18 October, 2017

The Fate Of Another Muslim Child Marriage

By Shreen Abdul Saroor

In one of the worst cases of domestic violence in recent times, F.S a young 18 year old Muslim girl is currently battling life threatening injuries after being tied to a chair, poured oil and set on fire by her abusive husband last Friday. She was four months pregnant and lost her baby. She is also the young mother of a 7-month old baby.

F.S is also a victim of forced child marriage, which is legal for Sri Lankan Muslims. She was 16 years old when was taken to the Nallanthaluwa Kodi Palli Mosque in Munthal, Puttalam and forced to marry Mohamed Imran who was 22 years old. Marrying against her will, F.S did not know that Imran was already married twice before and she was his third wife. She never received a marriage certificate as the nikah was not registered by the men officiating the marriage ceremony.

F.S faced serious physical abuse and psychological trauma after the marriage and had reached out to a colleague a month ago asking for information in obtaining a divorce via the Quazi courts, but never came back again. Later it was learnt that she also went to the police who mediated and reconciled F.S and her husband and sent her back to him, despite grave danger of further abuse.

After the attempted murder of his wife, Mohamed Imran took away their 7 month-old baby threatening her that if she reported the incident as being his fault that he would harm the baby as well. F.S. in her moments of waking consciousness was concerned only about her baby. Fortunately the baby is now safe with other family members but Mohamed Imran is on the run from the police.

It is unbearable to see the young lives of Sri Lankan Muslim women being destroyed because of the lack of legal protection of their rights. F.S was both a victim of her husband but also a victim of the Muslim Marriage and Divorce Act (MMDA) and the Constitution, which does not (yet) protect her rights. What did this child do to deserve this fate? Was it her fault that she was born Muslim in Sri Lanka?

For Muslims, marriage by male guardians without consent of bride, child marriage, forced polygamy, non-registration of marriages is legal and thus both her husband, the legal system and State is responsible for what happened to F.S. Imran Mohamed was like many other husbands – an abusive man who believed he had a privilege and power over his wife. However the gaps in the legal system and the discriminatory loopholes in the MMDA helped him become the perpetrator that he became. Laws are meant to protect rights, not promote abuse.

F.S’s case is also reflective of the deep flaws we have with addressing domestic violence in Sri Lanka. What use are the police if they are sending women back to their abusers and murderers? How many more Sri Lankan women are living with grave dangers within their homes unable to seek support and redress because the system is so hell bent to save marriage instead of save lives? As with MMDA reforms, a review and reform of how the overall justice system is dealing with gender-based violence in Sri Lanka is long overdue.

F.S. is not just another statistic. She is not just another special or ‘rare’ case. She is present day lived reality of women in Sri Lanka. She is a young Muslim woman who was not given a chance by her family, Muslim community and country to thrive and prosper with full protection of her rights, so she could reach her fullest potential. Doctors are unsure of whether or not F.S will recover as her injuries are grave and debilitating. We can only hope for the best for her. Justice however must be served. The IGP must take urgent action to send a special team to get F.S’s affidavit, arrest Mohamed Imran immediately and guarantee the safety of the baby.

Citizens and government of Sri Lanka must do everything in our means to ensure that the future of Sri Lankan Muslim women is not lost as well. The Muslim community has a collective responsibility to stop these discriminations against Muslim women and ensure that F.S is the last victim of child and forced marriage in the community.

Update:

Tortured Sri Lankan Muslim Child Marriage Victim Dies, Police Soft-Pedals Capture Of Murderous Husband

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Latest comments

  • 6
    0

    Laws are meant to protect rights, not promote abuse, Individual also must follow the law, the events above is due to the bad quality of the Husband, even if there loopholes in the MMDA, Even the country law is there to punish. And an advanced notification Binding contract considered an integral part of an Islamic marriage, and outlines the rights and responsibilities of the groom and bride or other parties involved in marriage proceedings, is read before the wedding and made to familiarize the rignts.

  • 15
    1

    Does a 16-year-old Sri Lankan girl of any faith REALLY have the power to overrule her elders, by refusing to marry the man they want her to marry?

    Seriously people! In Sri Lanka where children are abused within the home and at school with verbal and physical abuse no child has the ability to give consent.

    So arguing that a 16 year-old girl can simply say she does not want to get married and be left alone is a fantasy that PRIVILEDGED people can use to distance themselves from the blame that is rightly aimed at the way Islam is practiced by some muslims in Sri Lanka.

