Child marriage: 12-year-old girl given in wani to 85-year-old

Published: October 1, 2011

" Ahmed said that Faiz had taken his wife from him and therefore ‘owed him a wife’. Then he agreed to take his daughter," Eyewitness Raheem Shah.

FAISALABAD: 

A 12-year-old girl was given in marriage to an 85-year-old man in Chiniot on Friday.

According to eyewitnesses, tehsil Bhowana Adlana Japay resident Faiz sold his daughter Rani to his rival for five acres of land.

Eyewitnesses told police that Faiz had allegedly killed his cousin, the groom, Ahmed’s sister Anwar Bibi 8 years ago and a panchayat decided that he would give his daughter to settle the blood debt.

(Read: Film, discussion seek to raise awareness)

After being released from jail last week Faiz wed Rani to his rival Ahmed, who said that he had also paid for the girl by giving land. Residents informed police chowki in- charge Mangwana Zafar Baant about the case but he initially said that it was not in his jurisdiction to arrest people accused of wani.

Faiz was arrested by the police and was booked under section 302 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) eight years ago and remained in jail during the trial of the case. However, with the intervention of elders of the area, a deal was struck between the relatives of deceased Anwar Bibi and Faiz’s family.

Anwar Bibi’s family said they would pardon Faiz in the presence of the relatives of both parties and elders of the area during if he gave the hand of his 12-year-old daughter Rani Bibi to Ahmad.

“Ahmed said that Faiz had taken his wife from him and therefore ‘owed him a wife’.

Then he agreed to take his daughter,” eyewitness Raheem Shah said.

Ahmad is 82-years-old and is a wealthy landlord owning more than 20 acres of land. “He was married thrice. His first wife died young and the second got a divorce. The third, Anwar Bibi, was murdered by Faiz,” Shah told reporters. “The deal also stipulated that 5 acres of land be given to Faiz for handing over his daughter and the property has been transferred,” he added.

The nikah of Ahmad and Rani Bibi was solemnised 3 months ago but the marriage ceremony as held on Friday and was attended by over 100 people.

When contacted, Langrana Station House Officer (SHO) Zafar Bhatti said that he had conducted a raid but found that no laws were broken. “I cannot arrest anyone here because the girl is an adult as per Islamic Law and Shariah. She is 12-years-old and that is not too young for marriage,” he said.

“I have submitted a report with the court in this regard and it is up the court to prosecute,” he added. “The marriage needs a wali and her father is her guardian. It was his choice to give her in marriage,” he said.

Age is not just a number

As per CRA section 2,.(a) “child” means a person who, if a male, is under eighteen years of age, and if a female, is under sixteen years of age;

(b) “Child marriage” means a marriage to which either of          the contracting parties is a child;

(c) “Contracting party” to a marriage means either of the   parties whose marriage is or is about to be thereby solemnized;

(d) “Minor” means person of either sex who is under eighteen years of   age.

In this case girl was according to the parents is 12 years old, however the area SHO stated that she was an adult according to Shariah law.

According to Section 5 of the CRA, the punishment for solemnising a child marriage is as follows

“Whoever performs, conducts or directs any child marriage shall be punishable with simple imprisonment which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both, unless he proves that he had reason to believe that the marriage was not a child marriage.”

Similarly, Section 6 says that the “punishment for parent or guardian concerned in a child marriage.

(1) Where a minor contracts a child marriage any person having charge of the minor, whether as parent or guardian or in any other capacity, lawful or unlawful, who does any act to promote the marriage or permits it to be solemnized, or negligently fails to prevent it from being solemnized, shall be punishable with simple imprisonment which may extend to one month, or with fine which may extend to one thousand rupees, or with both:

Provided that no woman shall be punished with imprisonment.

Published in The Express Tribune, October 1st, 2011.

Reader Comments (39)

  • Ali S
    Oct 1, 2011 - 2:50PM

    Tragic. Pakistan’s biggest enemy isn’t India, America or any other political force – it’s jahalat like this. And the strongest weapon against this enemy is education. May Allah have mercy upon this society and this poor girl.

