Mehdi Hasan’s phoney apologetics

Picture of Mehdi Hasan, a light-skinned Asian man, wearing a suit with a black jacket, white shirt and cream tie.British Muslims should stand up and say it: there is nothing Islamic about child marriage (at the New Statesman and also the Huffington Post)

Mehdi Hasan argues that it is British Muslims’ responsibility to stand up and say that “child marriage” is against Islam because “child, or underage, marriage is very much a part of British society” and it is usually Muslims doing it. The evidence consists of the fact that some spies looking to make a TV programme contacted 56 imams around the UK and that “imams at 18 of those 56 mosques – or one in three – agreed to do so”, in one case despite being told explicitly that the girl did not want to get married. He makes a number of spurious claims about Islamic scholarship and its positions on these issues, which is foolish because both Muslims and hostile non-Muslims know that they have no basis to them, while they reinforce the politics of suspicion, i.e., demanding condemnation for things most Muslims in the UK are not doing.

To begin with, I hope everyone agrees that an imam agreeing to marry a woman or girl off against her known will is to be condemned. It’s also foolish for any imam to agree to conduct a religious marriage for a girl who is underage according to the law, because the marriage could not be legally consummated in this country, would not be legally recognised, and would cause problems for everyone involved. Marriage is not meant to be clandestine; it is meant to be a public occasion with multiple witnesses and a feast. Last, any imam with a brain should know that someone phoning up to arrange an illicit marriage to a 14-year-old girl is probably a spy.

However, the fact remains that it is perfectly lawful in Islam for anyone who has reached puberty to be married, even if they have not reached some arbitrary age. The norm in most Muslim countries throughout history was for girls in particular to be married in their teens, and it certainly was not normal (except in very particular circumstances, such as when it was not possible because of war) for them to wait until their 20s. Mehdi claims that “frustratingly, many Muslim scholars and seminaries still cling to the view that adulthood, and the age of sexual consent, rests only on biological puberty: that is, 12 to 15 for boys and nine to 15 for girls”. That is, in fact, all it does rest on, as a glance at any basic book of Islamic law will confirm.

He then cites Usama Hasan, a person of some fame but absolutely no authority, as saying, “there was a rival view in Islamic jurisprudence, even in ancient and medieval times: that emotional and intellectual maturity was also required, and was reached between the ages of 15 and 21”. There is a big difference between the legal minimums and what is ideal, and the law allows that a father might be a better judge of whether his daughter is mature enough to be married, whether at 14 or 21, than a committee of strangers, especially strangers from a completely different cultural background. Usama Hasan further claims that this view “has been adopted by most civil codes of Muslim-majority countries for purposes of marriage”; in reality, the age-of-consent and minimum marriage age laws which exist in many Muslim countries are mostly colonial legacies, often maintained by the anti-religious élites who ruled after the colonial powers left. In some countries (like Pakistan), the laws are widely ignored by the population.

He then rehashes a familiar debate about the age of A’isha, the wife of the Prophet (sall’ Allahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) whose marriage was consummated when she was nine years old, a fact confirmed by A’isha herself and by other contemporary evidence. There is quite a comprehensive essay on this still available on some websites which notes that this raised no eyebrows at the time (other than the notion that her father was such good friends with the Prophet that it was almost incestuous for him to marry his friend’s daughter), and that the age of marriage in Semitic societies was puberty. The evidence of hadeeth in Islam is considered to be of higher quality than books of history, particularly when it is in the most authentic collections with a full chain of narration and particularly when it comes from one of the parties to the marriage.

He also claims that a well-regarded imam, Shaikh Muhammad Afifi al-Akiti, “tells [him] that the vast majority of classical scholars throughout Muslim history agreed on a minimum marriage age of 18 – two years older, incidentally, than secular Britain’s current age of consent”. This is an extremely dubious claim, because if it were true then it would appear in at least one of the many basic texts of Islamic law — quite a number have been translated into English, and I have not seen this in any of them.

He continues:

So, how to explain the view of a third of the imams contacted by ITV? The influence of Saudi Arabia, and its decades-long export of a reactionary, retrograde brand of Islam, cannot be ignored. The damage that has been done to a nascent British Islam by pre-modern, Saudi-inspired, literalist dogma is incalculable. Consider this: in 2011, when the Saudi ministry of justice announced it might prohibit marriages involving girls under the age of 14, Sheikh Saleh al-Fawzan, one of the country’s most senior clerics, issued a fatwa to allow fathers to arrange marriages for their daughters “even if they are in the cradle”. To call such a mindset outdated or medieval would be a gross understatement. It’s an endorsement of paedophilia, plain and simple.

I have heard that at least one of the imams who agreed to the clandestine marriage was in fact a Barelvi, so was very unlikely to have been influenced by Saudi Arabia. Most Wahhabis in the West are converts, and for all the marriage-related problems in their community (such as men, including imams, repeatedly marrying and divorcing and having numerous children with different women, in some cases in different countries), underage marriage is not a major problem among them. I strongly suspect it is not that big a problem among Asians either; the problem is forced marriage, and more commonly, young people (particularly young women) not being able to marry whom they choose because their parents want them to marry someone from “back home”, from the right tribe or whatever, and resorting to violence when they resist. Wahhabis’ stance on these issues is no different to those of other traditional Muslim groups, and the fatwa from Salih al-Fawzaan was most likely in response to a query from someone in an Arab country, not a western one, and in any case refers to betrothal. It does not mean that the girl will go to live with her husband’s family while still a child. It does not endorse “paedophilia” at all and will not lead to paedophilic behaviour.

