Is a 12 year old girl too young to marry? That’s what many in Mayalsia are claiming after the girl’s father and an Islamic court approved the child’s marriage to her 19-year-old boyfriend, reports the Star Daily.
“It is better for them to get married rather than doing something improper,” Saad Mustafa, the girl’s father, was quoted as saying.
The recent wedding ceremony performed joining Nur Fazira Saad and Fahmi Alias as husband and wife have many in the country angry that Maylasia continues to allow child marriages in the 21st century.
Many criticized the girl’s father for allowing the marriage to proceed and charged that he was simply marrying her off for his own benefit rather than hers.
Ratna Osman, executive director of activist group Sisters in Islam, calls the marriage shocking.
“I don’t understand why this is allowed in a country like Malaysia… We are talking about a developed country,” she told AFP. “The concern is that this is a child being married off… No parents should be doing this
But the girl’s father, Saad Mustafa, answered his critics that he thought it was much more proper for the two to wed than to have them simply live together or be in a sexual relationship without the benefit of marriage.
According to AsiaOne, girls below 16 and boys under 18 have to get permission from the court before they can marry, a local religious leader was quoted as saying.
Mr Mustafa said he asked Mr Mohd Fahmi to marry his daughter after learning from a neighbour that she had stayed over at his place one night.
However, Nur Fazira maintained that she had spent the day with Mr Mohd Fahmi before he sent her to a relative’s house.
Mr Saad said: “I was furious and ordered her to call him. When Mohd Fahmi came to my house, he told me that he will be responsible for my daughter and will take care of her.
“I then replied that if that is so, then they should become husband and wife.”
The case of a 14 year old girl marrying a 23 year old man two years ago brought similiar outrage.