Marriage Age for Girls

Mar 30th, 2010, in Asides, by

How young can girls be married, NU issues fatwa allowing for marriage below the age of consent.


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183 Comments on “Marriage Age for Girls”

  1. avatar ET says:

    Amazing the length of argument they will go to bring their fatwas in line with Pedomo’s example of marrying a 6-year old child.

  2. avatar Oigal says:

    Filthy old creatures, but let me guess its not representative..sigh again

  3. avatar Geordie says:

    It’s very difficult not to condemn this out of hand, too hard for me certainly.

    As for the following statement: –

    If people disagree with our fatwa, so be it. We never force people to follow what we say.

    That’s just plain disingnuous, of course one is not forced to marry anyone (unless, you happen to be a young girl it would appear), in some societies assisted euthanasia is tolerated but no one’s bleedin’ compelled to it.

  4. avatar Odinius says:

    This is very regressive.

    But I would argue with this point:

    All too often, Muslim spokespersons are reluctant to disagree openly with other Muslims

    The modernists in Muhammadiyah and MUI frequently disagree with NU, which they see as borderline heterodox.

    The problem is that these lmodernist organizations often don’t take on the radicals on the fringes of Islamic modernism, such as FPI.

  5. avatar Ross says:

    Yes, Odinius, that’s what I meant.

  6. avatar diego says:

    Ok, islam stuff again.

    I just want to say: I love to believe that indonesia would sooner than later come out of this entanglement with this “foreign-style” religions, and come out with their very own “religion”, mixing the good things they can get from each one.

    Hope for the best for indonesia.

  7. avatar David says:

    I think among Madurese it is still modestly common for girls to be married off underage. The NU, much more than Muhammadiyah, have Madurese among their constituency, so it’s normal they’d have a different approach. You might expect them to take the lead on the issue and the moral high ground and discourage their followers from doing it, or not…..(Hasyim Muzadi recently said about the nikah siri issue that young girls on Madura will queue up to be married off to some local big shot…)

    One day when the whole world is globalised and homogenised I’m sure even the Madurese will stop the practice, so this won’t be much of an issue anymore.

    Also worth pointing out that in the west early teens marriage was also once a normal thing, so maybe Indonesia is just at an earlier stage of ‘development’, and European colonialism here hasn’t quite done its full work yet.

  8. avatar hunz says:

    As long the objective of marriage is positive then its allowed. As its said the girl need to mature mentally to be responsible to husband and their children. How you expect a child to be responsible for other people if they barely to take care/responsible for them self?

  9. avatar venna says:

    They can get married at any age, even girls who haven’t started menstruating. And they can have intimate relationships and intercourse, as long as they are able.
    __________

    This is my big concern. At any age? Does it include toddler age? And who decide they’re ready? the girls? the parents? the husbands?
    I have no problem with people who try to obey the shariah law or religion rule, just wish that they can come up with better products.

  10. avatar Ross says:

    Yeah, Patung, Venna and Hunz have hit the nail on the head. There is no excuse for sex predators who go after kiddies which activity the Nu have chosen to endorse.
    As you say, civilised countries have outlawed it decades or centuries ago, so these old Islamists are declaring themselves beyond the pale of civilised discourse.

  11. avatar realest says:

    Sometimes it’s just taking religious orders into context and following them piously. I believe the NU endorsed underage marriage for the exact same purpose.
    A lot of people condemned the burqa for muslims – particularly the headscrarf which became the center of objection – and france has even taken steps to have it outlawed(sarkozy mentioned particularly of the inferiority towards women) What most ppl chose to ignore is that the Bible also makes it compulsory for women to cover up their head(1 corin 11).
    In a nutshell, hypocrites are acting ridiculous by condemning others for being pious.

