Yet another child bride

A twelve year old girl was sold to an 80 year old man by her father under the pretext of marriage. Her price, about $22,600 was paid. And it

turns out that the groom did not seek out the girl but actually her own father offered and insisted that the old geezer take her. The father said to an AlRiyadh Newspaper reporter that he had made his decision based on the development of the girl’s body and not her age. Her mother objected strongly but was unable to stop the marriage. The 80 year old newlywed claims that he tried to take the high road and invite his mother-in-law to the wedding but she would only scream obscenities at him. And the audacity of the mathoon (muttawa who married them off) to say that he thought the girl was 13 and a half years old, as if that would make a difference. The arrangement is that the girl stays at her father’s house on weekdays to attend school and on weekends her “husband” takes her to his place in the desert. When the reporter tried to interview the girl over the phone, the only responses he could get to his questions was sobbing and “I don’t know”. Finally the little girl screamed over the phone “I don’t want him, save me.”

Just like the other two cases I’ve written about before, here and here, the girl’s parents are divorced. And again like the other two cases, the mother is the one who pulled all the stops to get media attention on the daughter’s plight. I’m sure there are many cases similar to these three all across Saudi Arabia. What makes these three different are the educated and determined mothers who are doing everything in their power to save their daughters.

Why the government won’t just set an age for marriage is beyond me. The Prophet (PBUH) marrying 9 year old Ayisha argument has been hashed and rehashed so many times. No one really knows how old she was when she married; moreover she stayed betrothed for several years before actually moving in with the prophet (PBUH). Many claim that the emphasis on her young age was to highlight that she was the only virgin bride of the prophet (PBUH) rather than a child bride. And times and life spans have changed, back then at forty a person was old and now most people live to over eighty.

Without a law we get people like this 80 year old guy who takes advantage of the system to fulfill his sick obsession with little girls. Where else in the world can a man openly say that he is in a polygamous marriage with four underage girls and not get arrested? At this rate we might as well start a tourism industry to attract rich Muslim pedophiles.

One comment I read on the cartoon above really stood out for me; a guy wrote to the cartoonist “just be thankful you’re a guy”.


Filed under Child marriages

70 responses to “Yet another child bride

  1. Unfortunate crime indeed!

    I agree with you that there should be an immediate intervention with clear regulations; keeping the silence about it is apparently not solving the problem.

    Anyway, it is another Saudi dilemma where religious rules and social norms come to clash!!


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  3. Ahmer

    Whoosh !! It happens in some other countries the main reason for this is “Poverty” in those countries and lack of government support.But i can’t understand why KSA having a very good economy can’t support such parents through job or stipends to keep them away from this heneious crime.

  4. I want to express my thanks to the brave and courageous mothers who bring to the attention of the media the plights of their young daughters who are made to marry at very early ages. The international child protection rights organizations should put pressure on the government of Saudi Arabia to sat an age limit on marriage. May the mothers keep up the good work in attempting to protect their precious children.


    Maryam Ruhullah

  5. nisa

    Salam SW 🙂

    اعوذب لله من الشيطان الرجيم

    O you who believe! It is not lawful for you that you should take women as heritage against (their) will… [partial Quran 4:19]

    Narrated Khansa bint Khidam Al-Ansariya
    that her father gave her in marriage when she was a matron and she disliked that marriage. So she went to Allah’s Messenger and he declared that marriage invalid. [Sahih Bukhari 7.62.69]

  6. Oh my heart is broken right now. How can people do this to their own children? This is not Islam.

  7. It was the most ugly crime, I have ever heard of. till the Government set a rule to prevent such a crime, this incident for sure won’t be the last one.

    The cartoon really tells the truth and what actually happens. Thanks Eman.

  8. Gisele

    I think both the father & the old perevert & any/all of his sons should be shot…there are already way too many creeps in the world!

  9. It’s sick. I could write all kinds of stuff, but I can’t get myself to do it; I feel too sick!!!

  10. Since almost all other Muslim majority countries have minimum ages for consent to marriage and to sex (one and the same in Islam) it is mind boggling that Saudi persists in not setting any, even acknowledging its self-described religious status.

    12 is at best the age of assent, eg to medical treatmen, whereas parents give the consent.

    12 is too young to make decisions independent of parental influence especially where all sustenance comes from the parents.

    Eman, you do a great job in outlining which children are the most at risk, and vulnerable to this type of parental ploy.

  11. Assalamualaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,

    This is just repulsive! I can’t imagine the things going on the child’s head. Surely there are other ways for the father to gain money. The mother did the noblest thing by intervening.

