65% of Brides in Muslim Yemen are Children

That number rises to 70 per cent in rural areas.


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.