    With regard to this underage, i’ll cite a typical example of the syekh puji-ulfa case. If we observe using skeptic glasses, ulfa didnt seem to mind and looks quite content with the position she’s in. It’s the outsiders that’s making a huge fuss of the situation.
    Most village girls live under extreme poverty, bearing children they can barely feed much less give them proper education for a better future. Their children will most likely be the apple of their parents, toiling all day for scraps of food and being stuck in the cycle of poverty. What’s wrong with marrying someone rich even if you’re underage? Most girls would actually kill to be in ulfa’s position – again a fact which people conveniently chose to ignore. in my opinion, this underage marriage fiasco has nothing to do with pedophilia. There are a lot of outlets readily available if you knock on the right doors – suburban villages, remote bars in smaller cities, adoption …. where one can get in and pull out easily without getting any unnecessary attention.

    Im one of those lucky ones who didn’t have to live through this shit, but i doubt all of you could say the same when put under similar circumstances as ulfa is – Being poor, having the possibility of marrying another redneck brute(who’ll prolly treat u like a cow anyway), maybe working out of town or overseas(and ended getting raped or beaten up or both), having a major headache should the price of egg rise by 10 cents, having children and feeding them with rice water instead of milk, being poor and being poor ….

  12. avatar ET says:

    @ realest

    In a nutshell, hypocrites are acting ridiculous by condemning others for being pious.

    Those who comment on situations they know nothing about make themselves equally ridiculous. Whether the Bible makes it compulsory for women to cover their head or not has nothing to do with France and other secular countries condemning burqa’s and headscarves. These secular countries condemn headscarves and burqa’s and forbid child marriages on humanistic grounds, in order to prevent women and girls to be coerced into a position of inequality, inferiority and exploitation on the basis of religious rulings inspired by Middle-Eastern pre-medieval social structures.

  13. avatar Ross says:

    Scary to read somebody defend this barbarism.

    Ulfa looked content.
    Lots of kids I know would be content to play footie on a busy highway. When I was her age, I’d have been content to go out with my hunting rifle on my own, but my Dad cared enough not to let me.
    That’s what decent grown-ups are for, where children are concerned. We are meant to look out for them, because they are CHILDREN, not adults, and thus don’t generally make sound judgements.

    It’s certainly no part of an adult’s duty to take advantage of poverty for carnal fun.

    If the dirty swine Puji really cared for Ulfa, he’d have taken her on as adoptee or foster child, given her a decent schooling and acted like a concerned adult should.
    Instead he just wants to get his leg over, and uses his privileged moneyed position to weasel through the gutless law.
    A pity somebody doesn’t take a hunting rifle and kill the s.o.b.!

  14. avatar venna says:

    I just read Patung comment about Madurese-underage marriage-NU.
    Yes, among Madurese we can say that underage marriage is quite common, as well as nikah siri. But I don’t think it is the reason NU declares this fatwa. Lots of Javanese people also doing this, and I think their percentage is not any lower than the Madurese. In my opinion, this fatwa is for accommodating their followers that still practicing underage marriage style, especially among the religion & social leaders (kyai, rich men, local political leaders). Something that I choose to oppose because they fail to give enlightenment for their people that there are alternatives that they can do rather than simply giving permission for underage marriage (or worse, ANY AGE marriage).

    I hate to say this, but yes, marrying them (the rich men) is a way to climb higher social status and escape from poverty. Another version of girls looking for sugar daddies to solve their financial trouble, but at different level or different reason. Or can I say it as not different than trafficking? Exchange their daughters/girls for some money and status. Yeah, it sucks to be poor. Having many kids to increase the chance for survival, and use them as economic asset thru marriage.

    I don’t blame those girls that choose to be married by older rich men, but it doesn’t mean I agree with this fatwa. NU as the biggest social organization has lots of capacity and human resource to create changes and introduce different perspective. They should be able to do more than this. We live in different era than the prophet’s and we know a lot about health research, social studies, about the risks faced by women when they married at very young age. What was maybe “good” for women in Arab doesn’t necessarily good for women in Indonesia, especially right now. Underage marriage is not the only way to cut the poverty cycle. Poverty is complex, it’s not only about not having enough money to buy food but also habit, lifestyle, and culture. Maintaining social status like this actually contributes to poverty, because only those who willing to be married by the rich folks has chance to access the money and opportunity, and the rest will be left poor unless they make a deal to exchange it. And it is not free, I’m pretty sure. The power is in their husband’s hand.

