A former sharia judge is moving to change a sharia law that allows underage girls to marry in Malaysia reports The Star.
Datuk Ismail Yahya said that although the legal age for marriage is 16 under sharia law, girls under 16 can also be married if they get consent from the State’s head of government.
Yahya wants the age of consent be raised to 18 in order to avoid future complications and health problems that may arise from girls marrying too young.
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The amendments are championed by Executive Director of Sisters in Islam, who organized the forum, Rozana Isa. The director fears that Islam is being manipulated by men who use sharia law to escape rape charges by marrying their victims who are, often, underage girls.
According to the Star, amendments to Section 10 of the Malaysian Civil Laws Act were suggested at the forum which consisted of UNICEF representative to Malaysia Marianne Clark-Hattingh and sharia law committee chairman Datuk Kuthubul Zaman Bukhari.
Recent reports show that sharia has led to the legislation of child marriages in 6 countries. In Saudi Arabia, wives can be not only pre-pubescent, but even babies, because Saudi Arabia has no minimum marriage age at all.
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