  12. salam alaykum, the irony is that Saudi newspapers print articles in which we get info that the government officials are “thinking” of introducing the law; the “law is going to be implemented” – reg. minimum age suitable for marriage. And so on and so on – this lack of action and this amount of stories of young brides – girls – children – forced to marry against their will usually much older man – is accumulating. It is just heartbreaking – to read the next story about 8,9,12 year old girl “sold” by her “father”. Saudi Royals are often involved in dissolving such marriages – why are they taking place in the first step? You – Saudis have to do something about it! It is not the outside world to pressure anyone… I cannot just stop repeating a question – why the simple thing – like a law implementing a minimum age for girls to get married – moves so slow here… It is a concerning a life of Saudi women… Women who are sisters of men, who were created to be “libas” for men, who are to be taken care after, protected by men and treated with dignity and respect. And again women have to fight and protect their daughters… Where did the Islamic teachings go…?

  13. olegna

    Thanks for that post. You write very well and are funny and informative at the same time. And thanks for the photo of the dirty old man :^)

  14. Amna

    So far, all responses seem to be pointing a finger at someone else, it seems that in difficult situations it is always someone else’s problem. The reality is that these kind of occurrences are OUR problem, US -humankind, we continue to allow social deviance to occur under the false pretext of religion, politics and social class. There is no existing religion, government or society that explicitly expects such behaviour of us. When will WE take responsibilty for OUR own actions and make this world a better place?

  15. Good news in sha Allah:
    official who authorised the marriage to be suspended; court in Buraidah looking into annulement of marriage.

  16. Suhail

    شكرا على نشر الغسيل للعالم. هل تشعرين بالمتعة انك تتشمتين على بلدك امام الناس؟ هل تشعرين انك افدتي الوطن؟ كل السعوديين زعلانين و غضبانين على هذا الخبر، بس ما قمنا نكلم اصدقائنا حول العالم نعلمهم
    خبر مخجل و قمتي بعمل مخجل اخر وهو نشره

    • الموضوع ليس تشمت ولا نشر غسيل, هذه المدونة ليست مصدر الخبر فقد نشر في عدة جرائد ولغات قبل نشره هنا. الموضوع هو استنكار لفعلة الأب والرجل المسن وتوضيح أنه كما أن هناك اشخاص سعوديين بهذه الدناءه والوساخة هناك أشخاص سعوديين مثلي ومدونيين أخريين وصحافيين وتربويون وشعب سعودي عام يستنكر ويرفض زواج هذه الطفلة البريئة حتى لا يظن الجاهل أن الأب والرجل المس يمثلون السعوديين

  17. Suhail

    الجاهل سيرى الكاريكاتير في البداية وهو رجل عربي/خليجي (يعتمد على تصور القارئ المسبق) وهو يغري طفلة من اجل الجنس، وسيرى العنوان
    Saudi Woman
    وسيقول بلغته “شهد شاهد من اهلها، عندهم هوس الجنس و وصل الى الأطفال ايضا!” ثم سينشر الكاريكاتيير لوحده بين زملائه

    هذا تصرف الجاهل… الخبر بدون كاريكاتير سيجبرني على القرءة ومعرفة القصة والام ترمين. اما بدايتها بهذه الرسمة فيبدو لأول وهلة هجوم اعلامي من قبل جماعات تكره العرب، حتى و ان اتضح من الموضوع عند قراءته انها انسانه تبدي اعتراضها فقط

    شكرا على تقبلك التعليق و التجاوب معه

    مع التحية

  18. محير بالفعل هذا الموقف
    اذا كشفنا الحقائق فنحن عملاء للغرب ونحنمل رسالات لتشويه بلداننا
    واذا صمتنا فهذا معناه التواطؤ مع جرائم بحق ضمائرنا
    محير بالفعل هذا الموقف العصيب

  19. Suhail

    لم اكتب ما قلته

    اذا حضر من يحرّف الكلام و يدور”أكشن”، ويجعلنا مجموعات “انتم ونحن” فهذه نهاية الحوار الجيد

    مع السلامة

    wish u the best, Saudi woman.

  20. lark

    The great thing about publicizing this story is that it protects the innocent and powerless. It makes it less likely that these sorts of men will continue doing harm. It will make others think twice before going in this direction. Thus you are doing a service.

    There is a saying: you are only as sick as your secrets. When this type of thing is kept private as a ‘Saudi only’ matter, it only serves to perpetuate sickness and abuse.

  21. Amy

    As a Canadian and mother to two 12 year old daughters I find this very offensive and unimaginable. How horrific for this young girl and those like her.

    To allow a child to marry anyone is barbaric and cruel. I hope in my lifetime there is an end to this injustice in the countries in which it takes place. Because it is LONG over due.

