- The Washington Times - Friday, March 14, 2014

Iraqi lawmakers are mulling a new measure that would open the doors for girls as young as 8 years old to be given in marriage — and that also mandates wives must give their husbands sex on demand.

The separate measures aren’t moving forward absent controversy.

“That law represents a crime against humanity and childhood,” said Iraqi human rights activist Hana Adwar, in The Daily Mail. “Married underage girls are subjected to physical and psychological suffering.”

Current law in the country sets the legal age for marriage at 18, or 15 if a guardian or parent approves. The new proposed laws are aimed at the majority Shiite population.

The measures don’t specifically say that the little girls can marry — but they do omit mentioning the lawful age of marriage while simultaneously allowing for men to divorce girls as young as 8 years, 8 months old, The Daily Mail reported. Critics say that part of the text is an underhanded, backdoor way of giving men in the country the lawful right to marry girls as young as 8.

Meanwhile, another bill mandates that husbands might have sex with their wives whenever they want, with or without the woman’s consent. It also prohibits wives from leaving home without their husbands’ permission.

One more aspect of the proposal that’s angered many: It only gives the father — not the mother or female guardian — the right to refuse to accept a marriage proposal, The Daily Mail said.

The media outlet reported that the laws come by way of principles from a Shiite school of religious rules that was brought into existence by Jaafar al-Sadia, the sixth Shiite imam.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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