Forced underage marriage continues in Hamastan
Hamas in Gaza is allowing the practice of marrying off children to older men
In 2012, of about 17,000 marriages were registered in the courts of the
Gaza Strip, 35% were cases in which the brides were under 17 years old.
These marriages are concluded without the courts knowing the girls’
real ages. Meanwhile, about 2,700 divorce cases were registered in the
same year, and in 25% of these the wives were underage, Bakr Azzam, a
lawyer specializing in Sharia issues, told Al-Monitor.
Mariam explained that due to her young age she wasn’t capable of meeting the demands of married life.
“I was taken away from my small toys, taken out of my school forcibly
and delivered to my husband whom I had only seen once, in front of the
judge who officiated my marriage contract,” she added.
Mariam recently ran away from her husband’s house and returned to her
father's, after concluding that she could not bear to stay with her
husband. He dates other women under the excuse that his wife is young
and thinks like a child, not living up to the intellect of a man of his
age. Mariam’s husband also beats her whenever they have an argument.
“When I told my father about this, he told me, ‘This is normal and most young people are facing such a situation these days,’ but I did not accept it,” she said.
Mariam, who now wants a divorce, is not the only underage girl who was
forced to marry despite her physical and mental unreadiness for marital
Sarah had a similar experience, but for different reasons.
As she spoke to Al-Monitor, Sarah looked at a photo of herself
when she was still single. She had a bright face and childlike
features. Today, however, she has become a girl with a scrawny body, a
slim face and caved-in eyes that look very tired.
“I got married when I was 16 years old. My father and my brothers
forced me to marry a 17-year-old boy so that they would not have to pay
my living expenses and could get rid of my father’s accumulated debt,”
she said, her face somber.
She pointed out that marital problems began only one week into the
marriage due to the demands, made by both her husband and his family,
that a girl of her age could not meet. “My family did not take into
account the fact that I was still a child,” she said.
Labels: Gaza Palestinians, Hamas, Islam, Islamic child brides