  22. Maryam Ruhullah

    I agree with all the comments in the discussion of child brides. I want to comment on Canadian Amy’s horror of this issue and add my agreement to her with the additional comment that all abuses against children in all nations should be disrupted and totally stopped. Unfortunately, other offenses against children prevail. In the State of Texas in the United States a thirteen year old child was found stripping in a night club in Dallas Texas. When a local human rights organization found out about this outrageous fact the child was rescued.

    As concerned citizens of the world, we must keep a vital pulse on the abuses against children.


    Maryam Ruhullah

  23. Sophia HD

    I just read in the Washington Post that the mother has dropped her case in exchange for the child staying in school. Does this mean there is no other appeal for the child and she will stay married to this man? Are there child advocate groups or other prominent individuals that may speak or act on behalf of this child?

    Thank you for highlighting this case.

  24. Emanuele

    A smiliar thing happened in Italy too with two people from Romania but living in Brescia, which a little girl of 12 had to marry man of 21. In this case the man and his mother got arrested.


  25. Aaishah

    Of course as someone that lives in the West there is a natural shock when I see the headline of a 12 yr old marrying an 80 yr old. Should there be an age limit in place that prevents a 12 yr old being married? What if the man was 16? or 25? In the US the age of sexual consent can be as young as 14 yrs old.
    So my question is this…had the story been a 18 yr old who was married(Or in the west having relations with) a man of 80…would any of the commenters feel different OR is the shock value only in place when the man is substantially older?
    Nice blog@Saudiwoman..Definitely will be a return visitor. Bi’ithin Allah.

    • olegonzo

      “In the US the age of sexual consent can be as young as 14 yrs old.”

      Not true. It’s 16 in some states. Also: federal law defines taking a minor (under 18) across state lines for criminal sexual activity as a federal offense. In no state can a major have sex with a 14 year old legally.

      The commenter should feel differently anyway with your hypothetical, because this is not just a case of sexual exploitation of a minor but also the SALE of a human being to another human being (because the father kept the dowry, making it a financial exchange).

      Both men should be punished: the father for selling his daughter and the groom for the rape of a 12 year old girl.

      But I guess that’s just “my Western bias” coming out.

      • Aaishah

        Heres a link with the age of consent in various US states. You will see that there are 2 states that have the age of consent set at 14 years old.

        So my statement of “some” was true.

        As for your statement that no one can have sex with a minor legally then thats where I have to say “untrue”! In many states in the US ..if there is parental consent then a child can be married under the age of 16. In Massachusetts a girl can be married at the age of 12. Yes. 12!

        And the legal ruling that allowed that girl to marry STILL stands. So theoretically if a 12 year old wanted to marry an 80 year old man with her parents consent (In the legal ruling the 12 year old married without her mothers consent)..if that is allowed in the US in 2010 then I don’t believe that anyone has a right to criticize another country that has similar allowances.
        Ok as for this situation–If the girl had consented, her family had consented and the dowry given to the girl(As it should have been) then who would have anything to say?
        If this marriage occurred in the US or KSA…it’s all the same.
        Thats how I see it anyways BUT because it seems like the girl was married off without her consent(for arguments sake because we know she later has said she agreed) AND because the dowry was claimed by the father…THEN yes we should feel uneasy because of the age differentiation.(Others may say he doesn’t have much life left in him at 80 in any event).
        And thats what i hope is my ability to see it “from all angles” coming out!

      • vmac

        In no state in the U.S. can an adult have sex with a minor. The age a minor can marry varies from state to state. States (such as Massachusetts) have exemptions for minors (male & female) in the case of pregnancy or the birth of a child (with the consent of the parents a/o a judge) to allow marriage with another minor. All states have “statutory rape” laws that apply when there is an difference of more than a few years. An adult who has sex with a minor would be charged with statutory rape ~ not allowed to marry the minor. Even a minor with more than a few years age difference (12 yr old with 17 yr old) would be charged.

    • vmac

      In the U.S. you are legally an adult when you are 18 and have the freedom to marry whomever you please, of course. Friends, relatives and society may not approve but it is your choice.

  26. I guess you really don’t need ‘Be my Valentine’ when you can just purchase your 12 year old bride.

  27. In the US the age of sexual consent can be as young as 14 yrs old.

    The key word there is consent — meaning the girl also has to give her consent. There was no consent in this case.

    …would any of the commenters feel different OR is the shock value only in place when the man is substantially older?

    If the female was a consenting adult, I wouldn’t care what the age difference was.

    The real horror here is not just the young age of the girl, but the fact that she is treated like property to be sold by her so-called loving father.

