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11-year-old girl in shock after wedding drama

Malaysian girl in shock after a 41-year-old man picked her up from home on the pretext of registering wedlock and abandons her

  • AP
  • Published: 00:00 March 16, 2010
  • Gulf News

Kuala Lumpur: An 11-year-old Malaysian girl was hospitalised in a state of shock after allegedly being abducted by a man who persuaded her parents to let him marry her, an official said yesterday.

She is one of two recent cases of suspected child marriages in Malaysia, where girls under the age of 16 need special permission from Islamic courts to marry.

However, approval is not commonly granted and recent reports of young girls being married off to men in the northern Kelantan state have made headlines.

On Sunday, Women's Minister Shahrizat Abdul Jalal said action should be taken against the 41-year-old man who allegedly wanted to marry the 11-year-old girl without getting special court permission.

She called it a "reckless and irresponsible act."

The girl was found abandoned near a mosque on the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur late last week.

She was in a state of shock and has been hospitalised for a medical checkup, said a ministry official, who declined to be named citing protocol.

Kelantan police chief Abdul Rahim Hanafi said he could not immediately comment and Kuala Lumpur police in charge of the case could not immediately be reached for further details. It is not clear what happened to the girl.

The girl's mother was quoted by local newspapers yesterday as saying that the family decided to marry off the girl last month after the man, allegedly a religious group leader, persuaded them.

He and nine others picked up the girl from her home on February 20, claiming they would get the marriage registered. The family lodged a police report the next day after the man failed to return with the child as promised, The Star quoted the mother as saying.

Shahrizat has also asked authorities to probe another reported case — of a 10 year old marrying a 40-year-old man. No details are known, the ministry official said.

Sisters in Islam, a group of Muslim women activists, has called for an end to child marriages, calling them an "unacceptable practice" that endangers children.

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