CNN’s relentlessly favorable coverage of Islam is well known. It is useful to recall, however, that this has not always been uniformly the case. The fact was little noted at the time, but just over one year ago, there came a welcome surprise: CNN inadvertently helped to undo a nine-year-old Afghan girl’s marriage to a 55-year-old Afghan man.
The story was here: “9-year-old girl sold into marriage rescued after CNN report,” by Brad Dress, The Hill, December 3, 2021:
A 9-year-old girl was recently rescued from a marriage to an older man in Afghanistan, CNN reported on Thursday….
That she could be sold as a child bride at the age of nine deserves to be explained. That was the age at which little Aisha, betrothed to Muhammad three years earlier when she was six, was finally deemed by Muhammad to be of an age where the marriage could be consummated – that is, Muhammad could, and did, have sexual intercourse with her.
The report in The Hill goes on to explain that the girl, Parwana Malik, was rescued after her father and the man in his fifties to whom he sold her “changed their minds.” They didn’t change their minds in any moral sense, but simply felt the pressure of CNN’s detailed coverage of their “bargain,” which they sensed, correctly, might be bad for their, and Afghanistan’s, image.
Last month, Parwana was sold because her father needed the money to support the rest of his family. The sale for $2,200 worth of goods was made against the wishes of Parwana’s mother and brother.
CNN accompanied the family when the transaction took place in the mountains of Afghanistan, with Parwana telling the news outlet at the time her father “sold me to an old man.”
“My father has sold me because we don’t have bread, rice and flour,” Parwana said.
A Muslim father’s despotic rule over his children is sanctioned in Islam. A father who adheres to the strictest Muslim rules can even kill his child without fear of punishment, if that child has done something to shame the family. Think only of the two daughters of Egyptian immigrant Yaser Said, Amina and Sarah, whom he shot to death in his taxicab on Jan. 1, 2008, not in Egypt, but in Texas, because he felt his daughters had “dishonored” the family by dating non-Muslim boys. He managed to remain uncaptured for twelve years because he had the help of both his son and several of his brothers, all of whom, as devout Muslims, saw nothing wrong with his “honor killings.”
Parwana, the nine year-old who had been “sold” as a bride to a 55-year-old Afghani, was mistreated from the get-go:
After two weeks with the man, she reported mistreatment. “They treated me badly, they were cursing me, they were waking me up early and making me work.”
Apparently she was sold into domestic slavery. It’s unclear if, along with the hair-raising treatment she received as a house slave, she was also used as a sexual object, or if that would come later.
After CNN’s story aired, bad publicity surrounded the father and the older man. The two worked out an arrangement for Parwana to be returned, while the family would owe him the $2,200.
It was not some sudden fit of remorse that caused both the father and the husband of the nine-year-old bride to undo the bargain, but the bad publicity for them which resulted from the CNN report on the grotesque exchange.
Marriage under the age of 18 is illegal in Afghanistan, but it is widespread. From 2018 to 2019, 83 child marriages and 10 cases of selling of children from six months to 17 years old in the Herat and Baghdis provinces were reported, according to the United Nations.
While it is true that in Afghanistan, the marriageable age of girls is still, according to the law, eighteen, that is a holdover from the pre-Taliban period. In practice, there are many who ignore that law and marry girls much younger. Soon enough, the Taliban, which has been very busy making life hellish for girls and women in Afghanistan (latterly by expelling all females from the country’s universities), will reduce that minimum marriageable age to nine. That, of course, is the same age that Aisha was when Muhammad consummated his marriage to her – videlicet, had sexual intercourse with her.
After the Taliban takeover of Afghanistan in August, the country has fallen into crushing poverty, with 97 percent of Afghans estimated to reach poverty level by 2022.
Afghanistan is a country now plunged into total poverty, despite the two trillion dollars spent by the U.S. on its Afghan misadventure. And of that sum, much of it spent on military operations, hundreds of billions of dollars were plowed into the country as aid money. It was just months before the final takeover of Afghanistan that the Biden Administration, terminally naïve and confused, sent an additional one billion dollars in aid to Kabul. That money promptly disappeared, with much of it being taken by President Ashraf Ghani with him when he fled Afghanistan for a fabulously endowed life, thanks to the Bidenites, as an exile living in the United Arab Emirates. The American government has not, as of this writing, tried to get any of that money back. The Bidenites may be too embarrassed to admit that their sending that final one billion dollars to the reigning crooks in Kabul was a colossal error.
Marriages in return for dowries were common even before the takeover, the U.N. added.
That UN statement appears to be an attempt to normalize this sale of a nine-year-old girl for $2,200 – lots of people do it, you see (“marriages in return for dowries were common even before the takeover”), so don’t get your knickers in the twist or try to turn this into a justification for an “Islamophobic” attack on Muslims.
But this transaction was not a case of a dowry being given. A dowry is a payment, such as property or money, paid by the bride’s family to the groom or his family at the time of marriage. The payment in this case was not paid by the bride’s family but, rather, paid by her future husband to her father, in what could reasonably be described as a purchase-and-sale agreement.
What does this episode tell the Taliban, now the absolute rulers everywhere in the country, about what must now be done in Afghanistan? They will harden their resolve, and not again yield on their principles, including the group’s deep misogyny expressed in this sale of a girl-child. It will from now on take a much firmer stand, stop its mollycoddling of the Infidels, kick CNN out of the country, and for that matter, expel any other media organization based in the West that publishes reports deemed inimical to the rule of the Taliban. That will cause many of those organizations to cravenly yield to what the Taliban demands, and will exercise severe self-censorship in their reports from Afghanistan.
And having done all that, the Taliban must remedy its own oversight, and pass a law reducing the marriageable age of girls from 18 to 9 years, something that it ought to have seen to back in 2021, just as soon as it completed its conquest of the whole country, and the Americans had flown away. Fortunately, there’s no sell-by date for proposals to make the lives of Afghan girls and women even more hellishly unpleasant than they have already become. Make Afghanistan again a place where the most fanatical Muslim will feel quite at home.