    • olegna

      “‘In the US the age of sexual consent can be as young as 14 yrs old.’ . . The key word there is consent — meaning the girl also has to give her consent. There was no consent in this case.”

      Not true. In the US, even if a 14 year old gives consent it’s considered STATUTORY rape. The logic is that a person can be too young to give consent to sex.

      Interestingly enough there have been cases in the US were boys under the age of 18 have been charged with statutory rape for sex with girls under the age of 16, but those are odd, rare cases that I think are usually dismissed. (I seem to recall this wasn’t the case in an issue in Florida some years ago.)

      16, 18 are the two ages used in US states. And federal law hit you if you transport a minor under the age of 18 across state lines for consensual sex.

      I repeat that nowhere is 14 the legal age of consent in the US. There are countries that have 15, like in Mexico where a girl is considered a woman after her quincena (the 15th “coming out” birthday.)

      Interestingly enough there are two separate terms for adults who are attracted to minors:

      Pedophile: attracted to pre-pubesent children;


      Hebephile: attracted to post-pubescent minors. (This is most often expressed in male’s attraction to teen girls — though obviously adult women could also be hebephiles.)

      In this case we’re talking about a man engaged in pedophilia activities — sex with a pre-pubescent girl (it’s unlikely a 12 year old has gone through puberty, though I guess it’s possible) — not just an old perv attracted to young nubile teen girls.

      I know this is creepy stuff, but I think it’s important to know what’s going on in the minds of these men.

  28. old white guy

    God will kill these basrtards.

  29. Aaishah



  30. lecia

    your links are out dated and/or incorrect.
    here are 2 that are current usa policies on CONSENTUAL marriage/sex – and most states have an age gap law….ie 2 16 year olds having sex is not illegal while an 80 year old having sex with a 16 year old is illegal – get it –
    consensual being the operative word here
    NO WHERE in the usa is a girl forced or sold into marriage AT ANY AGE

    • Aaishah

      Ok here you go

      If you look at the states you will see 14 being quoted as being the age of consent.
      We can agree on the age gap provision in the West for the sake of argument.
      Now look at the legal age of marriage. A girl can marry whatever age she wants as long as she has parental consent.
      And thats the point Im making.
      In Saudi Arabia there is no age of consent as sex outside of marriage is not allowed. A girl that has gone through puberty(and a boy) are allowed to be married in the eyes of the law.
      So my point remains. A girl of 12 in the US(according to MA law) and a girl in KSA(according to Islamic law if she has passed puberty) is allowed to be married to whomsoever she wishes(understood that in this case we dont know for sure that her consent was willingly given). But the point is it IS allowed. Her consent in Islam has nothing to do with the age of consent but rather to do with her desire to be married to a particular person as it is understood that by her being eligible to be married…she has already passed puberty.
      Do you get it now?
      And shot gun marriages used to happen all the time –a concept that is rejected by Islam. The fact that a girl may be forced into a marriage in a non western land doesn’t make that acceptable rather its a problem within that land that generally comes from a cultural perspective rather than a religious one.

    • Maryam Ruhullah


      You should be proud of the fact that you are willing to voice a complaint against abuse to children. Most people don’t feel enough toward the suffering of others to do as much as you where responding to an article is concerned. As a survivor of extreme abuse and as one who is very active in social issues, I know what much needs to be done but that takes stepping out of the state of denial.


      Maryam Ruhullah

      The Business of Sex Trafficking 2/17/10 Sex trafficking is a criminal
      business in which women and children are forced or coerced into
      providing sex services. An estimated 2.5 million people are victims of
      this modern-day form of slavery which has grown into an ugly and
      sophisticated $50 billion world wide business. Human trafficking is the
      fastest growing criminal industry in the world, despite the Protocol to
      Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, which went into
      effect on December 25, 2003. sex-trafficking

  31. lecia

    and i wonder how many times she was beaten before she agreed

    • Maryam Ruhullah

      To Lecia,

      You are correct regarding the age limits and marriage within the States but let it also be known that crimes against women and children do occur within the States. In the States sex trafficking and illegally kept individual for work purposes is in abundance. What is needed are awareness and preventions where crimes against citizens are not concern. The US is not guiltless.


  32. Maryam Ruhullah

    Dear Lecia,

    You are correct regarding the age limits and marriage within the States but let it also be known that crimes against women and children do occur within the States. In the States sex trafficking and illegally kept individual for work purposes is in abundance. What is needed are methods for awareness and preventions. A stronger global human rights initiative is needed and enforcement of the currents.

