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Indian Muslim Observer story on Delhi HC verdict on 15-year-old Muslim girl marriage finds way in American newspaper ‘The Desi Times’

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IMO News Service 

New Delhi: The uproar on Delhi High Court verdict allowing a 15-year-old Muslim girl to marry upon attaining puberty refuses to die down. The storm kicked up by this verdict has virtually divided the community. Several women and girl rights activists are up in arms strongly opposing the verdict in every possible way. On the other hand a section of so-called Muslim leadership, which believes in foisting and vociferously advocating retrograde issues, continues to warmly welcome the verdict. The Delhi High Court, however, pronounced its verdict on “elopement marriage” of a minor Muslim girl with her paramour instead of arranged marriage threatening to open floodgates for such marriages and creating social chaos in the society.

The verdict has also found echoes among South Asian community, popularly known as Desi, in the USA. Recently, a popular newspaper focusing on South Asians “The Desi Times” has picked up an analysis published in Indian Muslim Observer written by Danish Ahmad Khan, its Founder-Editor, and highlighted as its cover story. The analysis has been published in its latest issue (Volume XII No. 109, Friday, June 29, 2012 - Page 4).

The issue of a minor Muslim girl marriage has already started creating repercussions across India. In a latest update on this issue, the Perambalur district administration tried to stall the marriage of a 17-year-old Muslim girl in Tamil Nadu on the ground that she was a minor and had to face strong protests from an umbrella body of Muslim organizations in the state.

According to a report published in ‘The Indian Express’ on July 14, 2012, the 'Federation of Tamil Nadu Muslim Organisations and Political Parties' on Saturday (July 14) said the officials of Social Welfare Department in Perambalur had on June 25 prevented the marriage of the girl which was to take place in the presence of her parents and the groom.

The federation president Abdur Rahman had claimed that the officials acted on the orders of District Collector Collector Darez Ahamed and lodged the bride in a government home and arrested the groom.

Citing a recent Delhi High Court verdict on the issue, Abdur Rahman said that according to the Islamic law a Muslim girl can marry as per her choice at the age of 15 if she has attained puberty.

Abdur Rahman said, “Our Shariat Law allows a woman to marry, once she attains puberty. Our Constitution recognizes this. So, the district administration cannot stop the marriage saying it was a marriage of a minor girl.”

The 'Federation of Tamil Nadu Muslim Organisations and Political Parties has threatened to hold an agitation in front of the Perambalur District Collectorate on July 17 demanding that the social welfare officials be dismissed from service.

Though the fringe Muslim organizations are trying to protest against the government to establish the rule of law by stalling the marriage of minor Muslim girls, but there are other sections in the Muslim community bracing up to give a befitting reply to fundamentalist Muslims, organizations and political parties trying to suppress Muslim women and girls and continue to maintain their vicious stranglehold.

Recently in New Delhi, a lecture on ‘Women’s Empowerment’ was held on July 8, 2012 under the auspices of Dr. Q. H. Khan Foundation and World Muslim Media at Zakir Nagar (Oklha). The lecture was addressed by Dr. Sabiha Hussain, Professor, Dr. K. R. Narayanan Centre for Dalits and Minorities Studies, Jamia Millia Islamia, and Shabnam Khan, a prominent Human Rights Activist. Both these eminent speakers stressed the need to empower women through education. Dr. Sabiha Hussain asked the participants, a number of them young girls, to know their rights and responsibilities. She also asked them to resist early marriage if pressurized by parents, and only marry after gaining sound education and only on/after 18 years of age, which is the legal age for marriage in India.
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