New Age Islam
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Islam, Women and Feminism ( 30 May 2010, NewAgeIslam.Com)

Child Brides Escape Marriage, but Not Lashes

Indonesian ethnic dresses showcased

TV Soap Dramatizes Islam's Cultural Clashes

Two Female Priests Buried as Church Outsiders

Women worry Afghan peace jirga will harm rights

Al-Jazeera anchors quit in clothing spat: Reports

Freedom fighter’s daughter acid burnt

Six-month-old girl married off in Swara incident

Woman gunned down at her house by ‘brother-in-law’

Woman seeks NSHR help to reunite with husband

Businesswoman calls for more Saudis in jobs

Saudi women step forward smartly

Sex and the Sharia

If I were a woman, would have ‘reveiled’ a little

Indonesia bans ‘tight pants’ according to ‘Sharia Law’

Islam grants women due status: CII chief

Compiled by New Age Islam News Bureau

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/child-brides-escape-marriage,-but-not-lashes/d/2922

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Child Brides Escape Marriage, but Not Lashes

By ROD NORDLAND and ALISSA J. RUBIN

May 31, 2010

KABUL, Afghanistan — The two Afghan girls had every reason to expect the law would be on their side when a policeman at a checkpoint stopped the bus they were in. Disguised in boys’ clothes, the girls, ages 13 and 14, had been fleeing for two days along rutted roads and over mountain passes to escape their illegal, forced marriages to much older men, and now they had made it to relatively liberal Herat Province.

Instead, the police officer spotted them as girls, ignored their pleas and promptly sent them back to their remote village in Ghor Province. There they were publicly and viciously flogged for daring to run away from their husbands.

Their tormentors, who videotaped the abuse, were not the Taliban, but local mullahs and the former warlord, now a pro-government figure who largely rules the district where the girls live.

Neither girl flinched visibly at the beatings, and afterward both walked away with their heads unbowed. Sympathizers of the victims smuggled out two video recordings of the floggings to the Afghanistan Independent Human Rights Commission, which released them on Saturday after unsuccessfully lobbying for government action.

The ordeal of Afghanistan’s child brides illustrates an uncomfortable truth. What in most countries would be considered a criminal offense is in many parts of Afghanistan a cultural norm, one which the government has been either unable or unwilling to challenge effectively.

According to a Unicef study, from 2000 to 2008, the brides in 43 percent of Afghan marriages were under 18. Although the Afghan Constitution forbids the marriage of girls under the age of 16, tribal customs often condone marriage once puberty is reached, or even earlier.

Flogging is also illegal.

The case of Khadija Rasoul, 13, and Basgol Sakhi, 14, from the village of Gardan-i-Top, in the Dulina district of Ghor Province, central Afghanistan, was notable for the failure of the authorities to do anything to protect the girls, despite opportunities to do so.

Forced into a so-called marriage exchange, where each girl was given to an elderly man in the other’s family, Khadija and Basgol later complained that their husbands beat them when they tried to resist consummating the unions. Dressed as boys, they escaped and got as far as western Herat Province, where their bus was stopped at a checkpoint and they were arrested.

Although Herat has shelters for battered and runaway women and girls, the police instead contacted the former warlord, Fazil Ahad Khan, whom Human Rights Commission workers describe as the self-appointed commander and morals enforcer in his district in Ghor Province, and returned the girls to his custody.

After a kangaroo trial by Mr. Khan and local religious leaders, according to the commission’s report on the episode, the girls were sentenced to 40 lashes each and flogged on Jan. 12.

In the video, the mullah, under Mr. Khan’s approving eye, administers the punishment with a leather strap, which he appears to wield with as much force as possible, striking each girl in turn on her legs and buttocks with a loud crack each time. Their heavy red winter chadors are pulled over their heads so only their skirts protect them from the blows.

The spectators are mostly armed men wearing camouflage uniforms, and at least three of them openly videotape the floggings. No women are present.

The mullah, whose name is not known, strikes the girls so hard that at one point he appears to have hurt his wrist and hands the strap to another man.