“We have a moral duty to obey the law of the land,” says al-Akiti. For adult men to try to marry young girls is illegal and immoral. But British Muslims have a special responsibility: to make the case that there is nothing Islamic about underage marriage, either.

It actually is not universally agreed that Muslims are religiously bound to obey secular law, as not only can laws be oppressive, have perverse reasons for being imposed and be inconsistently enforced, but in many countries the law is widely flouted by the local population — the behaviour of drivers in almost any Muslim country is a case in point, but even in the west, speeding is fairly common and has been reduced only by the widespread use of cameras. The age of consent law is widely flouted by young people, and the law even bans “sexual touching” when one party is under the age of consent. It is not expected that this will be enforced when both parties are below the age of consent or just above it, but the law remains available (to be used, for example, when a wealthy person wants to get a “pleb” away from his daughter). I asked a visiting scholar from the United States about this issue, and he told me that “you’re not aathim (sinful) by doing 35mph”. The sin is not the breach of the law itself but when it infringes others’ rights or endangers them, gets you into trouble or brings trouble on the Muslim community. In this context, the marriage of legally underage girls is certainly to be avoided, because it is a law that society takes seriously. The minimum age of 16 is not Islamically based, but it is not a ridiculously high age (18 certainly is) to require someone to be to get married; if the age is set much higher, for reasons of population control for example, it would not be a moral duty to respect it (even if it would be politically prudent, and even if justified by those imposing it on girls’ and women’s welfare grounds).

Hasan bleats that he has been accused of “selling out” and “fuelling Islamophobia”. This is exactly what he is doing: writing in a publication mostly read by non-Muslims (and getting paid for it), condemning Muslims (or, for that matter, any other minority religion) for something which is allowed in their religion but which the vast majority do not do. If he wanted to take this issue up with the community, he could have found a Muslim publication to write it in, but perhaps that’s less lucrative. He also plays the “real Muslim” card, telling his powerful friends that Islam is what he presents (based on some dubious fringe scholarly opinion), and not what Muslims actually believe and do — Yasmin Alibhai-Brown regularly plays the same trick. It’s a poor form of apologetics, the sort of dishonesty that gives da’wah a bad name — in particular, the name da’waganda, or material promoting Islam but giving false information about it to make it palatable to a (usually) western reader, when the truth is easily discoverable and the effort will be ridiculed (it hasn’t been on this occasion, primarily because the chief Muslim-haters are busily engaged in trashing the Iranian nuclear deal). The reasons for writing and publishing this piece now are really very flimsy; Muslims in the UK have really nothing to answer for in regard to this, and I am not about to condemn Muslims in Yemen or anywhere else to please him and his audience. He is just one more sell-out holding us up to ridicule for no good reason.

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  • Amro

    It’s like the politicization of FGM: hardly any British Muslims actually practice this, but it’s another stick to beat Muslims with.

  • Fugstar

    Thanks Matthew. well observed. I think articles like Hasan’s are payment in kind for being accepted by the establishment

  • ali khan

    greetings all

    pretty sure i heard a talk by Sidi Hamza Yusuf saying there was a disagreement (ikhtilaaf) about the age of Aisha. i think he mentioned 13 as being the stronger opinion. I might be wrong in my recollection.

    Anyway Mehdi Hassan is the slightly less disgusting twin of Maajid nawaz. How the **#k can you quote usama hasan and expect to be taken seriously. *****n ***t

  • h

    Whatever the age of hazrat Aisha, the fact is go and ask any Muslim and I bet you will find that one of their grandparents or great-grandparents were married young and in full knowledge of the society. Look into the hadith and you will find other examples, other than Aisha, of young marriages.
    Actually, look at the history of any society and you will see this. Please do a wiki on Richard II and you will find that he married a very young French princess. In fact, just do a google search on young marriages in the medieval days and you will find many examples. As an aside, can anyone find out if Shaykh Al-Akiti really said what Hassan claims, or said something that can be misconstrued as such?

  • Abdullah

    Excellent article - Mehdi promotes the establishment ideology and narrative. Lackey comes to mind!

  • Warrior Citizen

    You are nothing more than a Pedophilia Apologist. What your argument fails to take several things into account. 1) The difference in life spans between the 7th Century and today: When the average lifespan is shorter, a we HAD TO procreate earlier to ensure survival of the species. 2) Evolution is an ongoing process. WE have evolved and learned basic facts about biology, physiology and psychology that prove just because a girl is menstruating DOES NOT mean she is intellectually mature enough to Mother a child. 3) Infant mortality rates have proven that just because a 9 yr old girl is Menstruating DOES NOT mean she is physically ready to be impregnated or carry a child to term. Stop fixated on how life was in the 7th Century. Your Prophet (PBUH) would not want you to live in the past but, in the present and make use of the knowledge and science we as a species have gained since then…NOT build false arguments for abusing children.

  • ali khan

    your on the wrong site mate. try haaretz or something. *&~****g shill.

  • Smithafuckwit

    You really are an utter prick. Your blog means fuck all.

  • Fasdunkle

    This is a wonderful article and tells me everything I need to know about islamophobia: the irrational fear muslims have that others might get to understand just what islam is

  • ali khan

    are you really implying that after a thousand years of studying Islam by everyone and his dog that there are still things about the religion that are hidden. Seriously? Get this through your thick fuckin head motherfucker. This isnt kabbalah you dumb fuck.

