The marriage between an 11-year-old Thai girl & a 41-year-old Malaysian man is being investigated by authorities after sparking public outrage. However, the girl has reportedly told local media she’s ‘in love’ with the man she illegally married!
People are calling for the banning of child brides after a 41-year-old Malaysian man married an 11-year-old Thai girl, his third wife, in Thailand. Malaysian authorities are now investigating the marriage as the public has called for action. Che Abdul Karim Che Abdul Hamid, a rubber scrap dealer, married the girl in secret, and the union only became public after one of his wives lodged a complaint with police, according to Time magazine. While Che Abdul reportedly told Bernama news agency that his marriage was lawful and approved by the girl’s parents, Deputy Prime Minister Wan Azizah Wan Ismail has said the marriage was illegal and had not been approved by the Shariah court.
With consent from the Shariah court, Muslim girls who are under the minimum legal marriage age of 16 can wed, as long as they also have their parents’ consent. In addition, Muslim men in Malaysia can have up to four wives. Wan Azizah reportedly told local media that officials are investigating if the parents only approved of the marriage due to their poverty status. An initial investigation apparently showed that the girl, who does not attend school, was wooed twice, and that her mother told the man that she was too young. She asked for the marriage to be consummated only when she turns 16 years old.
Social media photos show Che Abdul holding the young girl’s hand after the marriage ceremony, and local media have reported that he already has two wives and six children between ages 5 and 18. Che Abdul also told media that the girl will live with her parents until she turns 16, and the girl has been quoted as saying that she doesn’t understand the fuss over her marriage, as she is in love with Che Adul.
The marriage of a Malaysian man with an 11-year-old Thai girl has sparked outrage in the Muslim majority country with one activist labeling the groom a "child predator" https://t.co/iv28rgZOdN #childmarriage pic.twitter.com/6ftIQSZL5L
— Al Arabiya English (@AlArabiya_Eng) July 1, 2018
— Kaewmala (@Thai_Talk) July 2, 2018
“Paedophilia, child exploitation, child pornography… we must be firm on this as children are our responsibility,” Wan Azizah was quoted saying. Activists are now urging the government to raise the minimum age for marriage to 18. In addition, the U.N. children agency called the situation “shocking and unacceptable,” and the Human Rights Commission of Malaysia said that allowing child marriage in the name of religion might “provide cover for paedophiles and child sexual predators.”