“Hold still,” the mullah admonishes the victims, who stand straight throughout. One of them can be seen in tears when her face is briefly exposed to view, but they remain silent.

When the second girl is flogged, an elderly man fills in for the mullah, but his blows appear less forceful and the mullah soon takes the strap back.

The spectators count the lashes out loud but several times seem to lose count and have to start over, or possibly they cannot count very high.

“Good job, mullah sir,” one of the men says as Mr. Khan leads them in prayer afterward.

“I was shocked when I watched the video,” said Mohammed Munir Khashi, an investigator with the commission. “I thought in the 21st century such a criminal incident could not happen in our country. It’s inhuman, anti-Islam and illegal.”

Fawzia Kofi, a prominent female member of Parliament, said the case may be shocking but is far from the only one. “I’m sure there are worse cases we don’t even know about,” she said. “Early marriage and forced marriage are the two most common forms of violent behavior against women and girls.”

The Human Rights Commission took the videotapes and the results of its investigation to the governor of Ghor Province, Sayed Iqbal Munib, who formed a commission to investigate it but took no action, saying the district was too insecure to send police there. A coalition of civic groups in the province called for his dismissal over the matter.

Nor has Afghanistan’s Interior Ministry replied to demands from the commission to take action in the case, according to the commission’s chairwoman, Sima Samar. A spokesman for the ministry did not respond to requests for comment.

Forced marriage of Afghan girls is not limited to remote rural areas. In Herat city, a Unicef-financed women’s shelter run by an Afghan group, the Voice of Women Organization, shelters as many as 60 girls who have fled child marriages.

A group called Women for Afghan Women runs shelters in the capital, Kabul, as well as in nearby Kapisa Province and in the city of Mazar-i-Sharif, all relatively liberal areas as Afghanistan goes, which have taken in 108 escaped child brides just since January, according to Executive Director Manizha Naderi.

Poverty is the motivation for many child marriages, either because a wealthy husband pays a large bride-price, or just because the father of the bride then has one less child to support. “Most of the time they are sold,” Ms. Naderi said. “And most of the time it’s a case where the husband is much, much older.”

She said it was also common practice among police officers who apprehend runaway child brides to return them to their families. “Most police don’t understand what’s in the law, or they’re just against it,” she said.

On Saturday, at the Women for Afghan Women shelter, at a secret location in Kabul, there were four fugitive child brides. All had been beaten, and most wept as they recounted their experiences.

Sakhina, a 15-year-old Hazara girl from Bamian, was sold into marriage to pay off her father’s debts when she was 12 or 13.

Her husband’s family used her as a domestic servant. “Every time they could, they found an excuse to beat me,” she said. “My brother-in-law, my sister-in-law, my husband, all of them beat me.”

Sumbol, 17, a Pashtun girl, said she was kidnapped and taken to Jalalabad, then given a choice: marry her tormentor, or become a suicide bomber. “He said, ‘If you don’t marry me I will put a bomb on your body and send you to the police station,’ ” Sumbol said.

Roshana, a Tajik who is now 18, does not even know why her family gave her in marriage to an older man in Parwan when she was 14. The beatings were bad enough, but finally, she said, her husband tried to feed her rat poison.

In some ways, the two girls from Ghor were among the luckier child brides. After the floggings, the mullah declared them divorced and returned them to their own families.

Two years earlier, in nearby Murhab district, two girls who had been sold into marriage to the same family fled after being abused, according to a report by the Human Rights Commission. But they lost their way, were captured and forcibly returned. Their fathers — one the village mullah — took them up the mountain and killed them.

http://www.nytimes.com/2010/05/31/world/asia/31flogging.html

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Indonesian ethnic dresses showcased

May 31, 2010

ISLAMABAD: The French Speaking Group (FSG) of Islamabad showcased the ethnic dresses of Indonesia during its monthly meeting held at the home of Katie Simon, wife of Dominique Simon, the Counsellor for Economic and Commercial Affairs, Embassy of France, who offered her hospitality for the occasion.

