“Turkey’s directorate of religious affairs has declared that Islamic law allows girls to marry at age 9, prompting outrage on social media and calls for a parliamentary inquiry from the country’s main opposition party. The Diyanet, a government body that employs all of the country’s imams, provides Quranic training for children, and drafts weekly sermons that are delivered at the country’s 85,000 mosques, had issued a statement on its website claiming that Islamic law dictates that adolescence begins for girls at age 9 — and that girls who had reached the age of adolescence had the right to marry.
The Diyanet has claimed that its intention was merely to define a contentious point of Islamic law and that the declaration would not change the country’s minimum age of marriage — typically 17 years of age, although exceptions can be granted for those who are age 16. Secular critics, however, have suggested that the move is clearly intended to encourage child marriage by pointing to the widespread use of unofficial religious weddings that often involve underage participants, the recent passage of a law that allows Muslim clerics to conduct civil marriages, and the grim reality that an estimated third of all legal marriages in the country already involve girls under the age of 18.”
A 16-year-old girl, Ahed Taminmi became the poster child of the resistance when she slapped and kicked two Israeli soldiers who were on her family’s property in December of 2017. They left as seen on video.[i] The video of course went viral and a military court indicted Ahed and her mother for aggravated assault although she said the same shoulders shot her cousin in the head with a rubber bullet an hour earlier in front of her house. She was well-known for first raising her fist to an Israeli soldier in 2012 when she was a little girl with a blond ponytail, shown in the endnote.
The latest uprising is occurring in Iran where about 40% of the young are unemployed and staple products like eggs have gone up 40%, leading to demonstrations in December 2017. They began in Mashhad to protest recent price increases and spread to tens of thousands in multiple cities. The economic grievances expanded to calls against corruption and to oust Ayatollah Ali Khomeini and cries of “Death to Rouhani.” Crowds chanted “Forget Palestine” to focus on Iranian economic problems, as well as “Death or Freedom.” They also chanted, “Mullahs have some shame, leave the country alone.” President Hassan Rouhani responded that Iranians have the right to protest but not to do violence. The government shut down Instagram and the messaging app Telegraph. Hundreds were arrested and over a dozen people were killed as they tried to take over police stations and military bases. These are the biggest demonstrations since the 2009 protests over corruption in the presidential election. A difference is that they don’t have known leaders like presidential candidates who were spokesmen in 2009.