    And it is not merely about following religion law or not, or being obedient or not. Ok, it has good intention. A way to help them from poverty. A way to protect those girls from being forced into prostitution or cheap-abusive domestic work sectors. But, that’s it? No more? How about start to think about using their power and wealth to create better opportunity for those girls, like helping them to get better education and better access to economic sectors without having to marry them, so they can cut the poverty cycle by themselves? Thus it can be a proof that they really have good intention and not expecting something in return. Ikhlas, men, ikhlas.

    Willing to kill to be in ulfa’s position? Yeah, I bet some will do it. It is prestigious, and money will be available at any time. Forget the grin of that old man, like he just hit a jackpot. Forget it, just focus on social status and money. Focus, focus, focus.

  15. avatar Odinius says:

    realest said:

    A lot of people condemned the burqa for muslims – particularly the headscrarf which became the center of objection – and france has even taken steps to have it outlawed(sarkozy mentioned particularly of the inferiority towards women) What most ppl chose to ignore is that the Bible also makes it compulsory for women to cover up their head(1 corin 11).
    In a nutshell, hypocrites are acting ridiculous by condemning others for being pious.

    Though I rarely agree with ET on matters pertaining to religion, I’m going to have to agree with him on one general point: I really don’t see a problem with banning clothes that cover the face in public.

    HOWEVER, I have two problems with this particular law. First, there’s nothing I hate more in democratic politics than ‘special laws for special people.’ No liberal democracy should legislate to restrict the right to free expression of a specific group. Second, I don’t think the state should be intervening in personal religious choices unless they are physically threatening to others or remove the rights of children, e.g. arranged marriages at age 6.

    At the same time, there’s a clear security issue for police concerning people who are completely covered. So why not just make this a general law, and not one that specifically targets a religious group? Make it general, and if it affects a few more of one group than another, then so be it. That, I think, is well within France’s rights according to its own Constitution and the Human Rights charters to which it is a signatory.

  16. avatar David says:

    Ross, if the only thing you’ve got to say is “it’s bad” then it’s really a missed opportunity to say something actually informative and relevant to things here. If you’re in Britain or Canada then “it’s bad” may be the only thing to say, although the issue of recent migrants to those countries might be a different story, although no doubt on that we’d agree, migrants have to obey the laws in their new countries and respect the people and culture there.

    Venna has raised some excellent points. Venna I had assumed it was more common among Madurese than Javanese but if it’s about the same then you may well be right. I didn’t mean to say they issued the fatwa on behalf of the Madurese specifically, they were just the example that popped into my head.

    In my opinion, this fatwa is for accommodating their followers that still practicing underage marriage style, especially among the religion & social leaders (kyai, rich men, local political leaders).

    There’s the thing. Should they semi-democratically represent the interests of their followers, which given it’s conservative NU Islam is likely going to mean men, and men as you say who are “specifically religion & social leaders (kyai, rich men, local political leaders)”, or should they as presumably moderately well educated possibly worldly (?) men try to lead their backwoods followers in a better direction….those are interesting ways of looking at it, as well as the other things you said about poverty, etc.

  17. avatar Ross says:

    Frankly, Patung, I think saying it is BAD is the only possible thing to say about pedophiles. There are plenty of Indonesians who agree and who would not ask me to supply a lengthy argument as to why it is bad. A country which allows child abuse cannot be held to be civilised, nor can a religion.

    If you mean that the NU should endorse the behaviour of rich and powerful pedophiles because it ‘represents’ a lot of such people, then, yes, they can do so, and have done so, but it is still bad.