Indonesia is known for its cultural diversity. Many islands that constitute the country have different ethnic costumes, all of them bright; colourful and wonderfully put together, with matching jewellery. Though all of them could be not shown at the meeting, eight very glamorous ones were chosen and displayed by models, not only from the French community but also from other countries.

Katie said a few words about the show and the dresses, while another FSG member Dominique Stemmelen announced each model and the region of the dress. Besides the main outfit, which comprises a skirt, a top and a scarf, the headdress is also part of some of the costumes and these are either simple or imposing. One of the dresses reminded that of the native Indians of the US wear, a beaded band with two feathers, ones with ‘veils’ of beads, flowers and other embellishments, but the most glamorous one was the gold headdress worn for a wedding.

There was a prolonged photo-shoot as all the invitees wanted to have a picture with the models. Refreshments were also served to guests and it was more of a lunch menu than snacks. The guests enjoyed this special meal of Indonesian specialties.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\05\31\story_31-5-2010_pg11_3

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TV Soap Dramatizes Islam's Cultural Clashes

By Rima Abdelkader

31 May 2010

"El Clon" is a tele-drama about a young woman's effort to span her cultural and personal identities across modern and traditional Muslim societies. One New York fan says it offers great fodder for cross-cultural exchange.

NEW YORK (WOMENSENEWS)--Most weeknights, 21-year-old college senior Alia Dahhan has rushed home to tune in to "El Clon" to watch her favorite character Jade on the Spanish-speaking network Telemundo.

"As a Muslim woman, I feel it is almost a duty to watch the show, not only for entertainment purposes but to be able to discuss my opinions with other non-Muslim and non-Arab viewers of the show," said Dahhan, who attends Pace University's Lubin School of Business in New York and is president of the Muslim Student Association at the university.

She's been able to tune in to the show recently since Telemundo began airing the program in New York in Spanish. Dahhan said her Mexican mother and her father, who is of Syrian and Egyptian descent, both enjoy the show.

"It is especially interesting for me to see how the Mexican side of my family is quite captivated by the story. The Arab side of my family does not follow the story but this is most likely because of the language barrier--the show is in Spanish," she said.

Telemundo, owned by NBC Universal, provides English subtitles for every weeknight show for English-speaking audiences to follow.

"It's extraordinary to encounter an audience of multiple nationalities who follow our telenovelas by English subtitles," said Roberto Stopello, one of the show's writers, in an email interview.

"I remember last year the subtitles were eliminated and there were numerous calls, letters, emails and communications from the general public," he added. "That became overwhelming, requesting us to go back and subtitle the novellas, and that is what we did."

Shandra Anaid, 35, a cardio belly dance instructor and performer in Connecticut, is also a fan of the show. "The most enjoyable for me is the belly dance scenes," she said.

The show is called "El Clon" because the death of a central character raises the possibility of an effort to bring him back from death through cloning.

But the plot mainly belongs to Jade, a young Muslim woman caught in a forbidden love with Lucas, a non-Muslim man.

Juxtaposition of Different Worlds

Jade started her life in Miami, but after her mother's death was sent to live with her uncle in Morocco.

The two worlds offer chances to juxtapose different worlds and contrasting stereotypes about women, with scenes of Muslim women seductively belly dancing for their husbands jostling against bikini-clad women on Miami beaches.

The 150-episode, one-hour drama also treats such controversial matters as irreverent attitudes towards Islam, alcoholism and machismo.

Cross-cultural attitudes towards virginity come up on Jade's wedding night, when her conservative family stands outside the bedroom door waiting for the newlyweds to produce a bloody sheet that proves her virginity. Her husband knows she is not a virgin and cuts his hand and uses his own blood to protect her.

"I believe the story introduces people to a world they do not understand or are downright afraid to," Dahhan said in an e-mail interview. "It allows viewers of different cultures to understand from a number of Muslim women's perspectives."

Mexican actress Sandra Echeverria plays the part of Jade.

