Poverty-trap child brides!   
By BASMA MOHAMMED ,  Posted on ยป Sunday, July 11, 2010

NEEDY families in Bahrain and the Arab world are marrying off daughters as 
young as 10 in a bid to avoid falling into poverty, an activist has warned.

Many often turn to such practices as a way of escaping their financial 
problems, said Bahrain Women's Association for Human Development head Asma'a 

"The problem is witnessed in Bahrain and other countries in the region," she 
said during a seminar being held under the theme Women: A New Paradigm.

"It's either due to the poor circumstances of the family or they not 
understanding Islam correctly."

Ms Rajab stressed the cases involving child brides were actually marriages, as 
opposed to betrothal contracts.

She was speaking on the sidelines of the final in a series of workshops held by 
the association and Al Tajdeed Cultural and Social Society.

Yesterday's event, at the Diplomat Radisson Blu Hotel, Residence and Spa, 
discussed early marriage and polygamy from a religious perspective.

It was held as part of a major campaign launched by the association to educate 
people on women's issues.

The drive hopes to highlight social problems and find new ways of addressing 
them, said Al Tajdeed Cultural and Social Society member and keynote speaker 
Isa Al Shargi.

"These issues need to be addressed and calls for shedding of light on their 
causes and results," he said.

"We need to educate the community and find ways to deal with their 

Mr Al Shargi stressed that misinterpretation of the Quran caused such issues to 
surface in the Islamic community.

"Some people misinterpret verses in the Quran and follow their way of 
thinking," he said.

"This campaign is to allow for everyone to discuss their understanding and 
explain the real meaning of such verses."

The forum was set up to highlight problems connected to women's status and 
their ability to carry out their role as well as discuss religious views, 
particularly new ideas related to women and family.

It also aimed to highlight the main obstacles to women being granted their 
rights and come up with solutions to controversial issues related to them.

Topics discussed in previous forums included discrimination against women, 
combating violence against women and women's rights to housing, alimony and 

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