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  • mjmannish
    Oct 1, 2011 - 2:55PM

    6 year 56 year, consummate at 9 years. Long tradition………whats so wrong.

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  • let there be peace
    Oct 1, 2011 - 5:19PM

    Station House Officer (SHO) Zafar Bhatti said that he had conducted a raid but found that no laws were broken. “I cannot arrest anyone here because the girl is an adult as per Islamic Law and Shariah. She is 12-years-old and that is not too young for marriage”
    .
    Technically speaking he is right.
    After all Pakistan is not secular republic of Pakistan but ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’
    The legal sections mentioned in article can be changed. It is a man made law. Sharia is God’s law, hence it is for all the people and for all the times.
    Can anyone refute my statement?

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  • let there be peace
    Oct 1, 2011 - 5:23PM

    Station House Officer (SHO) Zafar Bhatti said that he had conducted a raid but found that no laws were broken. “I cannot arrest anyone here because the girl is an adult as per Islamic Law and Shariah. She is 12-years-old and that is not too young for marriage”
    .
    Technically speaking he is right.
    After all Pakistan is not secular republic of Pakistan but ‘Islamic Republic of Pakistan’
    The legal sections mentioned in article can be changed. It is a man made law. Sharia is God’s law, hence it is for all the people and for all the times.
    Can anyone refute my statement?

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  • Oct 1, 2011 - 6:17PM

    Anybody who thinks 12 years of age is “not too young for marriage” ought to do humanity a colossal favour by diving into a wood-chipper. That’s all I can say.

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  • Ali S
    Oct 1, 2011 - 7:59PM

    @let there be peace:

    Even if you get past the age issue (the man is old enough to be her great-grandfather), this girl is being bartered off by her father as a price he’s paying for his crime, she didn’t consent to this marriage. Hence it’s still wrong any way you look at it. The educated ones should be ashamed at themselves for defending something like this.

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  • R S JOHAR
    Oct 1, 2011 - 8:31PM

    Sharia is already being practiced in Pakistan so no wonder Pak Taleban is gaining upper hand each passing day.

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  • Malik
    Oct 1, 2011 - 8:36PM

    No Islamic rules were broken here. Muhammdn (PBUH) married Aisha when she was 6, and consummated the marriage when she was 9. Islamic law does not specify a minimum age of marriage. Sahih Hadith state that if a girl is pre-pubescent and still a virgin, her father has the right to marry her to his choice of husband, even if it is against her will. This is the law of Allah and no human should question what Allah has made permissible. That would be bidah (innovation), and haram.

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  • let there be peace
    Oct 1, 2011 - 9:44PM

    @Ali S:
    how can you say ‘she didn’t consent to this marriage’ ?
    do you think when mullah asked her ‘qabool hai?’, she said ‘no’?

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  • Waseem
    Oct 1, 2011 - 9:57PM

    @let there be peace:
    So where in sharia does it say that a girl is an adult when she is 10? Or12?
    It depends on the environment of the place you live in and in Pakistan it is belived that a girl is an adult when she is 16. So stop twisting islam and stop helping shaitan. You support the terrorist who are killing the innocent people as well dont you? By showing the cherry picked verses from Quran and not learning the meaning of them is a big sin. May Allah guide us all and help us understand islam better and teach illetrate people like this person about beautiful teaching of islam.

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  • Joe Al-Kafir
    Oct 1, 2011 - 10:11PM

    Way to keep it classy, Pakistan!

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  • Bytes
    Oct 1, 2011 - 10:32PM

    @Malik: No you are wrong. Marrying a girl to someone without her will is haraam, thats what I read in a fatwa once. Can you prove the authenticity of the hadith?

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  • Leila Rage
    Oct 1, 2011 - 10:39PM

    @ let there be peace:

    A 12 year old can easily be forced into saying “qabool hai” with threats and intimidation from her parents. Just look at the case rationally: This wasnt a marriage at all. This was like the pre-Islamic tradition of trading women like cattle.

