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Salafist cleric says fathers can marry off their newborn daughters



Last week, Egyptian Salafist preacher Muftah Mohammad Maarouf, also known as "Abu Yahya," stated that it's absolutely okay for a newborn girl to be married off by her father - even at such a young age. 
Yes, you heard that right. 
The statement was made during a live TV interview on a show that was discussing a controversial draft law aimed at lowering marital age in Egypt to 16. 
According to the preacher, if no harm will be done to a female, then nothing should prevent her from getting married, regardless of her age. 
"I am not the one saying this, in Islamic Sharia there is no set age for marriage when it comes to females," Maarouf said. 
When the show's presenter pressed on with: "If this is true, then any age would be fine for marriage, 2 months, 1 year," the preacher shockingly responded: 
"Even if she's just 1-day-old." 

People on social media were just not having it

A video of the interview that saw "Abu Yahya" drop his statement went viral on social media shortly after the show aired, sparking outrage. 
Here's a little of what people had to say: 

Many were understandably outraged

"Our religion is clear and straightforward... even a child would denounce such statements... these kinds of 'preachers' only represent themselves and have nothing to do with true Islam." 

"Regression, ignorance and stupidity"

Many raised this point

"He's a liar. Prophet Mohammad said that the consent of a female and her guardian are two conditions that any union must be based on. How will an infant or a young girl consent to a marriage when she doesn't even understand what it means?" 

Some were left speechless

"There are no more words to be said."  

"These fatwas from so called religious figures are defaming Islam"

Others felt that action must be taken against this type of "preaching"

"I am wondering, aren't there laws to punish such germs (preachers)? One that could prevent them from using media outlets to spread their agendas, one that would stop them from preaching in mosques?" 

Lowering marital age for females still up for debate in Egypt

While Abu Yahya's statements are shocking, they're not quite surprising given that the preacher previously voiced out his support for a draft law aimed at lowering marital age for females in Egypt from the current 18 to 16. 
Proposed by Egyptian Ahmed Samih, an independent MP representing the Giza district of Al-Talbiya, the controversial draft law has sparked controversy and debate across the country in recent months. 
Since it was proposed, Samih's legislation has faced intense backlash from fellow MPs, women's rights activists and several others who have labeled it 'regressive.' 
Egypt's government has yet to vote on the draft law, but with a number of MPs who have already taken a stand against it, it seems unlikely for it to pass. 

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