The child bride of Onaiza

This story has drawn a lot of press. The girl is from Onaiza which is a part of Qaseem, a central region north of Riyadh. It’s the same place that produced Sheikh Bin Othaimeen and it’s most known for how fanatic and social the people there are about religion. And how the women of families there dress and live is the expression of the whole family’s piousness and honour. Just to give you a flavor of how people think of women over there, I’ll tell you a couple of incidents that I’ve come across when visiting. A relative of mine has a daughter who when she was around ten became quite good with rollerblading and would skate in their tiled big yard all day. Once my relative while watching her daughter skating, it occurred to her that the daughter might fall and seriously injure herself. So out of concern for her daughter’s wellbeing, she deprived the girl of her favourite activity. That sounds bad but what was truly crazy was the injury the mother was worried about was not broken bones but rather that the girl might have a freakish accident and lose her hymen.

Another incident was one time when I was visiting for a holiday, an occasion came up for which I had nothing to wear. So I thought I might pick up something from the local stores. My sister in law came with me and we dressed appropriately with the tent style abayas and covered faces. Unfortunately when we got to the mall, a muttawa found fault in that I had neglected to wear thick black socks over my ankles and would not let us shop. He followed us from shop to shop yelling how we should fear God until we went home empty-handed.

So to say that that part of Saudi Arabia is not the norm is a very happy conclusion. To get back to the girl, her case is not uncommon when parents divorce and the father takes custody. Many financially strapped fathers in this case neglect their daughters’ schooling or even pull them out of school and marry then off as soon as they can. But usually that’s around when the girls are 15. All just to spite the ex-wife. But what makes this girl stand out is her brave mother who would not take it. I am not sad that this happened to this particular girl because I know with all the publicity and support behind the mother it is highly unlikely that the 50ish groom will ever get to lay a hand on the girl. All across the Saudi media, there has been an outcry condemning him. I’ve read many calls by average Saudis for his name and photo to be published so they can shame him. Others suggest that the man’s own daughters should be forcefully married off at eight and see how he likes it.

The judge presiding over the case is not all that popular either. In court he stated that it is in the interest of the girl’s welfare that he would not annul the marriage and everyone is wondering what that means. In what way would it be in the interest of the child to stay married to her father’s friend? Just like in the Qatif girl’s case when the judge said that there are particulars concerning the rape victim that only the court knew about, the judge in the child bride case is hiding behind vague statements. Average Saudis have started to question this ambiguity in courts and demand more transparency.

This whole case will through example affect many mothers who will be able to gain strength in speaking out against this happening to their daughters.


For those of you who have not bothered to read the news article linked at the beginning of this post, the girl is NOT with her 50 year old husband and the judge has ordered that she remain with her family until puberty. Then she will be granted the right to choose between remaining married and moving in with her husband or asking for a divorce. The mother and uncle are currently appealing this verdict because they want an immediate anullment.


Filed under Child marriages

33 responses to “The child bride of Onaiza

  1. Pingback: The Onaiza Girl, Again « Saudi Jeans

  2. Tammy

    This is unbelievable! I cannot believe that the government has not stepped in and removed this child. How sick can a father be to marry off an 8 yr old? That’s pedophilia, and it’s a CRIME against the most innocent of all! To suggest that the girl will be safe because of all the press and shame placed upon the husband is ridiculous. I’m sure he’s already had his way with her. Every second she’s with him is far too long and dangerous. Both he and the father should be locked up for life or stoned to death… they are clearly mentally ill and both are criminals. That child needs to be with her mother where she’s safe. This is 2009, not the stone ages! Shame on the government and the king for not upholding the laws of their own country.

  3. Anonymous

    This verdict and many others like it are giving Saudi Arabia a bad name and a black eye; it’s becoming very hard to defend these actions. Many have labeled Islam as a violent religion, one that oppresses women, and deprive them of their rights, these kind of action simply reinforces that image.

    What qualification do these judges have, other than few classes in sharia, do they actually have law degrees, sometimes they seem to be acting on their own whims, and not basing their decisions on the letter of the law.

    It seem that this particular area of Saudi Arabia is, and have always been living in the dark ages, morality can’t be policed, it comes from within. The religious establishment of the country has to be reined in for the common good of everyone.

  4. I don’t think the hymen issue is just an aspect of that region it is all over the Kingdom. In the EP I’ve run into the same thinking.. and what government schools allow for physical activities of girls?? That hymen gets in the way ya know.

    Until saudi moves past the idea that children are the property of their fathers such marriages won’t stop.

    And it is a joke to say that the girl can ‘choose’ she can’t, never will be able to give her free choice on this issue. She will have a pressure from within her home, the place she is suppose to find safety and security, in which she will never retain an ability to freely choose.

    If she comes to have her menses tomorrow suddenly she is ‘adult’ enough to marry and make that choice but by law she is forever of minor status odd isn’t it?

  5. teachthemasses

    Hope you don’t mind- I have used your post on my blog but cited you.

  6. Pingback: C L O S E R » Blog Archive » Closing the week 16

  7. I thank my lucky stars that, as a female, I was not born in that region of KSA. How the judge can think, and have the nerve to say, that his decision is in the best interest of the child is ridiculous. The problem with KSA is that a bunch of dirty old men in the Good Ole Boys Club are in charge!