    Do the decent thing and fuck off back to the rock you crawled from.

  • Suada

    Yuck! Pedophilia appeasement.

  • Fasdunkle

    Not at all my abusive friend. I am merely stating the islam the author is propagating is incompatible with a modern, secular state with equalities and freedoms unknown to 7th century barbarians..

  • Warrior Citizen

    Wrong Argument, mate. Try Inspire or something.

  • Warrior Citizen

    So your argument is: Just because it was done in the past, at a time when humans had shorter lifespans and the need to perpetuate the species required the young to procreate…we should continue in spite of infant mortality rates among married children & lack of consent from young said girls…BTW: Even with the consent of a 9 year old, it’s wrong because girls are not mature enough to make life-long commitments.

  • h

    I think most people here are missing the point. It is not appeasement of paedophilia to state a fact of history. The point is that some Muslims get so ashamed of facts of history that they try to rewrite it. Hence, the idea that medival muslim scholars say that the age of consent is 18 (!?) needs to be proved, not just stated. In any case, it was not only in Muslim history that such marriages happened, but in the history of the majority of the world, so i’m not quite sure why Muslims get singled out.

  • Warrior Citizen

    Because Muslims use a practice from the past (when life expectancy was shorter) that was necessary for the propagation of the species to justify continuing the practice today.

  • h

    Maybe so, but so do many other people in today’s world. It happens in India with Hindus, for example. And alot of Muslim countries don’t do it as much nowadays, except for, perhaps, the more poorer countries and among people who come from that way of living.

  • Fox-News

    Even the “modern secular State” of 19th century wont even be compatible with “modern secular state” of 20th or 21st century. So its a ridiculous argument that refutes its ownself. Secular state is of godless foundation with no direction its “progressing” towards, but instead keeps changing by definition. So by definition it would never be compatible in any absolute sense, not just with religion but even with its own self from generation to generation. What is modern today is history tomorrow.

  • Warrior Citizen

    Deflection doesn’t win the argument. Pointing out other people do it, DOESN’T MAKE IT RIGHT! You want people to stop pointing at Islam and saying they’re Pedophiles, STOP MARRYING CHILDREN. I don’t look at the ethnicity of the Sick bastards condoning Pedophilia, I just condemn it. The fact that the idiot who wrote this BS happens to be Muslim and Used Islam to justify his Pedophilia Apologist BS, invited my discussion of Muslims. Had he been Hindu, my response would have been equally critical of that society.

  • Fasdunkle

    freedoms and equalities are timeless and should be fought for and retained. Backwards ideologies based on old books of myths and folk tales demand that freedom and equality should be resisted - those who believe in them need to be reined in

  • Fox-News

    If it was timeless then that further breaks your “backwards” argument as that would have existed timelessly for all and not exclusive some “modern secular state”. But then “freedom” and “equality”, the big words propounded by West, are all subjectively defined, in your case probably defined in terms of some hedonist ideology that presupposes Humans as animals. Muslims see through that farce and don’t fall for it.

  • Warrior Citizen

    1) Child Marriage is a violation of the Universal Human Right to Self-Determination. 2) Regardless of Religion or Ideology; Scientific Advances lead to longer life spans negating the necessity of younger mothers and exposing the practice of Child-Marriage as physically dangerous (Higher infant mortality rates) and impractical.

  • Fox-News

    Except that

    1) Universal Human Rights was codified in some colonial era.

    2) You presuppose that a child cannot self determine.

    3) You arbitrarily fix an age for what is supposedly considered a “child” that changes from year to year, country to country. So tomorrow you would be a pedophile for considering 16 year old as eligible for marriage

    4) Your not even happy with your own laws and that is why most of these “modern secular” claimants look down up a girl who is married at 16 years old even though by law its perfectly valid. So for someone who isn’t secure about his own law trying to make an argument over Islamic law, is to not look at the log sticking in your own eye.

    5) You suppose that life span is the only reason for early marriage and that in future there would not arise more reasons to get married early.

    6) For some odd reason child marriage is considered only with respect to girls. A boy is never in the picture.

    All comes down to fact that Islamic law is more supreme in not having any fixed age for marriage and instead left depending on the various needs of society’s such that whether a person is living in 6th century or 21st century, Mexico or China, Islam doesn’t create problems there , while “modern secular law” requires everyone to be forced to adopt their ways only to later find that they themselves have changed to something else in an ever continuous cycle of change.

  • Warrior Citizen

    1) Universal Human Right ensure equality for ALL. It is an enlightened (post colonial) concept that didn’t exist in the 7th Century OR “some colonial era.” 2) A child (by definition) CAN NOT Self-determine as they lack the knowledge and experience to act responsibly on their own behalf. 3) The age of consent is NOT arbitrary. It is based on a model of the human maturation process in an enlightened era. A process NOT based solely on the onset of menstruation since that is NOT a biological signal that a young girl is ready to be penetrated, impregnated, carry and bare a child; As evidenced by infant mortality rates among populations where child marriage is the norm. 4) To presume I “look down” on a married 16 year old is a complete misinterpretation of my argument. I “look down” on the Pedophiles who perpetuate this barbaric practice that negates the Human Rights of the child (male or female) to self-determination once they reach the appropriate stage in the maturation process. 5) I never said the life span was the ONLY reason. It its the ONE reason I have presented. It goes hand in hand with polygamy which most civilized nations have outlawed as well. It it no longer necessary to perpetuate the species. 6) Typically little boys are not penetrated, impregnated and forced to abandon education that could lead to something more than being relegated to the position of sex doll or baby factory at 8 or 9 years old. Islamic law is far from perfect for all the reasons I have pointed out and more. The “change” you so in-eloquently complain about is called EVOLUTION. The end goal for all should be Universal Human Rights for ALL.