    @Malik:

    Forced marriages are completely UNISLAMIC, so please don’t talk insanity such as “father has the right to marry her to his choice of husband, even if it is against her will”. This is NOT Allah’s will.

    Also, both of you don’t seem to realise that the anciet arab traditions you speak of were prevalent about 1400yrs ago. Thats a LONG time ago. The world has changed. Such “marriages” no longer provide security for young girls. Instead these practices are now responsible for the rampant paedophilia in our society, because the men involved in today’s times are the most depraved people possible.

    Right now you’re willing to say that this is fine and no law was broken. Fine, believe that if you will, but when (God forbid) such young girls are forcibly married and raped, tortured and treated as slaves then may the sin and crime be on your conscience as well. Recommend

  • Truth From Pakistan
    Oct 2, 2011 - 4:06AM

    So this 85 year old man instead of going to the grave decided to bring in grand daughter age bride…….puke ! And even that to settle a dispute…?? more puke !

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  • Oct 2, 2011 - 7:19AM

    We trade in women to settle scores and for land…………… DUH !

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  • Sindhu Desh
    Oct 2, 2011 - 11:09AM

    1400 year old tradition being continued. Well done Pakistan!

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  • USA Citizen
    Oct 2, 2011 - 11:23AM

    If this is so UNISLAMIC then why is it in your papers almost every day? Why is it legal? Why are there men from Pakistan here on this page defending it? I think the guy with the woodchipper idea had the most respectable thing to say about someone marrying a little kid !!!

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  • A True Muslim
    Oct 2, 2011 - 12:18PM

    The real issue is not the child marriage but the trade off. the law of Allah states that if a man kills someone then he must pay the price by “A life for a life” here he was pardoned because he traded his daughter. That is immoral, unethical and unislamic. This is the real illetracy that even though everyone claims to be a muslim they fail to understand Islam. If you really want justice then behead the man. If you want constitutional justice then put him in jail. Also the marriage is Islamic as long as the man allows the girl to stay and leave of her own will. If she wishes to divorce him him then she has every right according to the shariat law. Lastly people need to stop saying shariat is Allahs law when they are misinterpreting shariat. You cant justify spreading illetracy in the name of Allah.

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  • Leila Rage
    Oct 2, 2011 - 6:11PM

    @ ATrue Muslim:

    How is the marriage Islamic? The man married a CHILD young enough to be his GRAND-DAUGHTER, he’s a PERVERT. Such a young child (especially in our society where children are kept in the dark about these matters) knows nothing of marriage or married life. This is an extremely traumatic and scary experience for children like this girl, and YOU say that its FINE? That its ISLAMIC???

    When will you and people like you realise that God expects us to use some common sense and stop allowing, even sanctioning, paedophilia by saying such practices are “Islamic”. I wonder how you’d react if you’d been given off in wani like this girl.

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  • Oct 2, 2011 - 7:49PM

    Pakistan has been completely colonized by the Arabs.

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  • Cycloneous
    Oct 2, 2011 - 10:46PM

    Some individuals here are saying that the marriage is okay because she was married under islamic law. Some argue because the law of Pakistan says its okay to marry.

    This little girl, yes, little girl, was married against her will to a perverted man. This girl’s father and “husband” ought to be shot dead, yes, dead! This little girl can not consent to the marriage just because her father said so. This girl more likely than not will be abused, raped and enslaved by her “husband” because of her father.

    This not a comment against the people of Pakistan, but honestly, Pakistan has a lot of work to do when it comes to the rights of children, especially females. We, here in America, are just in shock over this and we shake our heads at you guys because of it. There are traditions(???) that are best left in the 7th century Arabia.

