Germany: Amidst refugee influx, child brides as young as thirteen are popping up all over the country
Lawmakers in Germany are under increased pressure to tackle the country’s growing trend of child marriages, renewing the debate over whether to allow Islamic Sharia law to supersede the country’s legal system when applied to its refugee population.
With the wave of more than 1.2 million migrants, mostly of the Islamic faith, coming in from Iraq and Syria, German courts are being forced to consider the legality of Muslim marriages that include girls sometimes as young as 13, Britain’s Sunday Times reported.
According to estimates, the number of refugee child marriages is currently at 1,000, although activists believe the figure is much higher.
In one case, authorities ruled in favor of Fatima, a pregnant 15-year-old Syrian refugee, allowing her husband, a fellow Syrian refugee more than double her age, to be accommodated in the same town so they could be near each other. Fatima told reporters that after her family escaped Syria for Turkey, she pleaded with them to marry her off to “the next man who is willing” so she could escape to Europe.
In Bavaria, there are over 700 refugee brides under the age of 18, including 160 under 16. Typically, German law does not permit marriage under 18, although with parental consent, the court can recognize the marriage of a 16-year-old.
In addition, the U.N. estimates that 51 percent of brides in Syrian refugee camps are underage, compared with just 13 percent at the start of the civil war.
Chancellor Angela Merkel has come under a barrage of criticism from European leaders holding her open-door policy on refugees responsible for the
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