Iraqi Justice Minister Hassan al-Shimmari has proposed a new law that would lower the country’s legal age for marriage to 9, legalize marital rape, ban women from leaving the home without the permission of their husbands, would prohibit Muslim men from marrying non-Muslims, bestow automatic custody of the children on men in divorces, and more.
Smells like Iraqi freedom.
But please don’t think Iraq is illiberal, the law does permit an exception to the inter-faith marriage ban. Muslim men can marry non-Muslim women for a few hours if they want to screw them, then divorce them after they have sex. It’s a “thing” in that region called “temporary marriage,” and it, of course, will be protected under the new law.
Oh, but it gets better. Ali al-Moussawi, a spokesman for Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, defended the law by comparing it to gay marriage in the West.
“What we have done is democratic. We took this to be discussed, then voted on,” al-Moussawi said. “We didn’t object straight away. Some media outlets show Iraq as if it has gone backwards, but this isn’t true. In the west, people are talking about gay marriage. This is something we would never discuss and it is against our religion, our nature, yet we don’t say that they are backwards.”
A spokesman for the Justice Minister claims the law, which reportedly only applies to the country’s Shia majority, is “optional” for Shia, whatever that means. One suspects it’s not optional for 9-year-old girls, or grown women, but rather for the men who want to control them.
The current legal age to marry in Iraq is 18 without parental approval, and 15 with it. Child brides are a problem in many Muslim countries. We’ve reported on cases in Yemen (an 11-year-old girl fleeing her uncle-fiancé and then threatening to kill herself), and Saudi Arabia (where a terrified 15-year-old girl was forced to marry a man who was over the age of 90), but it happens all over.
A report from Iraq claims that the marrying-off of young girls became prevalent after the US invasion:
[T]he marriage of young girls in Iraq became prevalent in the aftermath of the American invasion in 2003 when the American Occupation Authority suspended the Iraqi constitution and laws that set the legal punishment for the fathers and the bridegroom of young girls as long as life term in prison.
It goes on to cite the Iraqi Minister of Planning Ali Shukri claiming that, “Iraq is the number one country in the world in marriages of young girls.”