Region | Syria

Child marriage shocks readers

Gulf News readers say children cannot think for themselves

  • By Heather Madore, Community Solutions Journalist
  • Published: 00:00 October 21, 2010
  • Gulf News

Ala'a Al Deen Al Asel and Geoff Spear and Dhanya Dharmaraj
  • Image Credit: Supplied
  • Clockwise from top-right: Ala'a Al Deen Al Asel and Geoff Spear and Dhanya Dharmaraj.

Dubai "It makes me sick!" Hind Al Yousuf told Gulf News in response to the report from Syria about a three- and five-year-old getting engaged.

The Abu Dhabi-based Emirati was talking to Gulf News about the story about apparently the world's youngest couple. The newspaper spoke to other readers on the issue.

Hind said: "I think it is disgusting ... wrong at so many levels. How can a girl at that age be engaged? I don't think it is the right age biologically, emotionally and psychologically.

"It's just wrong. "

Dhanya Dharmaraj, an Indian mother, was equally appalled by the story. It struck a chord, especially as she has a three-year-old son.

"I don't expect him [my son] to become engaged. They don't understand anything at that age and when they are older and at a marriageable age they may end up parting ways. By this time, their idea of a partner might have changed, their interests will have changed, and it might lead to them splitting up. I am actually surprised that the parents allowed it!"

She acknowledged that child brides can be found in parts of Asia and the Middle East but would be largely restricted to the "rural" areas of the country — where literacy levels would be low.

Ala'a Al Deen Al Asel, a Syrian national, was upset by the report. He told the newspaper: "It's wrong for children to become engaged, they should have to wait until they are adults.

"Because they can't think for themselves, and aren't able to make the right decision. This age will be too young."

Al Asel emphasised that it is not a common practice in Syria.

Not the norm

"It's not accepted, it goes against our culture. If it does happen there could be serious consequences," he added.

For New Zealand national Geoff Spear it was a very unique scenario.

He said: "People should be engaged as adults, and get to choose based on common interests, whereas the three- and five-year-old would just be beginning to communicate."

But Spear was hopeful that the scenario was not all bad. "It's not like they [the children] are already married and probably won't be married until they are in their twenties."

Comments (1)

  1. Added 15:09 October 21, 2010

    This is really wrong what parents did. That was a deep friendship between both children, this parents dont know how to deal with the matter, when the children feel desparation in separation, the parents should change their mind.

    suresh, Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates

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