    To those of you who are saying that this is okay, and purely “islamic” under “the religion of peace;” what would you say if it happened to you? Common sense dictates that this is WRONG and any one saying that this is appropriate ought to have their heads examined.Recommend

  • A True Muslim
    Oct 3, 2011 - 12:01AM

    @ leila rage, u did not understand my meaning. I was giving the condition that Islam has set. It is that both people stay in the marriage of their own will. Which was clearly not present in this situation. I was not justifing this marriage nor was i calling it islamic. But was merely explaining how a marriage is islamic.I was not justifing this marriage nor was i calling it islamic. But was merely explaining how a marriage is islamic. That is why i said “as long as”.
    Please understand what i am saying before attacking it.

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  • walbran
    Oct 3, 2011 - 3:55AM

    It boggles the mind, doesn’t it? “It’s the law of Allah”. No, it’s not. It’s the law of mad men. Once you can see past that, islam collapses.Recommend

  • Mir
    Oct 3, 2011 - 9:48AM

    I wonder why people only talk against muslims.. while other countries like”
    Canada: Varies by province, but generally 18 years old, 16 years with parental consent, 14 years with judicial consent.
    USA
    Massachusetts: 18 for first marriage, 14 (male) 12 (female) with parental and judicial consent
    New York: 18, 16 with parental consent, 14 with parental and judicial consent
    Georgia: 18, 15 with parental consent, 16 without parental consent if pregnant.
    Hawaii: 18, 15 with parental consenteorgia: 18, 15 with parental consent, 16 without parental consent if pregnant
    Indiana: 18, 17 with parental consent, 15 in the case of pregnancy with both parental and judicial consent
    Pennsylvania: 18, 16 with parental consent, 14 in case of pregnancy and with the approval of a Judge of the Orphans Court
    Utah: 18, 16 with parental consent, 15 with court approval.[
    Colombia: 18, 14 with parental consent
    Venezuela: 18, 14 for females and 16 for males with parental consent
    Mexico: 20, 18, 14 for pregnant females with legal consent.Recommend

  • Blue Bells
    Oct 3, 2011 - 1:46PM

    This is sick, its like a barter system exchange a daughter and hey u get 5 acres of land what a deal! All of these sick, perverted acts exist as a result of illiteracy and the fact that no one cares about an innocent human life. These people use islam as a shield, they grossly misinterpret the verses, the hadith and use it as a protection for their acts. Yes the Prophet(s.a.w) married Ayesha(r.a) at a very young age, but the fact is that at time in arabia women use to mature at an early age and the fact that we know that the Prophet would have never exploited her, and it was an order from Allah. And we know that this old 85year old will harm the poor girl horribly, reminds me of a account i read in readers digest of a 10 year old girl married off in Yemen, how her husband exploited her and how she begged her parents to free her but they didnt, she than escaped and went to the court and after a long process got a divorce. The fact that she didnt have her say in the marriage makes it invalid, well lets hope that she whacks the old budddha on his head ”qabar mein paaoun latkayai batheiin hein”

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  • Sonia
    Oct 3, 2011 - 2:52PM

    @malik
    the nikkah under islamic practices REQUIRES the girl to be asked “qabool hay?” no matter WHAT the age..this is in reference to what some malik person said above, that the girl has no right -> if a girl is pre-pubescent and still a virgin, her father has the right to marry her to his choice of husband, even if it is against her will.

    the right is BUILT in, in the process of the nikkah, so as long as she had a nikkah performed, she had the right.

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  • Munir Khan
    Oct 4, 2011 - 5:34PM

    @let there be peace:
    Before we enter into debate please confirm that you would be happy for your sister or daughter to be married at 12 to a 80+ man.

    You make me physically sick with your attempt at justification of this!!

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  • Munir Khan
    Oct 4, 2011 - 5:35PM

    @let there be peace:
    Do you think that a 12 year old CHILD has the mental capacity to make an informed choice.Recommend

  • Munir Khan
    Oct 4, 2011 - 5:38PM

    @Mir:
    @mjmannish:

    But none at age 12yrs, so you have no point whatsover!!

