A 10-year-old girl who was married to an 80-year-old man by her father has been returned to her husband after running away.
The incident began with a Saudi Arabian father promising the elderly man (who denies he is 80) another, older daughter, but as she wanted to continue her schooling he instead opted to give the man his 10-year-old daughter.
The pair were wed in the time honoured and entirely legal Islamic tradition, but the bride somehow got loose and ended up with her aunt. Her father discovered her hiding there ten days later, and promptly returned her to her husband.
The girl’s new master is scathing of the family’s meddling:
“My marriage is not against Shariah. It included the elements of acceptance and response by the father of the bride. In light of this, her father offered his younger daughter. I was allowed to have a look at her according to Shariah and found her acceptable.”
Saudi Arabia’s fundamentalist Wahabi brand of Islam is particularly interested in defending the rights of men to wed small children, and such marriages are quite legal.
Child marriages are routine in a number of Islamic countries, where women are commonly accorded the status of slaves. Mohammed himself is notorious for having allegedly fully consummated his marriage with a girl of nine.