65% of Brides in Muslim Yemen are Children


The case of Nada Al-Ahdal , the 11 year-old girl from Yemen who escaped a forced marriage, and an eight-year-old girl who died of internal injuries on her wedding night, are not that unusual.

Last year Yemeni police broke up the wedding a 9-year-old girl. But how representative are these horrifying cases?

More representative than you would think.

Child marriages are rampant in Yemen. A study revealed that the bridal age in more than half of the finalised marriages in Yemen was under the age of 15. According to the study conducted by Sana’a University, only 7 per cent of “husbands” were under the age of 18.

It also added that nearly 65 per cent of females are married “underage,” while that number rises to 70 per cent in rural areas.

Even within the same Islamic groups, people differ in their opinion on a minimum age group. There are “religious extremist and traditional” powers that refuse any legal move to set a minimum age for girl, arguing that there is no minimum age for marriage in Islamic law.

“Accordingly, these groups that have popular basis don’t want to lose these bases by supporting the move.”

While child marriage predated Islam, there is no question that Islam helps perpetuate child marriage, along with female genital mutilation and honor killings.

  • john spielman

    vile Islam. God the Lord will judge you and your followers. Jesus said that it would have better for a millstone to be tied around your neck and you be cast into the sea than harm these little ones!

    • Ronin

      I once saw an article or maybe a post where a doctor listed 8 to 15 reasons why tween and teenage (low teenage 13, 14 or so ) pregnancy was a bad ideal. One reason was fatty liver. For some reason being born to a teenage mother in her low teens significantly increased the chances of the baby being born with a fattly liver, which not conducive to good health.

      I don’t know if I saved that item, but I believe that you know where to look up this information very quickly.

      Myself I would argue in terms of a bathtub curve using the facts that you studied in med school to proved the explanation or causal factors.


  • Jeanne

    Could the author answer a question for me: I was discussion with someone from my church regarding the issue of child marriages in Islam, and she responded that the Jews married off their daughters early as well, as if there is no difference. Mr. Greenfield, how would you respond to that? Because to my knowledge, Jewish girls weren’t being given in marriage to older men and being abused as they are in Islam. Women were treated much better in Judaism. Am I not correct about this?

    I would very much appreciate your response on this. Thanks so much.

    • Daniel Greenfield

      There was a time when child marriage was common in general. It isn’t anymore in the civilized world.

      Islam is used in Muslim countries to argue for child marriage. No other normal clergy are urging marriages to twelve year olds on religious grounds.

      • Jeanne

        Thank you for your response. It seems to me that marriage has always been a much different “deal” in Judaism than it is in Islam. (I once saw a copy of an old Jewish ketubah, for example, which required that the husband not “make his wife cry”.)

        Also, according to Genesis 24, Rebekah’s family actually asked her if she wanted to go with Abraham’s servant to marry Isaac. In vs. 57-58 we read that they said, “We will call the girl and consult her wishes. Then they called Rebekah and said to her, “Will you go with this man?” And she said, “I will go.” So they did not force Rebekah to go; she went of her own accord.

        – Jeanne

        • Daniel Greenfield

          Yes, a forcible marriage is legally invalid.

          But I think it’s more important to look at standards today, because a battle had to be fought in the West to raise the age of consent, for example, and the people fighting for it were Christian women.

          • Jeanne

            Good point – thanks.

          • Avigayil

            The Talmud–(which is mostly a collection of discussions on the application of Jewish law) says in one place that “a man should not marry off his daughter until she is old enough to say ‘Him I want'” In another place it discusses penalties for crimes, and it is mentioned that the rapist of a girl under a certain age should be considered as a murderer because the act could kill her. Jewish law also very much takes into account medical knowledge. There is a law in Judaism which suspends almost all religious commandments in order to save a life. Since it is a undisputed medical fact (that apparently has been known for a long time, since it’s in the Talmud) that intercourse with a young girl is likely to be fatal or cause serious injury, then consummating the marriage is no longer a holy act, and becomes forbidden by Judaism. In Judaism men are religiously required to marry and procreate, whereas women are not. (Women are, of course encouraged to help men to do this, but they don’t have to) A reason in Judaism that it cannot be a direct commandment to women is because pregnancy and childbirth can be life-threatening and one cannot be religiously mandated to put oneself in such danger in order to preform a religious precept.

          • Tim

            Very interesting. Sometimes citing passages can get boring, but this is not one of those cases. There are many non-Jewish readers here. It would help immeasurable if you cited passages to document.


  • Charles

    Compare Islam and say England

    “One thousand marriage certificates from 1619 to 1660 in the Archdiocese of Canterbury show that only one bride was 13 years of age, four were 15, twelve were 16, and seventeen were 17 years of age while the other 966 brides were at least 19 years of age at marriage. And the Church dictated that both the bride and groom must be at least 21 years of age to marry without the consent of their families”


    • Ken W

      Difference between the cult of islam and the England of today is simple—
      England has evolved into a civilized society and has outgrown the caveman mentality of the cult.

  • defcon 4

    Is “Thank allah for Little Girls” a popular tune in Yemen?

    • ZZ

      It’s probably the national anthem.

  • tanstaafl

    Child marriage is halal in Islam.

  • ZZ

    “There is no minimum age for marriage in islamic law.”

    Barf. Is there anything about that cult that doesn’t induce uncontrollable vomitting?

  • Hass

    Islam, a Paedophiles heaven.

  • oldtimer

    USA= same sex marriage. Is that just a stepping stone? What is next? pedophilia and marriage to children to appease the muslims?

  • Ignatz deFyre

    Archaic rules, laws and beliefs can take a long time to become extinct. Let’s remember that for every such situation, a rationale once existed. In the course of social, political, spiritual and scientific progress, rationales evolve but the beliefs and rules linger on.

    One problem with religious proscriptions such as “must reach puberty” is that puberty, up to the mid-1800’s, was 17 or 18, but today could be as early as 8-10.