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Malaysian girl, 14, celebrates wedding in public


The marriage between a 14-year-old Malaysian schoolgirl and a 23-year-old teacher has sparked a fierce debate in the country.

Underage marriages, although allowed for Muslims with permission from the Syariah courts and parental consent, are not common in Malaysia.
A local newspaper had reported on Sunday that Siti Maryam Mahmod married Abdul Manan Othman, a family friend, in July.
They were among the 250 couples who celebrated their union at a mosque in Kuala Lumpur in an event organised by the Kuala Lumpur Islamic department on Saturday
Minister in the Prime Minister's Department Datuk Seri Jamil Khir Baharom who was the guest of honour at the event, was quoted as saying that the 14-year old girl was allowed to be married as long as the Syariah court gave its consent.
Siti Maryam Mahmod and Abdul Manan Othman were among the 250 couples who celebrated their union at a mosque in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday
Siti Maryam Mahmod and Abdul Manan Othman were among the 250 couples who celebrated their union at a mosque in Kuala Lumpur on Saturday

The Syariah Family Law states that any Muslim under the age of 16 needed the consent of the Syariah court in order to marry.
However, Women, Family and Community Development Minister Datuk Seri Shahrizat Abdul Jalil said the Government did not condone child marriages and that the circumstances leading to the marriage would be looked into.
"Our stance is - we are not for child marriages. I want to be very clear here. As far as the Government is concerned, a wedding does not make a marriage," she said at the Barisan Nasional Convention.
Shahrizat said the ministry held a policy that children below 16 years were still in need of guidance, protection and the chance to form their own character.
Shahrizat said the concern was not merely about the moral issue of the marriage but was also linked to the rights of the child and the responsibility that came with marriage
Shahrizat said the concern was not merely about the moral issue of the marriage but was also linked to the rights of the child and the responsibility that came with marriage
"A marriage is about responsibility. She is still a child. We hope the court awarding or giving consent will be doubly cautious about this," Shahrizat said.
Shahrizat said the concern was not merely about the moral issue of the marriage but was also linked to the rights of the child and the responsibility that came with marriage.
"It’s more complicated than it is," she said, declining to speculate on the reasons behind the wedding.
"I don’t know. We have to examine the case. As far as I know she’s got the consent of the court. But I implore the courts to be cautious," she said
Meanwhile,  Ivy Josiah, executive director of local group Women's Aid Organization, urged the government to repeal laws that allowed underage marriage for Muslims.
"Cultural and religious sensitivities should not be excuses for what is clearly a human rights violation," she was quoted by AP as saying.
Malacca Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam made headlines in August when he encouraged teen marriages as a way to prevent young girls from having sex out of wedlock and getting pregnant.

washingtonpost.


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