  8. suliman

    interesting news for you

    I hope you update your post with the new available information.
    The king of Saudi Arabia initiated two committees, one of them is to study this case and to come out with a solution, and the other one is to come out with a new rules such as: placing restrictions on young marriges. Not autherizing any new marriage for young females untill they have an approval from the minister of Justice in Saudi.
    Thanks for reading and posting.

  9. suliman

    Susie you should also thank your lucky stars because you weren’t born in U.S, Texas !!
    The Saudi Judge gave the lady good options:
    not going with the man untill she become mature and decide if she still want him or not !

    Think of that and compare it what had happened last yea in TX!!!
    Do you know what was going on there ?

    I am against all of that but since you pissed me off when you said
    ”I thank my lucky stars that, as a female, I was not born in that region of KSA”

    It is the same USA, KSA, Moon, and Earth. The problem is with the people minds and not all of them are like that. Generalization doesn’t exists. Someone in here is from that region !! does that mean he or she is like what you mentioned ? I am sure you gonna say NO.


    • Amy

      Suliman I must say that from what I have heard about your country and the few ‘rights’ women there have I too am glad I was not born there, and glad I have never stepped foot in your country.

      Women have NO rights there and men are running the show in the most disgusting manner possible. I imagine much like revisiting the stone ages.

      Perhaps if you spent some time in a culture different from your own you too would appreciate the fact that women are indeed human and equal to men.

    • lol…..atleast state troopers and police stopped them not like in the case of KSA Where everyone clapped and shared the video of how the child was abused over a sheesha in a dwaniya !!!
      Most of all here, the girls are at least 14-16 much much near puberty rather than8 !! Its half, ohh great wise man of Saudi !!!!!

  10. Jerry M


    You site an example from TX and it is a good example of what happens when you don’t enforce existing laws in the US (the laws against polygamy). The Saudi example is very different, it is that existing law doesn’t protect the girls and women.

    • suliman

      Thanks Jerry M for reading comment.
      We do have a lot of laws that protect women and children in Saudi. The Saudi supreme court didn’t allow that old male to take the child to his house. There was a requirement which is waiting untill a she reach 14 yrs old and then ask her ! for sure she won’t agree .
      Now the whole thing was denied and the old man let it go by force.

      Can you give me an example for this:
      ” it is that existing law doesn’t protect the girls and women”.

      • Amy

        But the fact that her FATHER had the right to sell her to the old man is disgusting! Can you not see that?

        Girls and women are NOT the property of their fathers, brothers or husbands. They are EQUAL to them and should be treated as such. Any less is incredibly absurd.

      • Amazonbaby

        Another thing you are forgetting is that he married the young girl to his friend in the first place to make his exwife angry and get back at her. So, he wasn’t marrying his daughter in a happy occasion – it was in revenge against his exwife. He didn’t even think of the happiness of is daughter and her feelings. He just came to her and said,”hey, daughter, you are getting married whether you want to or not because I own you and I can decide if you eat, go to school, live or die, and I’m marrying you to bother your mother because I may not own her anymore but I can still control her emotional feelings and life by controlling and selling you to my friend”. Your feelings and happiness mean nothing to me but by marrying you and ensuring that your precious and valuable hyman gets broken in Hallal situation so I, as the male of this family, can get all the honor and celebration because I have such great control over you in the eyes of the world. And, there’s nothing you can do because legislatively, all the power is on my side.

        The only way a women could win is if the males in her family have a soul and actually feel that she deserves happiness and some freedoms in her life. And, they aren’t the type that feel they have the right to decide when and what those freedoms and happinesses should be.

        Sounds a little harsh but it is the reality. Some people just don’t like to see it laid out in black and white because they prefer the color of rose colored glasses.

        So, explain these ideas and culture to me???

  11. Uno

    That is very sick. That man has no right to force her like that. She is an 8 year old, I really don’t think she has a clue about making descisions.

  12. Pingback: Another child bride « Saudiwoman’s Weblog

  13. Pingback: Yet another child bride « Saudiwoman’s Weblog

  14. Waleed

    Salaamu Alaykum,

    Saudiwoman, you seems to just exaggerating these issues more vividly, without thinking that it might affect your social and cultural significance.

    Sorry to say, but Saudi working women (such like journalists or vice versa) are typical immature (esp. one in front of media) and naive in their senses when penetrating over simple social issues without even thinking that it may cause harm to our cultural aspects which is anyhow related with religion.

    Think again girl !

    You can start blogging an Islamic website instead with your innocent mind views that will surely benefit you in hereafter.
    Insha ALLAH.

    • Amazonbaby


      WTF are you talking about? You make no sense unless I read between the lines a BIG THREAT towards the owner of this blog????

      You are a typical person who doesn’t understand “freedom of speech”. That means that people can write about subjects that you might not agree with or even like. But that doesn’t mean that you have the right to tell that person how to or what to write in their own blog.

      Grow up! Be mature. Being mature means that you can read or see something that you don’t agree with but it doesn’t mean that you have the right to tell the other person to not write or do something that you don’t agree with.