"I hadn't seen a project where you can see more of the Muslim culture than this one," Escheverria told Women's eNews in an e-mail. "To play a Muslim girl and learn about the culture and this other world is completely fascinating for me."

Upholding Devotion to Islam

Tio Ali, or Uncle Ali, a devout Muslim and a part of the religious elite in Morocco, requires that Jade follow the culture of Morocco and religion of Islam.

Dahhan said she deeply admires Uncle Tio. "Tio Ali is tested throughout the story in defending Jade and upholding his devotion to God and Islam at times of conflict," she said.

"We are making a very modern treatment of the Muslim issue and showing the world that what makes us different is our religious beliefs," "El Clon" writer Stopello told Women's eNews. "Other than that, we are all the same."

"El Clon" was launched in Portuguese in 2001 as "O Clone" for the Portuguese and Brazilian viewers and later dubbed into Spanish for the U.S. Hispanic audience on Telemundo. Soon afterwards, it was dubbed into several languages and aired in over 90 countries.

The Spanish-language remake that Dahhan watches is co-produced by TV Globo and Telemundo International and has been exported to 13 countries in Latin America, according to press accounts. Globo TV International is said by press reports to be looking next for airtime in Europe, Africa and the Middle East.

http://womensenews.org/story/cultural-trendspopular-culture/100524/tv-soap-dramatizes-islams-cultural-clashes

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Two Female Priests Buried as Church Outsiders

By Claire Bushey

31 May 2010

Female Catholic priests, deemed excommunicate by Rome, buried two of their own this month, neither one in a Catholic cemetery. "They threw us away," says a surviving member of Roman Catholic Womenpriests, which marked its first deaths.

CHICAGO (WOMENSENEWS)--Two funerals this month find women ordained as Catholic priests buried outside the church they were striving to change from within.

Mary Styne, 70, of Milwaukee, died May 12. She was ordained in 2009 by Roman Catholic Womenpriests, an organization that has been ordaining women to the priesthood in contravention of church law since 2002.

Janine Denomme, 45, of Chicago, died May 17, just weeks after her ordination by the same group; her funeral was May 22.

Full report at:

http://womensenews.org/story/religion/100528/two-female-priests-buried-church-outsiders

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Women worry Afghan peace jirga will harm rights

By Golnar Motevalli

May 31, 2010

Afghan women say their position in society and in politics is still very fragile and the small advances that have been made in recent years can be easily reversed

As Afghanistan’s most powerful men arrive in Kabul for a major conference aimed at starting a peace process with the Taliban, many women are worried the event could lead to a compromise of their hard-won rights.

Afghanistan is holding a peace jirga or an assembly of powerful leaders, tribal elders and representatives of civil society to consider plans to open talks with Taliban leaders in an effort to end the nine-year conflict.

A possible return of the Taliban has touched off concern about the fate of women who were banned from schools, the work place and public life during the Taliban rule from 1996 to 2001. “I would not expect the peace jirga to do anything good for women. My hope is that it will recognise their presence and protect their rights equally to men, as presented in the constitution,” said Orzala Ashraf Nemat, a leading women’s rights activist in Kabul.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\05\31\story_31-5-2010_pg20_7

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Al-Jazeera anchors quit in clothing spat: Reports

May31, 2010

Five female news presenters at the pan-Arab Al-Jazeera satellite television channel have resigned over conflicts with management over dress code and other issues, a journalist there said on Sunday.

“This collective resignation is not motivated just by the growing pressure on the presenters concerning their dress code, which was evoked by the media,” said the journalist, who asked not to be identified.

“The conflicts run much deeper,” the journalist added. The news presenters who have reportedly quit are Jumana Namur, Lina Zahreddin, Lona al-Shibel, Julnar Mussa and Nofar Afli.