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  • Leila Rage
    Oct 4, 2011 - 9:52PM

    @Mir: Maybe you need to realise that we focus on Pakistan because we’re PAKISTANIS and so what happens in OUR country concerns us. I mean what do I care about what’s happening in all those countries you’ve named…I don’t LIVE there.

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  • Leila Rage
    Oct 4, 2011 - 9:56PM

    @Malik: If innovation and free thinking is a sin, then I wonder why the Prophet (PBUH) encouraged Qiyas and Ijtihad…which involves thinking about laws and reasoning them out rather than following them BLINDLY (which is what you suggest we do). Islam wasn’t meant to freeze in the type-set of Arabia 1400 years ago, it was meant to be a religion for all times to come, meaning that it would be relevant to every time period, and not be stuck in practices which are NOW harmful to people such as child marriages.

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  • Cycloneous
    Oct 5, 2011 - 1:01AM

    @mir You pointed something very interesting. You mentioned that the places, here, in my country, in the United States have those ages to marry for young teenagers. First and foremost, it is VERY frowned upon to marry teenagers, especially under 18.

    As a matter of fact, it can get you labeled here in America as a pedophile. So if you’re a 40 year old guy, wanting to marry a 17 year old, sure go ahead, get married as the law allows you to but good luck finding housing, a job, friends or a welcoming community and if you’re lucky finding trusting family members, because you’re labeled as a pedophile.

    Also, God help you if you are arrested and prisoners find out you’re accused of being a pedophile because prisoners in jail or prison here in the U.S. do NOT like rapists, pedophiles or any one that they believe harm children.

    Last but not least, you shouldn’t concern yourself with what happens here in my country because it is not my country that has the problem, but yours.

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  • let there be peace
    Oct 5, 2011 - 4:55PM

    @Munir Khan:
    Before we enter into debate please confirm that it is not about what I or You think ; it is about the divine law which is final and clear message from the supreme god for all the people for all the time.

    @Leila Rage:
    Qiyas and Ijtihad would be fine to clear any ambiguities due to changing times e.g. in which direction astronaut should pray, what should be punishment for ciber crime etc.
    But for rest of the worldly matters divine message is already clear why do you want to change it? Wouldn’t it be blasphemy to change Allah’s law? If it can be changed and re-interpreted, then other religion people also re-interpret Bible and other scriptures to suit modern values; so what was the need to send Holy Quran to holy prophet (PBUH) ? Wouldn’t Allah have allowed other religion people who also re-interpret their books and don’t do any sins also in the heaven? Remember Allah almighty had sent holy Quran as a final and clear message and prophet Muhammad (PBUH) was the perfect human being ever and we should try to emulate him as much as possible.

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  • Munir Khan
    Oct 5, 2011 - 7:03PM

    @Let there be Peace

    You make a bold but ultimately false statement.You state that it is a “divine law” and that it cannot be changed.That being the case please can you point out to me in which verse of the Holy Quran it states that “Vani” is legitimate? Or which verse states that an 80yr old man can marry a 12yr old in settlement of a land dispute or any dispute whatsoever!!

    It is the absurdity & ignorance of some that Islam is portrayed as primitive, when in fact it is the most beautiful of faiths that has been disfigured by jahaalut.Instead of condemning what is clearly wrong ethically,morally, & scripturally, you seek to justify it.

    Also, at least have the courage to use your real name and say boldly that you would be happy for your 12 year old daughter or sister to be married in this way to an 80 year old man, rather than make these ignorant & foolish remarks!!Recommend

  • Cycloneous
    Oct 5, 2011 - 8:34PM

    @let there be peace

    I do not believe people are suggesting to change your holy book, but rather to reinterpret your holy book in terms of modern and present day context.

    You don’t see us Christians in the West stoning people to death or putting in prison women for being raped and than accuse them of fornication or because they decided to make an adult decision on whom they choose to love and be intimate with. Why is that? The answer is simple, because we have re-evaluated our texts and understand that was a practice suited when it was appropriate based on those times and laws.