    The Prophet himself practiced child marriage, and many muslim clerics continue to use that marriage as justification of such practice in the 21st century! Muslims would need to take a serious look at themselves and their Prophet’s life, if they are to progress in this area and come to a place where girls and women are not treated as property of men.

    • 3
      12

      Dear a Sinhalese Buddhist..
      Half baked knowledge of anything is dangerous…you should know historical facts and contexts of prophet marriage and all about it …
      A lot of fake report about it too written by enemies of Islam…so you may have picked some of those bias report..
      Quran is clear that child marriage is not allowed at all.
      QURAN TELL US TO SEE IF ORPHAN GIRLS ARE MATURED ENOUGH TO ENTRUST AND RETURN THEM.THEIR WEALTH AND MONEY ..
      WHAT ABOUT MARRIAGE? IF YOU CAN NOT RETURN THE MONEY OF ORPHAN GIRLS TO THEM.BECAUSE OF THEY ARE NOT MATURED ENOUGH TO DEAL WITH IT OR MANAGE WEALTH ON THEIR OWN DO NOT RETURN TO THEM..
      WHY ABOUT GIRLS TO. GIVE THEIR LIFE TO SOMEONE?.DO NOT THEY NEED ANY MATURITY.?

      • 2
        0

        “Quran is clear that child marriage is not allowed at all”. My foot ! Then why did your prophet marry a girl of 6 and did all sort of vulgar things with her short of penetration till 9 years in spite of having 4 married women? Ayatollah Khomeni of Iran said there is no age restriction for a girl to be given in marriage and he took one, and as recently as a couple of years back the grand mufti AlBaas of Mecca also said a girl can be married off even as a baby! These are the sayings of your holy imams who are all demonic and following the Satan inspired ideology of Islam. These are not make up stories, read your so called holy book and the sunna to make an independent assessment of all of these. Don’t make hollow arguments go by the book!

    • 1
      0

      Regarding the accusation that the Prophet married a minor:
      There is much information on the internet about this.

      However there are 2 very prominent versions of the traditions and laws, from Sunni and Shia sources.

      I do not wish to open the Pandora’s box between these 2 warring groups, but I found it noteworthy that the Shia versions are far more respectful towards Mohamed and his family.

      Furthermore Shia don’t state stuff which enable the Islam-haters to attack Mohamed, notably the age of his wife at marriage.

      Although the Sunnis stick dogmatically to the version his wife was a minor at marriage, the Shia have quoted many Sunni historians to prove the opposite, e.g.

      Muslim authors who calculate Aisha’s age based on the more detailed information available about her sister Asma, estimate that she was between seventeen and nineteen at the time of her marriage.

      Muhammad Niknam Arabshahi, an Iranian Islamic scholar and historian, has considered six different approaches to determining Aisha’a age and concluded that she was engaged in her late teens.

      Another example:
      Barlas, Asma (2012). “Believing Women” in Islam: Unreading Patriarchal Interpretations of the Qur’an. University of Texas Press. p. 126.
      On the other hand, however, Muslims who calculate ‘Ayesha’s age based on details of her sister Asma’s age, about whom more is known, as well as on details of the Hijra (the Prophet’s migration from Mecca to Madina), maintain that she was over thirteen and perhaps between seventeen and nineteen when she got married.

      Such views cohere with those Ahadith that claim that at her marriage Ayesha had “good knowledge of Ancient Arabic poetry and genealogy” and “pronounced the fundamental rules of Arabic Islamic ethics.

  • 5
    1

    Everyone has a right to safety, the laws of matrimony or any other laws should be the same for all people irrespective of race, religion, caste etc.

    People should be educated to report incidents of violence.
    If this story is true I just hope that the girl’s misery will not continue.

  • 0
    7

    Who Said child marriage is permitted in islam. Child is not child after his or her adolescense. Who said Islam doesn’t give space for the consent of woman. Marriage in islam is not valid when two of them do not give their consent. This article looks decieving. The bandaged girl is just a doll from what I see. Even if only half the story is true much more can be made up to attract audience or for racist reason.

  • 0
    0

    u have mentioned that force marriage, etc etc is legal .did ur father teach u the religion.dont talk nonsense.Its totally tomarry her against her will and forced marriage is totally wrong!

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