Migrant child brides put Europe in a spin – BBC News

TRUTH BOMBS: This is an example a failed culture brought about by a failed religion on both sides. On the European side, this is the failure of their religion: atheism and the Migrants failed religion of Islam. Two wrong do not make a right.

ARTICLE: Should a 14-year-old married girl who migrates to Europe be viewed as a child – or a spouse?

The issue has put European governments in a spin: forcing a policy U-turn in Denmark, new legislation in the Netherlands and an agonised debate in Germany.

Analysts say early marriage is often carried out in refugee camps in Lebanon, Jordan and Turkey by families trying to protect girls from poverty or sexual exploitation. Elsewhere, poor families might marry off their young daughters in exchange for dowries.

The question is one of rights and protections – but which? When authorities stop minors cohabiting with their older spouses, are they combating child abuse or breaking up (often already traumatised) families?

Depending on where you go in Europe, you’ll find a radically different range of responses to the issue.

Denmark’s dilemma

Denmark’s response has swung first one way and then the other.

In February, Integration Minister Inger Stojberg vowed to act after a review found dozens of cases of girls living with older men in asylum seekers’ accommodation – which the minister called “totally unacceptable”.

Couples would require “exceptional reasons” to live together below the age of 18 (the legal age for marriage in Denmark) and no cohabitation would be allowed whatsoever if one party was below 15.

But separation reportedly prompted two migrants under 18 to attempt suicide.

The policy was reversed earlier this week – with children as young as 14 reunited with their husbands – after the issue was raised with the Danish Immigration Service (DIS) by lawmaker Josephine Fock.

“It is completely outrageous. We are talking about people who have fled to Denmark who are being split from each other. Some of them have children together and investigating individual [asylum] cases takes an unbelievably long time,” Ms Fock told Metroxpress news service.

The DIS cited Denmark’s “international obligations” as the trigger for its policy change, concluding that enforcing separate living quarters would violate the UN’s Convention on the Rights of the Child and Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, which guarantees the right to one’s “private and family life”.

That has prompted conservative politicians to call for Denmark’s withdrawal from such treaties.

Image copyright AFP
Image caption Figures suggest child marriage is on the rise among displaced Syrians

Dutch clampdown

In the Netherlands, policy has shifted in the other direction – with the government moving swiftly last year to close a legal loophole which allowed child brides to live with older husbands in asylum centres.

And politicians have grappled with the same dilemma elsewhere in Europe – though on the whole each country is dealing with just a handful of cases.

German indecision

The issue takes on much broader significance in Germany, which has greeted some 1.2 million migrants since last year under Chancellor Angela Merkel’s “open-door” policy.

Here the authorities’ response has been inconsistent and, some claim, confused.

Data suggest that in Germany there are at least 1,000 marriages where one or both parties are under the legal marriage age of 18, of which more than half are in the southern state of Bavaria.

Legal marriage or state-sanctioned abuse?

The official confusion is reflected in one reported case: a 15-year-old Syrian girl married to her 21-year-old cousin. She was first separated from him in the city of Aschaffenburg, Bavaria, for reasons of child protection.

Her husband lost an appeal to a family court, but the decision was eventually set aside by a regional court, which judged that the marriage should be recognised as it was legal in the country of origin.

But the city appealed, and the pair are now awaiting a judgment from Germany’s federal court.

In response, Germany’s justice ministry has set up a working group to agree a consistent response.

Ironically, the Family Affairs Minister Manuela Schwesig cited the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child to argue against under-age cohabitation, claiming that violated children’s rights to “play, education and health”.

Desperate choice

And the issue only threatens to become more pressing, despite the efforts of global campaign groups to eliminate child marriage – which they claim in many cases is in fact forced marriage.

Unicef figures from the vast Syrian refugee camps in Jordan suggest the proportion of registered marriages where the bride was under 18 rose from 12% in 2011 (roughly the same as the figure in pre-war Syria) to 18% in 2012, and as high as 25% by 2013.

And Jordan’s Chief Islamic Justice Department was recently quoted as saying child marriages represented about 35% of all marriages of Syrian refugees in 2015.

“There are a number of reasons why families are opting for child marriage for their daughters,” says charity Save the Children.

“As refugees, Syrian families are reliant on dwindling resources and are lacking economic opportunities. At the same time, they are all too aware of the need to protect their daughters from the threat of sexual violence.”

Migration to Europe explained in seven charts

Source: Migrant child brides put Europe in a spin – BBC News

4 thoughts on “Migrant child brides put Europe in a spin – BBC News

    1. I thank you for bringing this to my attention. However we did in fact cover this when I was in college for my degree in theology. Might I enquire if you really read my commentary on this topic? The CONTEXT was on the cultural dichotomy that Europe is now finding itself involved in. Or did you miss that entirely. You are reading more into my comment then what was written. Common mistake of assumption made by many people. You failed to see the core issue because of the details.