    Do to the grace of God, I was spared horror sex slave enslavement in the US. Let each of us pray for those less fortunate than ourselves.



  33. lecia

    the difference is that selling your 12 year child to an 80 year old man in the usa is not only illegal it is also socially unacceptable.

    The child did not give consent she sued to get her freedom and then only later recanted so what changed her mind? She suddenly fell in love with her abuser?

    Compaing this practice with the sex slave dealings in the rest of the world is correct…it is sex slave with the support of the government and society

    “Do to the grace of God, I was spared horror sex slave enslavement in the US.”

    That’s bull shit and you know it.

    • Maryam Ruhullah

      Dear Lecia,

      Believe me when I honestly state that I what I stated to you in my previous email is totally true. There is an organization in Dallas Texas called Mosaic Family Services. Google this name and due a little research and you will find that my assertions are based in documented truth.

      I find the practices of forced marriages as abhorrent as any crime against children but I also find that American who point fingers to be less informed then they should be in regard to State crimes committed within their own government.

      I have not reason to lie as I also have no reason to use file language.



      • Umair

        Maryam, r u d 1 wh0 was 0ffered fell0wship by sum university in new mexic0?(i w0uld als0 like t0 kn0w d w0rk u auth0r)

        hav u ever been c0ntacted by feds?(is there any mk pr0ject)

        Umair ( i ask 2 much Qs 🙂

  34. Claudio


    You pointed it out calling “poverty” and lack of action on the government side as the main guilty reasons. While it’s true that children are abused all around the world (it happens in Europe too, you surely know), what struck is that all this is claimed to be legal!!! I don’t know what happened 1300 years ago between the Prophet(PBUH) and his young bride. It probably is a simple metaphor and should be read as such. Probably it is all true. I don’t know and I don’t care. Nevertheless, it happened 1300 years ago!!! Our reality, today, is that we are able to fly over the oceans, go to the moon, cure cancer and produce energy from the wind, but we are still unable to protect our children from being abused.

  35. Enrica

    Dear Saudi Woman,
    thank you very much for your blog which I found of absolute interest.
    I totally agree with Claudio concerning the “legal” and socially accepted side of this story, which is mainly shocking for a Western reader (I believe also for readers from other continents or within the Arabian countries too).
    Saudi women – with all the help they can get – need to keep fighting the way they are bravely doing . I really admire your strenght to protect yourselves and your children.

  36. Francesco Morello

    I cannot believe it.

    Poor girl

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  38. Again, no surprise! 😦

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  40. Ernest Saenz

    There’s a lot of these kinds of issues that need to be discussed and clarified. The time is coming.

  41. Brittney

    that man is a pervert any 80 yeaer old man that marries a 12 year old girl is sick in the head that country needs to put an age limit for marriage. her dad is just as bad for selling his own flesh and blood to marry a discusting old man he needs to find some1 his own age!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  42. …and if you were here in your paradise the US of A you would be thankful that you were a woman.

  43. Shadi

    “Where else in the world can a man openly say that he is in a polygamous marriage with four underage girls and not get arrested? At this rate we might as well start a tourism industry to attract rich Muslim pedophiles.”

    Enough said !

  44. techani

    @Shadi: no one said that, it’s only in your mind. I guess you even scanned only the title and the cartoon the wrote the comment out of hatred.

    • Alexandra

      I don’t think so. People may sound harsh if they feel helpless to change something. It also happens if they are endowed with God-given talent to feel the anguish of others as their own. It’s a cry from the heart!
      For the matter of pedophiles it’s a well-known fact that a number of countries, such as Thailand, Cambodia, Sri Lanka and others, have become a well-established sex-tourist destination for pedophiles.
      Yet Saudi Arabia isn’t in the gruesome list. Nevertheless, medieval traditions and draconic Sharia law encourage pedophiles to fulfil their abhorrent desires in the country. Actually it has been a heaven for pedophiles for a long time.

      • techani

        @Alexandra I believe you’re mistaken. Generalization is the root of all mistakes.

      • Alexandra

        I may be mistaken as anyone. Anyway I should emphasize that any sexual contact with minors is called pedophilia and it is severely prosecuted by the international law. Pedophiles are subjected to certain terms in prison for the violation of children’s rights.

  45. Kate

    I don’t understand these parents because my parents love me and always try to protect me. I think that this man is mentally ill because he wants to have sex with a child. Because I am fifteen and I am even now a child. Futhermore our organism in this time haven’t been ready for sex yet. It is horribly for me. You have another belief but we live in 21st century. It is another world than middle-age.
    In conclusion I want say that I really hope that your goverment will ban child brides.

  46. Isn’t this a culture in Saudi Arabia?

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