  • Fasdunkle

    Freedoms are equalities are timeless however their application hasn’t been because of ignorance and the reliance on dogma. Only since humanity has started to throw off the shackles of ignorance and dogmas have freedoms and equalities been implemented although many religious people are determined to have their regressive, repressive, oppressive ideologies applied and they need to be fought against.

  • Fasdunkle

    that’s because islam treats women as commodities to be traded. Base your laws on ancient arab tribal laws and you get an ancient arab tribal society.

  • Fox-News

    1) Universal Human Rights were never universal. Just some colonial era thoughts signed by colonial installed puppet rulers.

    2) Equality is subjective to what you equalize it with. No matter what Universal human rights says, 1 cannot be equal to 2. And equality is not a supreme principle that somehow overrides everything else, as equality is not the ONLY principle that governs law.

    3) Define or benchmark what exactly determines sufficient “knowledge” and “experience” to be ready for self determination.

    4) “Human maturation in an enlightened era” , lol. Again define it in precise terms, and not big words that are just hogwash, after all enlightenment era is a hogwash by itself.

    5) Infant mortality can be a result of many other reasons including poor medical facilities or practices or knowledge. fail.

    6) Dodging the issue. You look down upon the legal age of marriage in your own “modern secular state”. Fact. And tomorrow your children will consider you and your modern state a pedophile. fact.

    7) More contradictions. On the one hound you propound right of self determination while on the other hand this right only comes after an age and until then someone else determines for them. Namely the the ever changing “modern secular state”. Ofcourse, this right being with the parents is a no no “backwards’ ” “medivial” blah blah.

    8) If it is not the only reason then you bringing up that reason is a fail. So is your darwinian philosophy that “perpuetutatng species” is the only reason humans get married. Equating humans to animals, very “enlightened” indeed, going backwards in your evolutionery tale.

    9) Just because western societies dont cater to education of a women bearing a child does not mean that is case everywhere or that is somehow unchangable. The notion that going through 12-14 years of schooling and 4-6 years of college is going to be the norm forever , is also another baseless assumption.

    10) Equating a pregenant women who does not get into 4 years techincal training in some college to work as a economic slave, as a “sex doll”,is something you have to cure your own mindset regarding the role of a women. Perhaps it explains why child porn is more prevealent in the “modern secular state” and because of the shame of it they have to mask it by attacking Islamic law.

    11) Do tell us what your enlightement era gods says as the sufficient conditions for a boy to be ready for marriage.

    12) And finally do explain why your modern secular gods always have the age of consent for sex lower than the age of marriage.

    13) Change without a direction headed towards its called randomness. There is no end goal in “modern secular” philosophy. It always changes.

  • Fox-News

    If humanity was ignorant all along what makes you think you aren’t still ignorant too ? Probability says you are part of the “ignorant” “dogmatic”“regressive”“oppressive” ideology that should be fought against. Reminds me of the commies. They thought they were enlightened too and went about trying destroy Islam. Commie is dead, Islam continues to grow.

  • Warrior Citizen

    1) You keep looking to the past while the rest of us look to the future. Universal Human Rights is a GOAL FOR ALL…hence the “Universal” part. Deflecting by saying it didn’t exist doesn’t negate the necessity to strive for it. 2) False Equivalency won’t win the argument any more than deflection. What is missing in the fight for Equality is opportunity. Child Marriage robs girls of opportunity by cutting short the benefit of education. 1 will never be equal to 2 but with equal opportunity to education a girl can grow up and be equal to her male counterparts. 3) When primary, middle and high school educational requirements have been met. If the Educational System has done it’s job, only then do girls and boys have the Entry-level critical thinking skills to make grown-up decisions. 4) Grow up and stop playing dumb. We are more enlightened NOW than we were in the 7th Century. Look for yourself. You needn’t look farther than your own home to see the technological and scientific advances. 5) Prove infant mortality is NEVER the result of a a young girl not ready to be penetrated and impregnated by a full grown man even though she has started menstruating. 6) Your question was specifically why are little boys not considered. Dismissing my answer does not make it less relevant. Little boys are not penetrated, impregnated and forced to abandon their education following pre-mature marriage. FACT.

    7) Self-Determination is only possible after every effort has been made to EDUCATE. Technological and Scientific advances have required the human race to extend the educational requirements to keep children competitive and successful in the local and global market places. 8) At our most base we ARE Animals. We are Evolving Biological Creatures. Diminishing the Enlightenment by stating one fact without the other is disingenuous. 9) To state that there are case where child brides are permitted to continue their education DOES NOT negate the majority of cases where said bride is impregnated and the education process is slowed or stopped in favor of motherhood. The most effective way to control people is to keep them ignorant. 10) I didn’t make up the description. It exists. Marital Rape is not a made-up term. A child bride is far more likely to be a head cook, maid, bottle washer sex slave in her new home than to be a CEO. It happens and denying it won’t make it untrue. Again, Grow up. The other thing that is true is Mothers feeding their babies opium to keep them docile long enough for her to complete her days work weaving, sewing or doing whatever manual labor she is eligible for without her proper education. 11) I have NO God. The proper age of consent is the same for a boy as it is for a girl. Despite the fact that the boy will not be impregnated, he will impregnate and should be able to support any children he fathers. 12) There is no Secular God. Secularism simply makes individual freedom more attainable. My question is why is the age of consent usually lower for boys than girls when girls are known to mature faster? You are correct that the age of consent should be the same for sex AND marriage. We simply haven’t reached that stage in our evolution or enlightenment. 13) The “End Goal” is Universal Human Rights for ALL. That simply means Individual Freedom. Freedom to choose who to marry, what opportunities to seize and what God to worship or not to worship at all. My American Muslim friends tell me their believe American Secular Society has brought them closer to their God. They are able to submit to HIS will freely…without interference from any outside entity.