      And, what’s up with always trying to shame with the religious stuff? Corny……

      Repeat after me………..FREEDOM OF SPEECH….FREEDOMEOF SPEECH…..FREEDOM OF SPEECH………….you are feeling very sleepy………..very sleepy………..freedom of speech……freedom of speech………..

      • Amazonbaby


        As usual, people like you, say a bunch of words but say nothing. Other than do as I say. You make some dumb claims with nothing backing it up except your insecurity.

        Explain what you are saying in a lot more detail and examples.

        I think you are just afraid of change and losing your legislated un-natural power basis over women in your society. If you had to deal with the intelligent women in your cultural in a world where they had the exact same legal rights as you I think that you would not suggest the simple, unfair biased ideas you spout.

        You write an Islamic blog if you want to read one so bad. Don’t tell someone else who already went through all the work of setting up a very successful blog on her own and with her own ideas to change it whatever your idea du jour is. I’m sure tomorrow you will want something else.

        Wake up………… don’t control the world.

    • Abbeya

      Maybe you are just another pedophile Waleed, who is trying to protect the Saudi Culture that allows you to be one. You are afraid of Real Laws and positive change that may come due to this articles, that may put an end to your Happy, Harem, buying and selling women days. You have no respect of women and I hope Allah will never give you daughters and if you already have one or more may Allah protect them from men like you.

  15. ”Think again girl”
    Well that puts you in your place Saudi woman!
    It is of course because I have such an innocent mind myself that I never realised you were only an immature innocent naive girl who should blog on Islam instead of sullying your innocent mind with commenting about the place you live in.
    So immature of me to look up to you as a really cool strong intelligent woman… Luckily this enlightened MAN who, as he has a penis, naturally knows better, has opened my eyes….

    Anyway, I read more about the ”baby married to pedophile geriatric” case, and it seems she has recanted her request for resque, coming up with a wish to obey her fathers wishes, bla bla…
    I can only imagine the evil they have threatened her with to make her do so.
    Maybe they said they would kill her mother…

    I also read the marriage was, in fact, ”consummated”. Or in other words that the girl was raped by the old pedophile.
    The only good thing about this case is that the old geezer will hopefully snuff it very soon. He is old enough to be at death’s door.

  16. Excuse my bad English remember to, I’ll attempt to say from my experience wordpress its a lot more better and easy than website engine .net, but this website is fantastic i like.!!!.

  17. Wow!!! Other than the malls you really do hate everything about your country and religion even when they get it right!!!
    Your real father (iblis) must be sooooooo proud of your CNN. You are following his footsteps perfectly. God even mentioned your types in the last part of soorah An Naas. You must be sooo proud of urself…!?
    Now if you were living here u’d probably get an award or something and be a celebrity! I feel bad that u have to suffer over there… Please come on over. Here they have everything you want.
    PS there’s a rumour that your daddy (iblis) best friend Mr. D A Jjaal. Is setting up his enterprises here. You’d have nothing to worry about?! They’ll look out for you.
    I can live there an patiently tolerate my daughters marriage to a wise old mutawwa from Onieza or Buraidah as Abu Bakr tolerated his 6 yr olds marriage to one from Makkah. We can deal with such ‘calamities’ and ‘suffer’ such disasters
    your people ie iblis… mr D etc can’t..I get it…believe me I do… Which is why. Out of a sense of personal sacrifice I voluntarily offer you my house for yours, my car for yours, a job and some money and am even ready to move to your so insufferable city!!! What more can I do for you…? Please let me know.

    • Abbeya

      Hello Armann
      You so obviously do not know much about Islam and you obviously are a pedophile yourself judging from your comments. Also dear brother do not forget, the evil act of pedophilia is hated by Allah and it is the most favourite act of Shaytaan and his followers, same like incest and rape of little boys etc. So it is you who are with iblis and dajaal. You are welcome to move to KSA and practice these acts (like the pre Islamic Jahiliya) and buy and sell your daughters (or even Bury them Alive!) until proper Laws are created according to ISLAM that will stop these practices. This is why Allah (SWT) sent our Prophets to these areas because to stop these despicable acts that were going on. It has been predicted that before the end of time comes, men will return to the Jahili ways and the Prophet (Nabi) Isaa will not be able to find 1 man in KSA and Middle East region to be in his army to Fight the dajaal. He will have to search far and wide to the far corners of the earth to make an Army of TRUE MUSLIM MEN!
      Our Prophet Muhammad (SAW) also once said to his Sahaba that ” towards the end of time, I am not afraid that those from my Ummah will be few, they will be many, but they will be the Scum of the Earth”.

  18. nk

    shame shame shame to these corrupted people of KSA!and you(people of KSA) are suppose to show(set as an example) how Muslim should live their life according to Islam….ya right! I have seen enough…ugly tribal culture of KSA must be gone! START changing yourself and follow the real ISLAM not YOUR DESIRES(cultural crap)

  19. zulqarnain

    I am Muslim

  20. Reblogged this on Jean Sasson and commented:
    Glad this worked out for this innocent child — too often it does not!

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