The following article was written for RaymondIbrahim.com by an American teacher in the Muslim world
A few months ago, I had an interesting conversation with my manager, Rana, a Libyan in her late twenties. The discussion began on how she, with many other Libyans, long for the days of peace and tranquility (under the “brutal” dictatorship of Qaddafi). After listening to her difficulties in mentally coping with the daily kidnappings and killings, I asked her,
“Beside peace and security, what else do you miss from the Qaddafi era?”
After a few moments of reflection, she answered,
“Teenage brides! Qaddafi put an end to teenage brides.”
Rana then explained that in 1984, Gaddafi implemented LAW 10, a law that required all women under the age of 20 to convince a judge that she was ready to be married. The intentional inconvenience of LAW 10 by the Libyan authorities (difficulty getting a court date) resulted in most teenage girls and young women finishing high school, attending university, and taking on careers in education, medicine and other fields usually reserved for men. [The mean age for Libyan women to be married for the first time rose from 18 years in 1960 to 32.9 years in 2010.]
Rana continued by stating that since the fall of Qaddafi in 2011, large sections of Libya have been under the control of different Islamic militias who have naturally abandoned LAW 10. As a result, girls as young as 12 years old are being sold as second, third, and fourth wives to older men, some of them in their 70s. When I asked her if she knew of nine or ten year old girls being forced into marriages, she said that she wasn’t aware of it, but that she wouldn’t be surprised if such things were happening in areas under the control of the Islamic State.
Before going our own ways, I asked Rana if there were some Libyans who were vocally critical of teens being sold off as brides. She quickly responded that anyone who criticizes these marriages is reminded – sometimes violently – that the Prophet Mohamed himself had teenage wives and concubines. [Mohammed actually married Aisha when she was six years old and had intercourse with her when she was nine.]
With the recent declaration by the General National Congress in Tripoli that Libya is a “Muslim State” with Sharia as the source of its legislation, I think it is safe to assume that it is only a matter of time before child brides become the official law of the land, transforming little girls into mere sex objects for Muslim men who wish to follow the example of their beloved Prophet Mohammed.