    Certainly, the wealthy and powerful ought to lend a hand in alleviating the lot of both adults and children who live in abject poverty, but there are many ways they can help without exploiting their ‘philanthropy’ to get their grubby paws on little girls.

    We foreigners do have to obey the law here, but we still have the right to criticise, otherwise you’d have precious few people posting on IM.
    I like being here, and I like Indonesia, which is why I speak up on this and other issues.
    In the 19th Century, would you have objected to the abolition in India of suttee, arguing it was not for foreigners to infringe on aspects of the local culture?

  18. avatar David says:

    Ross, read Venna’s comment, it’s interesting, informative and shows some understanding. “It’s bad”, on its own, doesn’t do that, even if it did spark off this lovely debate…..

  19. avatar ET says:

    Ross said

    If you mean that the NU should endorse the behaviour of rich and powerful pedophiles because it ‘represents’ a lot of such people, then, yes, they can do so, and have done so, but it is still bad.

    I don’t think this fatwa is about endorsing the behaviour of rich and powerful pedophiles. This fatwa is about endorsing Mohammad’s marriage to Aisha. They issued this fatwa because they have no other choice, being followers of a prophet who has to be a shining example in all matters concerning daily life. His marriage to Aisha however is a controversial issue and many modern and moderate Muslims must also have their doubts whether these days such a marriage can be considered a good thing. To take away this doubt and bring their followers back in line they have no other choice than to come up with all kinds of fallacies and sophisms to condone the practice and whitewash their religion.

  20. avatar Ross says:

    Patung, I did read Venna’s comment, and said some of the same things in my comments before and after. Since you do not think it interesting or informative when I say it, I’ll say it again.
    Old geezers who want to help children from poor families can give them scholarship money, or deliver free food and clothing to the family home, or even give mom and pop jobs at a decent wage. Then to my mind they are good old geezers.
    If they offer money etc. in return for sexual access to the family’s little daughter, they are bad.
    What is it about that you find tedious or uninformative?
    I hate to say it, but trying to be ‘understanding’ of these creatures is like the social workers and shrinks in UK or Canadian courts who tell judges and juries about why the accused committed vile crimes, and then expect leniency as a consequence.

  21. avatar deta says:

    Have to agree with Ross. It’s bad in any sense and so far there is no point that can validate this insanity. At least not that I could find. Still enjoy seeing the lovely debate, tho.

  22. avatar venna says:

    Should they semi-democratically represent the interests of their followers, which given it’s conservative NU Islam is likely going to mean men, and men as you say who are “specifically religion & social leaders (kyai, rich men, local political leaders)”, or should they as presumably moderately well educated possibly worldly (?) men try to lead their backwoods followers in a better direction…
    _________

    I was thinking a lot last night, and still cannot help myself to see that this fatwa is issued to accommodate mostly the elites’s interests (those men). If FPI that declared this fatwa, I can see the consistent pattern. But NU? No, oh please. NU is conservative, indeed, but not that backward. They have lots of young scholars, excellent women activists, that actively involved in grassroot movements; campaign about reproductive health, women’s rights, children’s rights. This fatwa annihilate all of those efforts.

    But you know, it reminds me on something. Long time ago in East Java, I spent quite good times hanging out with some friends from NU. They were young, smart, and had lots of brilliant ideas. They’re pretty progressive and open minded, but when it came to the hierarchy, all stopped. The kyais are the final decision makers, whether they like it or not. So I think the same pattern happened again here.

  23. avatar venna says:

    This fatwa is about endorsing Mohammad’s marriage to Aisha. They issued this fatwa because they have no other choice, being followers of a prophet who has to be a shining example in all matters concerning daily life.
    ______________

    A big loophole, and it’s a pity if now his followers have to rationalize it at any cost and sacrificing their rational. The prophet lived in Arab, at that era where not much information available, and their culture was of course very different. He would follow the culture and did what was necessary at that time. It would be different maybe, if he lived in another continent. I don’t see any logic when people trying to copy it blindly just because it was what he did or just to defend him from irrational attackers.