  • Amro

    How did so many idiots find this place?

  • Amro

    And where exactly is paedophila being endorsed here?

  • Fasdunkle

    Because we have started to throw off the shackles of religion in the west. In muslim countries however they remain in thrall to old books of myths and folk tales which make basic freedoms and equalities illegal. Eventually you will grow up

  • Fasdunkle

    anybody who wants to marry a girl of 12 is a pedophile

  • Amro

    Where is that said in the text of this article?

  • Warrior Citizen

    The entire Article implies it’s ok based on religious standards of adulthood.

  • Fox-News

    1) Except that there is no reason humans have to abide by some rules written by ordinary dead men of 19th century or by someone who presupposes their daddys were monkeys. So stop bringing that up.

    2) Your the one making false equilance, by relating marriage to education while negating the other hundred factors why education is abondobed in lesser rich countries. Your forefathers robbed other countrys and got rich and so you get privilege for education. Dont miss that part.

    3) what exactly are the educational requirements that are provided in primary, middle and highschool that provide the thinking skills for determining marriage ? Are you needing 22yrs of marriage councelling before marriage ?

    You have no clue why compulsory education in technical subjects and skills was imposed by modern state.

    4) Well then so are we more enlightened than some dumb 19th century “enlightenment” gods. So are my children more enlightened than you. So am i enlightened tomorrow more than you are today. What a self refuting argument. Technological growth does not in anyway imply enlightement in other fields of knowledge. Nor does growth imply enlightnment just as finishing the construction of a building does not make you more enlightened than someone who built its foundations. Moreeover, all discoverys pop into the mind through just sudden thoughts or even dreams and nothing to do with any enlighment gods of 19th century.

    5) Prove infant mortality only occurs because of early marriage.

    And what about marriage of the elderly ? As you get old your thinking and ability to self determine decreases and so do health issues in getting preganent. What fancy name are you going to make demonise an old person getting married ?

    6) Another repeat of the failed argument of education. Why is it always girls considered, as in what about if a boy wants early marriage ? Do all your enlightened arguments fall apart then and construct some other imaginary arguments and statistics ?

    7) What education is sufficient education for self determination ? Do we have to get masters in rocket science too ? And what makes you think the education you took 15 to 20 years to achieve, would not be obtainable in 5 years in the future ?

    8) What makes you think success is determined only economic standards ? Just because you live in a consumerist freak society, dont mean it would remain the same forever.

    9) Except that your thinking isnt really evolving by comparing humans to animals standards.

    10) Again false equating of marriage with education.

    11) Just because you see motherhood as backward dont mean everyone sees it as so. Maybe you need a CEO wife to feed your butt. Not everyone.

    12) More ganja smoking statistics.

    13) So what age is a boy able to support a child ? What if he lives in a joint family that have plenty of family members to support the child ?

    14) If you havent reached that stage of enlightement what makes you think you have reached any stage at all ?

    15) Why does secularism make freedom to live with Islamic law more difficult if its really supposes to make it more attainable ? Or maybe secular law applies only for hedonists ?

    16) You say the end goal of secular state is “Individual freedom”.

    But when exactly is this freedom even achieved ? What is it that you need to be able to do declare yourself as free or does it keep changing generation to generation in a never ending moaning over freedom ? Is your freedom being limited by a limited number of factors that is known or an umlimited infinite factors that has to be fought against for infinite number of years ?

    Are all limits against freedom ? How about speed limit on roads ? If not, then how do you determine what is freedom or not freedom ?

    How is a secular state restricting a childs freedom equivalent to granting them freedom ? Or now all of a sudden you slip in principles of education and health thereby self refuting your notion that “freedom is end goal” ?

    What makes you think freedom is defined as hedonism ? Is it freedom for a dog to have the right to lay eggs ? Why dont you scientifically discover ways for you or secular men to get preganent so you can be more free ?

    Why are you denying humanity the freedom to form societys and laws (eg. Islamic laws) governing it in the way they want it rather than be dictated by 19th century dead men ?

    All humans are born into family and societys and by nature they are restricted by them. So does individual freedom imply the destruction of family and society ?

  • Amro

    I would argue that this article argues that age of consent is specific to whatever society and time you happen to be living in. Like how you could be acting within the law in Spain but be a paedophile in the UK. It depends on the society.

  • Fasdunkle

    your argument is islamic law trumps national law, it doesn’t. If you want to live by 7th century arab tribal laws then find a society which does so and go and live there because the west is tired of bending over backwards to accommodate the endless regressive demands of the likes of you

  • Fox-News

    Your getting it twisted. No muslim has actually been bent upon trying to appply Islamic law in non-muslim country. Nearly all recognise the right to obey or respect the law of the land. Its actually you guys trying to impose 19th century laws on Muslims and demonise them and impose blockades on them to reduce Muslims to desperate poverty until Muslims live and behave like you.

