'10-year-old girls can marry,' says Saudi grand mufti
From online dispatches
AFP photoIt is permissible for girls to get married at age 10, Saudi Arabia's grand mufti has said, criticizing those who want to raise the legal marriageable age, the World Observer reported on its website April 24.
A girl becomes ready for marriage at the age of 10 or 12 according to Islam, Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdul-Aziz al-Sheikh said while stressing that Islamic law did not oppress women.
"Those who call for raising the age of marriage to 25 are absolutely mistaken," al-Sheikh reportedly said in a lecture he gave at the faculty housing the mosque of Imam Mohamed bin Saud Islamic University in Riyadh.
"Our mothers and grandmothers got married when they were barely 12. Good upbringing makes a girl ready to perform all marital duties at that age," al-Sheikh said in response to a question raised by a female attendee on the practice of marrying minor girls without their consent.
The Saudi Nation Human Rights Association (NHRA) has criticized the marriage of minors in the kingdom, considering it to be a "violation of childhood."
NHRA said the practice of underage marriage was a breach of several U.N. treaties, including the Child Rights Treaty, which was signed by Saudi Arabia in 1996, and the Treaty for the Rights of Women, which the kingdom adopted in 2000.