Friday, 17 December 2010

On Maryam, the 14-year-old bride


Dear Sir,

I refer to your articles and letters regarding Maryam Mahmod, the 14-year-old bride, namely:-
It is good that this case has been brought to the fore in our country. Here is a perfect example where the usual attendant element of coercion is totally absent from the picture. The girl consented, her parents consented, and the Syariah Court approved. So, the only issue left is whether a 14 year old girl marrying a 23 year old man is right, or wrong.

Many say that it is wrong. They give reasons. Good reasons. They are entitled to their opinion. I respect that. Here's mine: I think that they are wrong. I think that they are imposing their world view and values on Maryam and her family. That is wrong. For Maryam and her parents made the decision freely - and that decision was scrutinized by the Syariah Court; and it approved of that decision.

Whether that decision is right or wrong remains to be seen. But only Maryam, her parents, and indirectly, the Syariah Court, will be the ones who will bear the burden and blame should things go sour in the future.

As of right now, no law has been broken. No one has been forced to do anything against their wishes. So who are we to say that we know what's best for that family? How dare we?!

Just because they don't share your world view that a child has to finish schooling, get a job, have savings, get a car, a house and only THEN think of marriage does not make them a lesser human being than you. It does not mean that you are smarter or more enlightened. It just means that they look at life differently than you do. Bear this in mind: Maryam and her family did all of this on the up and up. They were scrutinized by the Syariah Court. They participated in a public wedding ceremony for goodness sake.

It's all good to talk about rights and freedom. But that includes the right for someone else to do something that you personally think is stupid - as long as it is not illegal.

Jason Kay
17 Dec 2010