    We understand that the practice is not suited for the present time because we know the responsibilities that come along with being free thinkers, and free individuals. We understand that religion is a personal matter and not a matter of the state like in most islamic countries.

    It is not blasphemy to reinterpret your texts, but it is blasphemy to be ignorant of them in present day contexts. Falirure to understand present day relativvism, or ignorance on your part of your religion does not constitute blasphemy or a problem on our part!

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  • let there be peace
    Oct 5, 2011 - 9:43PM

    @Munir Khan:
    So the only confusion is about tradition of “Vani” and “settlement of a land dispute” whether the tradition can have legitimacy under Islamic law. As @A True Muslim said in his comment ‘The real issue is not the child marriage but the trade off.’
    We can keep aside “Vani” and “settlement of a land dispute” as controversial sub-point, yet on rest of the point we’ll all agree, right?
    (although I’m still unable to comprehend if the girl said yes how could it be illegel. Even marriages of much older sons and daughters are performed in the same manner as marriage in Islamic traditions are arranged by elders. Are we going to call that also as ‘trade off’? Not if they both said ‘yes’. How is that different from this case if they both said yes).

    Please don’t get personal. How is using real name going to make any difference to the discussion of legal matters? As I said it has nothing to do with what I or you might think as person, or about modern western, far eastern or Indian values. Human beings are mortal people and their values and opinions may be influenced by worldly factors. That is why Allah almighty sent a clear and final message to guide humanity. And since the issue concerns ‘Islamic’ republic of Pakistan and not secular republic of Pakistan our discussion should be about legal application of Holy Quran and Sahih Hadiths. Why do the English speaking people on this and such forums assume that the Qazis performing these marriages and all the attenders are illiterate and unaware of Islamic law? Surely all the Islamic scholars in Arab world, Afghanistan, Iran, Pakistan etc who have studied Islam and Arabic language for their entire life can not be ‘illiterate’ and ‘ignorant’.

    Good night. May Allah guide and bless you.

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  • Leila Rage
    Oct 5, 2011 - 10:05PM

    @let there be peace: Exactly as cycloneous said, I’m not asking you to change the laws, Im just asking you to think about them. The Quran does NOT encourage child marriages or paedophilia unlike you seem to think. Maybe we ought to alert the Pakistani child protective services about you…

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  • Munir Khan
    Oct 6, 2011 - 12:30AM

    @Let there be Peace

    It is not a case of being personal but of facts.Why do you seek to impose something that you would not be happy to impose on your own daughter or sister – it is that simple.It is outright hypocrisy to try and defend something that is both immoral & un-Islamic.How on earth do you think a 12 year old CHILD could give informed consent??
    What happened in the past or in history is not relevant and I could quote many things that happened in the past that we no longer practise today.Fundamentally, this is about basic humanity.
    Islam is a humane religion and a progressive faith it was always ahead of its time in granting rights to women.The Islam that granted inheritance rights,divorce and banning infanticide hundreds of years before the west is now practising barbaric and activities that damage the name of Islam.
    I am outraged that any sane human being particularly who has a child or sister could even imagine that anything like this could be tolerated in today’s day & age.Please stand up for the sake of Islam and AGAINST Juhaalut!

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  • Cycloneous
    Oct 6, 2011 - 1:54AM

    @Munir Khan

    I pray for the day that people in your country and religion will stand up for the sake of their faith and speak out against this type of nonsense. As much as I oppose and disagree with islam and its teachings, I really do pray for the day that muslims will stand up and take back their religion.

    However, as long as people empower imams and clerics to write these ridiculous fatwas/edicts, to make laws as they see fit for their own interests, nothing is going to change; especially for Pakistan. In reality, that saddens me a lot, because I have good friends who are Pakistani, and they would never condone the nonsense that is happening in Pakistan but yet people look at them and wonder why these things are happening and no one is stopping the nonsense.

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