  24. avatar venna says:

    But wait, Patung & Ross, you’re not interpreting my ‘understanding’ here as a support, right? Because it is really different. You understand why people doing this and that, doesn’t mean that you choose the same side.

  25. avatar David says:

    Deta

    It’s bad in any sense and so far there is no point that can validate this insanity.

    It’s not a question of bad or good or validating it……Venna, ‘understanding’ means putting it into its cultural, historical, religious context, nothing to do with supporting it.

    I did read Venna’s comment, and said some of the same things in my comments before and after.

    I meant your post, copy-paste of jakartaglobe article interspersed with ‘I think it’s bad’ comments, a one-dimensional rant. Could have been condensed into one paragraph. But like so often including with my own posts it came good in the discussion as I said.

  26. avatar Ross says:

    Well, of course your input made it peerless, Patung. Who would disagree with such a statement, the modesty of which rivals my own!

    Having said that, your ‘understanding’ is all very well, but you’d have done better to make your own condemnation of this evil a tad more evident.

    As I said, if our forebears in the Raj had spent a lot of time trying to figure out the ‘cultural context’ of Indian suttee, a lot more widows would have been burnt while the Brits abhorred ‘one-dimensional rants’ and wrung their hands.

  27. avatar ET says:

    I don’t see any logic when people trying to copy it blindly just because it was what he did or just to defend him from irrational attackers.

    It’s not about logic, it’s about Arabization, or better Wahabbization, meaning a blind faith in Quran and Hadith, a return to the values of the time of the prophet and literally following in his footsteps. Haven’t you noticed the changes in Indonesia over the last 10 years and the momentum created by 9/11?
    And it’s all paid with petrodollars, mostly from Saudi and Yemen. Follow the money trail and find out how mosques and pesantrens are funded. What the NU is doing with this fatwa is giving lip-service to their paymasters.

  28. avatar realest says:

    I’m going to step on some serious toes here, bear in mind that my post is not meant to corner any specific religion.

    ET – “These secular countries condemn headscarves and burqa’s and forbid child marriages on humanistic grounds, in order to prevent women and girls to be coerced into a position of inequality, inferiority and exploitation on the basis of religious rulings inspired by Middle-Eastern pre-medieval social structures.”
    Ross – “A country which allows child abuse cannot be held to be civilised, nor can a religion.”

    Guns don’t kill people, people kill people. The failure of authorities to uphold the law shouldn’t be an excuse for an eligible law to be passed.

    @Ross
    Do u grow up dirt poor? I dont think so, try showing a little empathy for the less fortunate and put yourself in their shoes.

    @odinius

    “I don’t think the state should be intervening in personal religious choices unless they are ….. “

    The fatwa is only applicable to muslims since, presently, there’s already a law making underage marriage illegal.

    @venna

    “The prophet lived in Arab, at that era where not much information available, and their culture was of course very different. He would follow the culture and did what was necessary at that time. “

    Religious morals which doesn’t transcend through time has no place in modern society.

  29. avatar Ross says:

    I grew up without going hungry but- through much of my childhood – without any material advantages of any significant sort, realest, and have had to work in all kinds of real jobs (and a few unreal ones!) to pay my way though life, so that is maybe one reason why I hate :-
    A- snobby limousine liberals in the West who think they know better than working stiffs,
    B- the arrogant rich here, like Theo Timeons, who was let off the hook in the JIS thuggery incident (which remains largely covered up) and the millionaire brat who got off almost Scot-free for killing the Hilton waiter…………and
    C- allegedly religious jerks who issue fatwas legitimising (in the eyes of thick Islamists) pedophilia by the wealthy against the poor.

    So tell us, realest, are you of dirt-poor origins, and would you sell your little sister if you were?

  30. avatar Odinius says:

    realest said:

    The fatwa is only applicable to muslims since, presently, there’s already a law making underage marriage illegal.

    I was referring the the French anti-Burqa law.

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