An Afghan cleric has been arrested after marrying a six-year-old girl who he claims was given to him as a “gift” by her parents. Mohammad Karim, 60, says the girl was a ‘religious offering’ but now her parents are insisting he kidnapped her.

The Afghan Constitution allows for Sharia law under which children can be married. Karim was arrested, not for marrying the young girl, but on kidnapping charges.


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The Muslim leader claims the marriage happened in the holy month of Ramadan with 40 people at the ceremony including the girl’s mother and father. But they say she was abducted from western Herat province, bordering Iran. The girl was in a state of shock when authorities took her in and was only able to say ‘I’m afraid of this man.’

Under Afghan civil law, the legal age for girls to marry is 16 but the Afghan Constitution also allows for Sharia law under which children can be married. A common interpretation of Sharia law in Afghanistan allows the girl to end the marriage if she does not wish to consummate it when she hits puberty. h/t dailymail

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A makeshift medical examination claimed Karim had not yet had sex with the girl.