Given the constant stream of stories of brutality toward girls and woman, some have come to recognize that the “Muslim World” that Obama courts so assiduously is a cesspool of misogynistic brutality in which every female — from little girls to old women — is a potential victim. Reports documenting the latest depravity are no longer greeted with disbelief or even shock by those who have come to appreciate the fate that awaits many a small Muslim girl whose “fathers … are the brokers of their misery, selling them to old men for . . . what? To pay off debts? To pare down the number of mouths to feed?” The latest comes from Yemen:
A 13-year-old Yemeni girl has died of injuries to her genitals four days after a family-arranged marriage, a human rights group said
The practice of marrying young girls is widespread in Yemen and has drawn the attention of international rights groups seeking to pressure the government to outlaw child marriages. Legislation that would make it illegal for those under the age of 17 to marry is in serious peril after strong opposition from some of Yemen’s most influential Islamic leaders.
As we learn with each of these incidents, the victims whose stories make the papers are not the exceptions but the rule — one enforced by clerics and courts:
More than a quarter of Yemen’s females marry before age 15, according to a report last year by the Social Affairs Ministry. Tribal custom also plays a role, including the belief that a young bride can be shaped into an obedient wife, bear more children and be kept away from temptation.
Last month, a group of the country’s highest Islamic authorities declared those supporting a ban on child marriages to be apostates.
A February 2009 law set the minimum age for marriage at 17, but it was repealed and sent back to parliament’s constitutional committee for review after some lawmakers called it un-Islamic. The committee is expected to make a final decision on the legislation this month. …
The issue of Yemen’s child brides got widespread attention three years ago when an 8-year-old girl boldly went by herself to a courtroom and demanded a judge dissolve her marriage to a man in his 30s. She eventually won a divorce, and legislators began looking at ways to curb the practice.
In September, a 12-year-old Yemeni child-bride died after struggling for three days in labor to give birth, a local human rights organization said.
Yemen once set 15 as the minimum age for marriage, but parliament annulled that law in the 1990s, saying parents should decide when a daughter marries.
Obama and his dutiful but largely mute secretary of state, Hillary Clinton, don’t spend much time on things like this. They are entirely absorbed with grave matters such as Jerusalem apartment permits and whether a peace can be imposed on the one democratic country in the Middle East in which women enjoy equal rights and the protection of the law. The Obami don’t spend much time on human rights at all these days — whether it is a student rotting in Evian prison or a 13-year-old girl who has bled to death, no doubt in excruciating agony. You see, it’s not so much the Muslim people who are receiving the attention of the Obami but rather their oppressors, with whom Obama imagines he can do business or get along in some fashion. If there is a more cynical and less hope-filled approach to the Middle East, I’m hard pressed to conjure it up.