February 4, 2010
A 12-year old Saudi girl recently withdrew her petition to divorce her 80-year old husband, the Huffington Post has reported. The young girl’s mother, who is separated from her husband, made a complaint to the Human Rights Commission asking them to help end the marriage.
The 12-year old stated that, “I agree to the marriage. I have no objections. This is in filial respect to my father and obedience to his wish.” The Associated Foreign Press reported that in January, the young girl pleaded with journalists to “save me” after the consummation of her marriage and she and her mother, with the support of human rights lawyers and child welfare advocates, sought a divorce.
The 80-year old man in the center of this scandal reportedly paid the young girl’s father over $22,000 USD in dowry back in September.
Opinions on the marriage of children this young has been split in Saudi Arabia with some arguing that the Prophet Mohammed married his wife Aisha before she was even in her teens. Liberals state that while the Quran does indeed indicate such, that circumstances during the Prophet’s time were far different then they are now. Saudi Arabian law does not guard against child marriage, and clerics and religious judges quote Islamic and Saudi tradition as justification.
The case was meant to be heard on Monday, but the 12-year old’s mother dropped the complaint prior to the beginning of the hearing.