  • Warrior Citizen

    1) The reason (you keep deflecting every time I say it) is Individual Freedom and Equality. Implying that Evolution took place only after 1939 when my Dad was born is ignorant hyperbole and won’t sway anyone’s position on the issue of Child-Marriage. Also, the pluralization of daddy is daddies not daddys. 2) First, you misspelled equivalence, abandoned and country’s. Second, marriage is an adult responsibility. Education is ONE example of necessary steps to take toward maturation to make someone ready to enter into an adult commitment. I never said Child-Marriage was the ONLY factor for which education is not available in poor countries. 3) The process of education itself provides the opportunity to develop critical thinking and problem solving skills. It is a multi-year process of practicing those skills through studying, class participation, reading and writing. Math is an excellent subject that teaches on multiple planes. No, marriage counselling isn’t necessary prior to marriage and 22 years of it is just another example of how hyperbole will not win the argument. I DO know why education is compulsory. The next generation will eventually be caring for the prior generation. To ensure the survival of the species, we MUST see to it that tomorrow’s leaders are educated. Also, High School is two words, not one and you misspelled counselling. 4) There are NO “enlightenment” gods. It’s a stupid phrase that doesn’t strengthen your pitiful and pedophiliac pro-Child marriage argument. Enlightenment is a process. Just like Evolution. Yes, when we seek knowledge we become enlightened. When we cling ignorantly to tribal traditions born from patriarchal misogyny, we are unenlightened and doom our children to ignorance. Technology is influence by MANY other fields and in return provides the tools to learn more about other fields. You are correct (for once) growth does not equal enlightenment. Starving children of education, knowledge and nurturing ensures they stay ignorant and pliable. Also, self-refuting is hyphenated, you misspelled moreover once and enlightenment 3 times and “anyway” the way you used it is 2 words, not 1. 5) Not Just infant mortality but it contributes to the deaths of young mothers as well. Young girls’ bodies lack maturity even at the onset of menstruation and are NOT designed to be penetrated, impregnated or give birth. But here are 2 studies & 1 article that back up my claim.

    A)
    http://www.ibtimes.com/babies-danger-child-marriages-linked-high-infant-mortality-rates-across-south-asia-1444674

    B)
    http://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2013-10-28-young-brides-and-infant-mortality.aspx

    C)
    http://health.ucsd.edu/news/releases/Pages/2013-05-13-high-rates-of-child-brides-and-maternal-and-infant-mortality.aspx You misspelled pregnant and demonize and self-determination is hyphenated. I have nothing against 2 mature adults capable of running their own lives making choices for themselves. If a man wants to start a family with a woman who hasn’t gone thru menopause and neither of them has been deem incompetent to make legal decisions, I say go for it. 6) Your repeated failure to grasp the answer does not invalidate it. Child-marriage is wrong. Full Stop. Whether it’s the bride or groom who’s below the age of consent and I have said so. Don’t pretend I didn’t. Huge Stinks are not made over boys because their education is not usually cut short by pregnancy or motherhood. Usually when asking a question, the punctuation goes NEXT TO the last word in the sentence, why do you keep inserting a space between the end of the question and the question mark? <- See, like that. 7) Once again, “self-determination” is hyphenated and hyperbole just makes you look stupid and petty. I’m quite sure there will come a day when everything I learned during my academic career will be compressed to make room for knowledge and information we don’t yet have. But as a rule, as the knowledge base grows so should the time it takes to impart that knowledge. 8) I NEVER said economic standards are the only measure for success. Also, there’s an apostrophe in the word don’t. 9) I never said comparing humans to animals evolved my thinking. I use the comparison of the human animal to other animals as an example of instinctual behavior designed to perpetuate the species by procreating young and with multiple women when our lifespans were shorter. 10) I don’t equate marriage with education. I use education as a benchmark for the point in human growth when most humans are past the phase in human development where many decisions are guided by emotionality and hormones rather than critical thinking and problem solving skills. Also the point where every opportunity has been given an individual to practice those skills before making life changing decisions. 11) I NEVER said motherhood was backward. I implied (repeatedly) that forcing motherhood on a 9 year old just because she happens to be menstruating is backward. I need neither a wife, nor a CEO to feed any part of me…especially my butt. I support individual freedom which means if an adult (at or above the age of consent) chooses to be a Mother or a CEO; I have nothing to say about it. 12) Stop making things up. It is a well-known fact of the human condition that girls mature faster yet, the age of consent for boys is lower in many cases. 13) Even if cultural norms and situations permit pooling of resources, it won’t negate the maturity factor. It isn’t enough to pay for the child. It must also be cared for and nurtured. Proper parenting must be modeled to perpetuate the cycle effectively. That requires maturity. 14) Stupid question. 15) Either you misread my statement or you’re being willfully obtuse. My statement was: My American Muslim friends tell me their believe American Secular Society has BROUGHT THEM CLOSER to their God. They ARE ABLE to HIS will freely…WITHOUT INTERFERENCE from any outside entity. Muslims are free to live by their code BUT, (like any other religion in America) their Religious Freedom ends at their skin. No one is permitted to impose a religious standard on anyone else beyond raising your own children in the faith of your choosing. The caveat being: as long as your religion doesn’t endorse the practice of child abuse…Child Marriage fits into that category. 16) When referring to a child’s freedom or using the word don’t, please use apostrophes. Self-refuting is hyphenated, and you misspelled pregnant, societies and unlimited.

