that if their daughters weren’t married off by 13 or 14, the girl was at risk of an affair or a rape that would shame the entire family (and prevent other children from being married properly). In Pakistan, where I’ve done the most reporting on this, that was how parents justified early marriages to me. But these days, increasingly there is also beginning to be a hint of stigma about very early marriages, and also some appreciation that keeping girls in school gives them more status and more earning power. An educated girl invariably earns more in a bride price, for example.

A hint of stigma about child brides!

What next?

A faint taint? An inkling of opprobrium? A whiff of infamy?

Mr. Kristof also includes a helpful suggestion for “more enlightened” Islamic lawmakers!

One way to reduce child marriages is to punish rape and sexual abuse, because (at least among the parents of child brides whom I have interviewed) the fear of such abuse is a major reason why parents marry off their daughters very early, before they can be raped.

Criminalize rape! Raise the bride-price! The Enlightenment may finally arrive in Pakistan!

…in four or five hundred years!

I guess we can still look around for some relatively enlightened Islamic allies among our friends in Saudi Arabia, but…

In April 2009 a Saudi judge refused to annul a marriage between a girl, 8, and a man in his late forties, saying that she could not seek divorce until she reached puberty.

The girl is 8 years old!

She can’t get a divorce until she reaches puberty!


You can’t say those Saudi pervs don’t have a sense of humor!

And back in Afghanistan, after years and years and years of enlightening American occupation…

A man named Mohammed Fazal, 45, told (Stephanie) Sinclair that village elders had urged him to take his second wife, 13-year-old Majabin, in lieu of money owed him by the girl’s father. The two men had been gambling at cards while also ingesting opium and hashish.

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Majabin (far left) was 13 years old in 2006, when her opium-huffing husband won her in a card-game.

So was it really worth tens of thousands of lives to replace the Taliban (temporarily) with a different gang of drug-lords and baby-humpin’ horn-dogs?

You decide.





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  1. On the day she witnessed the engagement party of 11-year-old Ghulam Haider to 40-year-old Faiz Mohammed, (Stephanie Sinclair) discreetly took the girl aside. “What are you feeling today?” the photographer asked.

    “Nothing,” the bewildered girl answered. “I do not know this man. What am I supposed to feel?”

  2. We could probably impose an occupation almost completely analogical to our adventures in Afghanistan by invading the Vatican and installing the Sicilian Mafia in place of the Pope and his paedophile playmates, but after all the other terms of our analogy were cancelled out, the same remainder would probably remain.

    Tens of thousands of lives destroyed in a senseless substitution.

  3. All the photos in this diary were made by Stephanie Sinclair for the New York Times.

    • dkmich on April 14, 2010 at 12:40 am

    Man’s inhumanity to man.  Great essay.    

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