The Al-Hayat daily reported today that they had resigned in the past few days after petitioning management in January over repeated criticism from a top company official for allegedly not being conservative enough in their dress. Management of the Doha-based channel told AFP it would issue a response later.

http://www.dailypioneer.com/259325/Al-Jazeera-anchors-quit-in-clothing-spat-Reports.html

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Freedom fighter’s daughter acid burnt

May 31, 2010

Rozina Begum, a 20-year-old woman, was seriously injured with acid in a frenzied attack by her husband following a dowry-related case in a village of Badarganj upazilla on Saturday night, said the police and hospital sources.

Rozina, daughter of freedom fighter Azgar Ali of Amrulbari Asmotpara village, was undergoing treatment at Rangpur Medical College Hospital.

The police said Rozina came under attack on Saturday night when she came out of her father’s house responding to the nature’s call. Rozina’s estranged husband Nazmul Haque, lying there in wait for her, threw acid on her and disappeared immediately, the police added.

Full report at:

http://www.newagebd.com/2010/may/31/nat.html

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Six-month-old girl married off in Swara incident

By Shoukat Iqbal Khattak

May 31, 2010

A “kidnapping” and subsequent love marriage with a girl by a married man has resulted in a Jirga ordering the marriage of his six-month-old daughter to the brother of the “kidnapped” girl.

According to sources, Alamzeb, “abducted” the daughter of his neighbour, Naseer, from the Reri Goth area in Karachi two months ago.

The sources said that Naseer’s daughter had actually eloped with Alamzeb as they loved each other, but the case was taken as a matter of honour by the family members of the eloped girl, who had started pressuring the family of the accused, inlcuding threats.

The sources said that Alamzeb, who has three children, hailed from the Hazara region, while the girl belonged to Charsadda in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa.

Full report at:

http://thenews.com.pk/daily_detail.asp?id=242168

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Woman gunned down at her house by ‘brother-in-law’

May 31, 2010

KARACHI: A woman was killed by firing at her house in Orangi Sector 41/2 in Mominabad police precincts on Sunday.

According to police, two suspects shot the victim Karam Jahan, 40, wife of Mustahim Khan in Bismillah Colony near Jumma Hotel and fled the scene.

The victim sustained bullet injuries and was shifted to the Abbasi Shaheed Hospital where she succumbed to injuries.

Officials said the incident occurred over some old personal enmity, adding that she was a housewife and mother of two who belonged to Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

However, the police have detained her husband for investigation.

Full report at:

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\05\31\story_31-5-2010_pg12_1

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Woman seeks NSHR help to reunite with husband

By MD HUMAIDAN

May 31, 2010

JEDDAH: The National Society for Human Rights (NSHR) is considering ways to help a Saudi mother of six whose Yemeni husband was deported to Yemen.

The NSHR is pursuing all available options, including resorting to intermediaries or making an exception and allow the woman’s husband who was in the Kingdom illegally to return, said a source at the society.

Huda married the man in Yemen some years ago after she went to live there with her Yemeni mother after her Saudi father divorced her. Huda has six children, the eldest of whom is 14.

“Six years ago I decided to return to the Kingdom. My husband also came with me but he entered the Kingdom illegally. He was, however, caught 18 months ago and then deported. He then managed to sneak back in, but was then caught again,” said Huda.

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article59381.ece

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Businesswoman calls for more Saudis in jobs

By WALAA HAWARI

May 31, 2010

RIYADH: Young Saudi businesswoman Sara Al-Asheikh sponsored on Saturday the 2nd Recruitment Forum at King Saud University's women section in Riyadh.

She expressed her astonishment at the weak Saudi-recruitment efforts of private sector companies and their dependence on foreign professionals.

The event was organized by the Recruiting and Training Unit at King Saud University.

"Saudi women are receiving support from the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah to compete in all possible and available fields of work," said Al-Asheikh.

"The forum aims at guiding young female graduates by arming them with necessary tools and skills to obtain better job opportunities and pave the way for them to better communicate with establishments, companies and ministries of concern."

