Yemeni Bride (12) Dies in Childbirth

We have covered honor killings.

We have covered trafficking.

But the following account from Yemen transcends new levels of tragedy:

Fawziya Abdullah Youssef died in a hospital of the Hodeida province of Yemen after struggling to give birth for three days. Her child was stillborn.

Youssef was 11 years old when her father married her to a 24-year-old man, according to Seyaj, the Yemeni children’s rights organization that first reported her death. [Source]

According to Seyaj volunteers, such incidents “occur frequently” and result in the death of numerous young girls in the region.

As the most economically challenged country in the Arabian Peninsula, child marriage is particularly rife – 50% of brides are below the age of 18 – due in part to the necessity to secure a dowry.

The root of the problem is akin to that of honor killings in Jordan, though: loose laws and fortified traditions.

While moves have been made to pass a bill raising the minimum age of marriage to 17 for girls, the legislation has met with staunch resistance.

Sound familiar?

Inevitably, the Yemeni government has yelped about the bill’s importance, always concluding with “however”.

That word that seals the fate of girls and women the world over.

According to conservative leaders, to pass the bill would be to contravene Islamic law, which does not specify a legal age for marriage.

Eleven. Years. Old.

There are no words to encapsulate the barbarity and cruelty that such men embody.

These actions are not Islamic; they are crimes against children andΒ I refuse to believe that the Islamic faith would condone such an action.

Indeed, it raises that age-old gripe: if fatwas can be passed on breastfeeding and Mickey Mouse, then why not crimes against women and girls?

Priorities, people – get them straight. Now.

4 comments on “Yemeni Bride (12) Dies in Childbirth

  1. kinziblogs
    September 18, 2009

    Maybe you should become a sheikha and do some of that fatwa issuing. πŸ˜‰

    “Priorities, people – get them straight. Now.”

    I saw this story all over blogs that make a habit of posting anything negative about Muslims. The stories themselves are bad enough, and too numerous, and they are framing understanding of faith. The fact that is no huge outcry like yours emanating from major voices just underlines the problem.

    When an honor/shame-propelled culture, that believes in hiding to cover the acts, collides with a guilt/innocence culture that believes in exposing the remove the acts, it is no surprise we are on the course we are.

    • Layla
      September 18, 2009

      Hehe! “Sheikha Layla” does have a certain ring to it…

      Otherwise, when dealing with subjects such as these I find myself treading carefully because Islam is a wonderful, amazing and beautiful religion.

      Such stories are, as you note, usually hijacked to remonstrate against it, which is terrible – the problem lies not with the text, but with the interpreters.

  2. kinziblogs
    September 19, 2009

    And you are a wonderful, amazing, beautiful Muslim. Tread carefully, but do tread, as others who pound away are not as careful nor represent the beauty. I want the world to see women like you, men like other bloggers, that it is your example that frames and leads the reputation of your faith.

  3. syeda
    May 9, 2010

    this is wrong all wrong

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This entry was posted on September 18, 2009 by in Islam, Middle East, Religion, Womyn and tagged , , , , , , .
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