A 14-year-old Muslim girl has been rescued by authorities after being sold into marriage by her mother. The terrified young girl was given away to an adult man more than twice her age. The Imam who officiated at the disturbing wedding now faces criminal charges.
Melbourne police arrested Imam Ibrahim Omerdic, 62, after viewing a video of the ceremony. Omerdic somberly pledges the child’s away in the back of a mosque. Her tremblings are ignored. She sits passively while her husband-to-be hurriedly signs the marriage documents.
The young girl’s mother watches in satisfaction. She allegedly agreed to the marriage after the groom gave her a $1,480 gold necklace. A child was traded for the price of two iPhones.
“If [your husband] is happy with something, do it. If [your husband] is not happy with something, don’t do it,” Omerdic told the girl during the ceremony.
At one point, someone whispers, “she’s very young.” The wedding continues regardless.
One of Islam’s many crimes against women is the acceptance of child brides. Following the example set by Mohammad, Muslim men often desire very young girls as their sexual partners. The girl’s agency is completely ignored as she’s virtually sold off to a stranger. The young Melbourne bride first met her groom a few days before the wedding.
Most cultures frown upon grown men preying on little girls, but the sickening practice is condoned by many devout Muslims. Girls are ripped out of schools and forced to become mothers and wives without their consent.
“There are a number of reasons why families are opting for child marriage for their daughters,” said a spokesperson for Save the Children, a prominent charity. “As refugees, Syrian families are reliant on dwindling resources and are lacking economic opportunities. At the same time, they are all too aware of the need to protect their daughters from the threat of sexual violence.”
Dwindling economic resources is a poor reason to sell your child. Yet girls have so little value in Islam that their parents are willing to trade them for a relatively small amount of money. Australia is incredibly expensive. The $1,480 that the young victim’s mother received in exchange for her daughter is a paltry sum. Fast food workers on the continent average more money in their paychecks.
But why work a legitimate job when you can make money through your child?
“The longer the crisis in Syria lasts, the more we will see refugee families using this as a coping mechanism,” said Michele Servadei, deputy Jordan representative for Unicef. “The vast majority of these cases are child abuse, even if the parents are giving their permission.”
According to reports, the official rate of child marriage in Syria before civil war broke out was around 13 percent. The actual number may be far higher. Refugee children are marrying at a rapid rate. Nearly a third of the refugee marriages in Jordan involve an underage girl.
“These guys from the Gulf know there are families in need here,” a refugee and mother of four identified as Amal told the BBC. “They offer money to the family and the first thing they ask is ‘do you have girls?’ They like the young ones, around 14 and 15.”
It’s deplorable. Young women are being preyed upon like pieces of meat. A 14-year-old child has no business being married. It’s hard enough for Western cultures to host Muslim migrants without having to worry about rampant child abuse.
“I am not scared of divorce. I know I will start a new life, but I am scared that my daughter will be taken from me,” an anonymous migrant woman told the BBC. “I will die without her. A mother’s heart burns if her child is taken from her…I am scared of having the baby because I feel I won’t be able to look after it. I wish I could have continued my studies and become a doctor and not got married so young.”