Full report at:

http://arabnews.com/saudiarabia/article59383.ece

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Saudi women step forward smartly Jafar Alshayeb

31 May 2010

After years of stymied efforts, reform in Saudi Arabia is focused on women’s rights. A recent survey by the Researchers Center for Women’s Studies in Riyadh examining Saudi newspapers and websites showed that from mid-January to mid-February 2010 some 40 per cent of articles in print media and 58 per cent of articles on websites addressed women’s issues.

Empowering women has become a priority for local activists and various initiatives are springing up to secure basic women’s rights. The most recent and ambitious of these efforts is a national campaign, driven by local actors, calling for women’s participation in municipal elections scheduled for autumn 2011.

Full report at:

http://www.khaleejtimes.com/displayarticle.asp?xfile=data/opinion/2010/May/opinion_May185.xml&section=opinion&col=

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                                                Sex and the Sharia

Kyle Smith

31 May 2010

The shabbiest, smirkiest, most unbearable moment of "Sex and the City 2" arrives when the girls sing "I Am Woman" on a karaoke stage in Abu Dhabi ' a country still run under Islamic Sharia law that officially subjugates women. The "Sex" soft pedal is only part of a disturbing turning point in how the United States sees Sharia. Last month, the American Academy of Pediatrics, in the name of cultural diversity, condoned the deliberate harming of the genitals of baby girls. Genital mutilation was wrong, it said, but a "ritual nick" is OK. And the plan to build a

http://www.newmediablog.com/2010/05/sex-and-the-sharia/

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If I were a woman, would have ‘reveiled’ a little

May 31, 2010

What if I were a Muslim woman 36 years old? If I was good-looking and educated, yet contemporary enough to hold that what lies inside my head counts more than what covers it?

Would I allow men to drink in the beauty of my locks, beautiful and bouncy? (Everything else is unwanted hair — to be lopped off like weeds among the grass.)

Today, the veil appears to be a purely Islamic construct, standing for modesty. Veiling, a sharply polarising issue, stands at the very heart of the conflict between Islam and modernity. For me, it is as much the locus of tension between Muslim women and Islam. Take it from a woman.

Full report at:

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Indonesia bans ‘tight pants’ according to ‘Sharia Law’

Aishwarya Bhatt

May 31, 2010

Meulaboh, May 30 (THAINDIAN NEWS) Authorities in Indonesia have banned ‘tight pants’. They also went ahead and also distributed a whooping 20,000 units of long skirts amongst the inhabitants of the Indonesia’s Aceh region. The authorities also imposed a ban on the shops and barred them from selling tight dresses. They have even enforced a regulation that doesn’t allow Muslim women from wearing any sort of short clothes or tight clothes as well. The ban came into effect from Thursday, and already the Indonesian authorities are doing their very best to enforce it strictly.

Full report at:

http://blogs.hindustantimes.com/they-call-me-muslim/2010/05/30/if-i-were-a-woman-would-have-%E2%80%98reveiled%E2%80%99-a-little/

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Islam grants women due status: CII chief

May 31, 2010

ISLAMABAD: When all other religions of the world deemed woman source of evil, it was Islam, which bestowed upon her rights that she deserved, Council of Islamic Ideology (CII) Chairman Dr Muhammad Khalid Masud said on Tuesday.

Addressing a seminar on ‘Women and Islam’, organised by Quaid-i-Azam University’s (QAU) Center Of Excellence In Gender Studies, he said that in olden days women were treated like slaves or property of men, but Islam gave them dignity and respect.

He said that Islam considered both men and women as equals and it opposed any kind of gender discrimination.

Masud said unlike other religions, Islam provides all rights to women including right to seek knowledge and education, right to own property and right to work and run businesses within the limits prescribed by Allah (The Almighty).

He said there were many examples of female literary figures who contributed to Arabic literature, while in modern times we can also find Muslim women making waves in various fields of life.

http://www.dailytimes.com.pk/default.asp?page=2010\05\26\story_26-5-2010_pg11_7

URL: http://www.newageislam.com/islam,-women-and-feminism/child-brides-escape-marriage,-but-not-lashes/d/2922


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