      1. I did read your commentary, and I just read it again to make sure I didn’t miss anything, but please feel free to enlighten me on what you believe to be the core issue. I think I’m struggling because you didn’t actually comment on the cultural dichotomy of the two cultures, you just said, “here is the cultural dichotomy.”

        However, what I was commenting on was your so-called “truth bomb.” This is where you indicate that child marriages are an example of how Islam is a failed culture/religion. For the record I completely agree and think child marriages are heinous, but I can say that because I’m an atheist, in fact child marriages are part of the reason as to why I am not a Christian. Whether or not Christians engage in these practices today, the God of Christianity is completely okay with forced marriages, He is completely okay with child marriages, He even goes so far as to impregnate a 13-year-old himself, which is pretty much the ultimate statutory rape by an authority figure. Those are things I am not okay with. I’m not okay when Allah thinks it is fine and dandy, I’m not okay when Yahweh thinks it is fine and dandy.

        Also, since we are chatting, I’m struggling with at what points you’re condemning cultures that happen to have high percentages of atheists, the part where they are accepting millions more refugees from war-torn middle eastern countries than the U.S. a so-called “Christian Nation;” the part where they think child marriages are wrong; or the part where they are trying to find an appropriate balance between enforcing their laws and respecting religious liberty of other cultures.

        I also notice that in your commentary you didn’t offer an helpful suggestions as to what a good Christian nation would do if faced with a similar situation. Oh, and by the way Germany is over 60 percent Christian, split pretty evenly between Catholic and Protestant, so make of that what you will.

        So to recap. I think you are being hypocritical when you condemn Islam as a failed religion for practicing child marriages, while you are aware that your God is not only okay with child marriages, but went so far as to impregnate a 13-year-old himself. You seem to have a mindset that it is okay if your God does it, but not okay if someone else’s God does it. That’s the big one, and what I was originally commenting on, so I want to make sure we are clear on that point. I also think that you are the kind of Christian who thinks religious liberty only applies to Christianity when you criticize Europe for trying to accommodate the religious liberty of other faiths. This is admittedly an assumption, so feel free to correct me if I’m wrong, but I’m going to call it an educated guess. And finally, your blog post leads me to believe you are the kind of person who likes to complain without offering any viable solutions.

        And for the record I did read more into your comment than what was written, it is called “subtext” and is completely within the realm of reason to make inferences based on it. Just like you made all kinds of inferences from my short comment, for example, that I didn’t read your entire commentary.


    2. You are correct that I did not comment on what the cultural dichotomy was but only that there was one (even if I did not call it a cultural dichotomy directly). This is to engage thinking on the subject. So thank you so much for thinking on this issue.

      You cannot say that child marriage is objectively heinous by using the standard “because you are an atheist.” This is arbitrary as your posts point out. On your post “Says Who? A Conversation” You object to Premise 2 of the moral argument (II. Objective morals do exist.) You write “There are of course a number of issues with this line of reasoning, not the least of which is that any Christian assertion of the validity of II. is circular reasoning to the Nth degree.” This is only circular reasoning for the atheist because something is NOT circular reasoning if one has a self attesting non-arbitrary standard. Atheism has none of that. A person has only two choices autonomous epistemology or revelational epistemology. “To reject revelational epistemology is to commit yourself to defending the truth of autonomous epistemology.”― Greg L. Bahnsen, Presuppositional Apologetics: Stated and Defended. An individuals autonomous epistemology will always be arbitrary therefore fallacious.

      Then you wrote “The truth is we all experience morality as a social construction, even Christians.” This only drives my point home because now you are inferencing some standard that makes your social construct superior to the Islamic social construct (rather arbitrarily or at least pragmatically). But at the same time in your comment to my post you called something heinous as through you have a consistent standard. Might I assume that you are using your arbitrary social construct to make this determination?

      Now you may revert to your Tu quoque fallacy (the appeal to hypocrisy) as you did with Minion and say “God doesn’t give any law code in the beginning.” Under what necessity do you presume God had too? I understand that God did in fact give a full law code from the beginning but that is another argument.

      It is amazing that you call me a hypocrite for what I did NOT write when all your arguments are only emotional irrationality (Yeah, a tu quoque fallacy, but you owe me that one). You are making the mistake of believing that truth is obtainable and testable no matter what the ethical condition of the thinker is (i.e. you) and under your arbitrary standard there is then no logical barrier to totalitarianism (Greg Bahsen again).

      Your thinking is so flawed on this topic so I will not continue to discuss this with you because you are just to preconditioned in false irrationality. Perhaps I will comment on the post you make about our conversation. My job is not to be baited by you but to make you accountable. So your accountable now! And Thank you for thinking on these things.


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