    I’m not going to write a Parenting 101 guide in the comments section of this blog for you so, after this I will no longer answer questions not directly related to my position on child marriage. Kid’s freedom isn’t restricted in a secular state beyond what is necessary for personal and public safety. In an Enlightened Society, kids below the age of consent are not considered responsible for their own actions (within set parameters) so, their boundaries should be determined by their parents within the guidelines of a given society provided those boundaries are not abusive and do not stagnate personal growth. There again is no magic combination for everyone. The goal is to raise them to be responsible, independent adults who can fend for themselves and prepare the next generation to do the same.

    Individual freedom is achieved exactly how I described it: Freedom to choose who to marry, what opportunities to seize and what God to worship or not to worship at all. When religious standards are no longer forced on others and opportunities are equal. My freedom IS limited by both factors known and unknown. A Just and Enlightened society balances public safety (thus, speed limits, ages of consent, regulating working condition in industries, etc.) with Individual Freedom. I have yet to see any society do it “perfectly.” I doubt I ever will because humans are Notoriously Imperfect being. I NEVER said hedonism defines freedom. The follow-up questions about dogs and pregnant men are stupid (probably weed generated) purposeless and unworthy of a reply. Nor do they refute my position that Child Marriage is wrong. I am not standing in the way of anyone forming a community of worshipers who have common beliefs. Religious Laws (when not directly contributing to public safety) are fine on an individual or consenting community level but should NEVER be imposed on the non-religious or people of different faiths. Doing so is a violation of Individual Freedom. I have a friend who defines Religious Law as the rules and preparation for facing G-d’s Judgment and going to paradise while Secular Law allows people of different faiths to live in peace and pursue their own path to Paradise. The family unit is imperative to the survival of any society. I have NEVER implied otherwise.

    Your repeated attempts to take the conversation farther away from the inappropriateness of Child-Marriage will not work. There is a maturation process must be complete and the age of consent is not an arbitrary number. It’s based on a model of that human maturation process. Will it change, probably but will NOT go backward. Marrying a 9 year old girl was common and necessary for the propagation of the species in the 7th Century. NOW, it is child abuse perpetuated by pedophiles. Defending it make you no better than a pedophile yourself.

  • Fasdunkle

    You are complaining because islam isn’t supreme in the west, well hard luck, it never will be. You had your chance during the muslim colonial era and were turned back.

    If you want to live like 7th century arab war lords and slavers there are plenty of countries offering that.

  • Fox-News

    Ah another marathon reply dodging every point I made and instead trying to do some spell check over something written from a mobile.

    So just more blah blah “enlightenment” blah blah “freedom” blah blah “I never said so”. Nothing specific and concrete. So what exactly is the sufficient education required for marriage ? Answer : { Insert some long stretch of answer about the benefits of learning rocket science } What is freedom? Answer : {Insert some long stretch of circular answers and mention marriage in between to somehow indicate its connected to the subject } What is early marriage wrong? Answer: {Pick up all the issues the lesser rich countrys face and just mention early marriage to make some artificial relationship to it and then gloat about how well rich country’s lead their lives and how they get to be a CEO}.

    At the end of the day, your children will consider you a pedophile anyway.

  • Warrior Citizen

    I answered almost every point right down the line despite how painful it was to look at your ignorant spelling punctuation and grammar. The 2 or 3 points I skipped were not relevant nor worthy of response. Your repeated references to Rocket science are childish and irrelevant. I have stated a clear case AGAINST Child-Marriage for a variety of reasons any moderately intelligent human being can understand without denigrating the poor. Your refusal to accept (or inability to understand) the position doesn’t make you right, it makes you a Child-Rape Apologist and a miscreant.

  • Warrior Citizen

    Placing the age of consent below 16 is child sexual abuse. Forcing 16 year olds to marry against their will is facilitation of Rape.

  • Amro

    Well, in this country and in this era, yes, absolutely. My guess is that as Peter Tatchell and other secular liberal fundamentalists take hold of policy, the age of consent will be lowered to about 13. And then people like yourself are going to shamelessly try to defend that using your bizarre, flexible logic.

  • Fox-News

    You wish you answered.

    Lets look at the comedic scene of the modern secular marriage ( although modern secular ideology has actually killed the idea of marriage, but ill let that pass). So one has to get all the enlightenment and blah blah before marriage and be a CEO. So approx of 25 years of studies is needed or else the enlightenment gods would strike lightning upon us. Now add to that all the pseudo scientific babble about health (Note: just ask your old generation of grandmas who made children in thrice the numbers and started quite early in age, and yet more healthy than any modern secular women, and you can see through the pseudo scientific babble) which includes that beyond 35 years of age it is “scientifically” a risk to get pregnant and fertility decreases by age 30 onwards. So that leaves 5-10 years of period to have a child. But a modern secular actually gets married by 30 (after all the fornication of course) and needs even further more stretch of years of being a economic slave to be considered a “successful women”. So they have to continue to remain without a child and be a economic slave for being a successful CEO until they find themselves too late for anything. So in all that leaves them with no space to fit into the pseudo enlightenment babble of “modern secular society” without the secular gods striking enlightened lightning upon them one way or other.

  • Warrior Citizen

    You don’t even know me. If Peter Tatchell wants to lower the age, he’s a pedophile. I would stand as firmly against him as I do you.

  • Fasdunkle

    you really are ridiculous

  • Warrior Citizen

    I answered clearly. Your failure to comprehend does not negate the clarity with which I answered every relevant (& a few irrelevant) question. You insistence that marrying kids under the age of 16 is ok betrays your true nature. You are at bet a Pedophile Apologist and at worst a Closet Pedophile using tired and irrelevant (to the health and welfare of children) arguments to justify sexual intercourse with kids.

    Mocking enlightenment, education and knowledge as well as insisting on childishly referencing the none-existent “enlightenment god” does not sway the argument your way. The goddess of enlightenment is a Hindu construct to which I do not subscribe, nor is there a secular “god.” It just makes you look more like an idiot than the Closet Pedophile I believe you to be.

    My grandparents did start younger that the current recommended age…and their all dead so I can’t ask them anything. I NEVER endorsed waiting until 35; I said I would support anyone who did wait. By then they’d have gained enough knowledge and life experience to make an informed decision regarding having children. I also never said every woman had to become a CEO before getting married. I used it an example of what any woman can be if they so choose in a free society. Your childish mockery and myopic nit-picking will not sway the argument your way. Nor will artificially narrowing the fertility window with your educational hyperbole.

    Are you going blame your mobile for using your instead of you’re, misspelling countries (again) the lack of an apostrophe in let’s, the arbitrary space between the parenthesis and the first parenthetical word, the missing hyphen in pseudo-scientific, us of the word a instead of an (TWICE) AND the run-on sentence from hell?

  • Fox-News

    Another dodge with the exact same style. But whatever. Hit me up when your children call you a pedophile. Id like to see the stupidity on your face.

  • Amro

    I haven’t explicitly stated my position on this. If it makes feel any more comfortable, I agree with keeping things the way they are.

  • Warrior Citizen

    I’m not satisfied with the status quo. I would like to see the age of consent Raise to 16, globally in recognition of Universal Human Rights.

  • Warrior Citizen

    Where is the dodge? I answered your questions as you reveled your true nature. You’re a Closet Pedophile, incapable of acknowledging how morally wrong you are. Keep hiding behind sarcasm and hyperbole and telling yourself you’re winning. You have the wrong user handle. It should be: Charlie Sheen. BTW: thanks for an almost perfectly structured response for once but, there’s an apostrophe in I’d.

  • Warrior Citizen

    I ascribe the age 16 as a MINIMUM globally. In the United States, individual states have the power under the constitution to set the age of consent. Most (if not all) have mandatory schooling laws up to age 16. Even states where 16 isn’t the standard age of consent there are laws that permit them to become emancipated minors (legal adults) under certain circumstances. None of which negates the fact that anyone who engages in sexual intercourse with anyone else below the age of consent it a pedophile. Congratulations on expanding your thoughts without any more spelling or grammar eye-sores. But cleaning up the presentation doesn’t change your status as a Pedophile Apologist or a Closet Pedophile.

  • Fox-News

    Even dodging that. LMAO. Ill again repeat in quite basic simple terms: In New York, you are a pedophile. You should be ashamed of yourself.

  • Warrior Citizen

    Childish to the end. Advocating against sexual intercourse with kids under the age of consent does not make ME a pedophile. Pedophiles engage in sexual intercourse with kids under the legal age of consent. When have I done that or said I’ve done that during this discussion. I haven’t. YOU on the other hand openly condemn recognition of ANY post-menstrual ‘age of consent law.’ YOU clearly demonstrate contempt for Individual Freedom or Human Rights and Self-determination. In doing so, you empower the Patriarchal Cultural Misogyny that breeds Child-Marriage. You consistently fail to provide supporting facts. You are clearly at best, Pedophilia Apologist or at worst a Closet Pedophile. Which is it? What would the FBI find on your computer’s hard drive?

  • Fox-News

    LMAO. You spin in your grave too.

  • Amro

    That’s a noble cause, but how would you sell that to the impoverished parts of the Yemen, India or Somalia, where people marry young for fear of early death etc.?

  • Amro

    To clarify, are you against just marriage below 16 or both sex and marriage below 16?

  • Warrior Citizen

    Both.

  • Warrior Citizen

    By working with like-minded activists with the same goals.

  • Warrior Citizen

    Keep talking. Every word that defends Child Marriage reveales your true nature.

  • Ibrahim

    For all those that think we are babarians with an ancient religion, why don’t you spend just FIVE minutes and look into the SCIENCE that is in the Qu’ran. How the fetus is created, the atmosphere surronding the earth, it is all in there. Also know that unlike the Bible, the Qu’ran has NEVER changed in 1400 years, not a single word, period, or exclamation point! And this was passed down through a oral tradition. How is that possible? If you take just ten people and whisper a word into the first one’s ear, by the end, the word has changed. Think about it.

  • Warrior Citizen

    1) Let’s be clear, Ibrahim: I NEVER said ALL Muslims are Barbarians. I never said most Muslims are Barbarians. I said Muslim men who perpetuate Child Marriage in THIS century are Pedophiles. 2) As for the Qu’ran: You’re wrong. It has changed and it has been altered. None of it matters. What matters is PROTECTING YOUNG CHILDREN FROM THE IGNORANT AND FALSE JUSTIFICATION OF PEDOPHILIA.

  • Fasdunkle

    there is no science in the koran, just desperate muslims like that idiot Naik desperately trying to shoehorn modern discoveries into nebulous passages in an old book.,

  • Warrior Citizen

    When it comes to violence against women, there are few practices as harmful, or as widespread, as early marriage. It is not just the intense emotional and social pressure that the young bride is put under. Fundamentally, it violates a girl’s right to determine her own future – how can a child give her “consent” to marry when she is just 10 or 12 years-old? - Desmond Tutu