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Tuesday, September 04, 2012

Arabs rushing to marry Syrian refugee children

From Albawaba:
It began with rumors of the Muslim Brotherhood’s influence in Jordan and has spread across the Arab world. Syrian refugees, particularly those of the young and female variety, are becoming a commodity for Arab men, with many offering to marry those in need.

But don’t be fooled: this is not a purely altruistic gesture. Syrian women are known as the beauties of the region and having run away from the massacres of their own country they are left vulnerable and needy. Men who would otherwise have no chance with these highly sought after ladies have been opportunistically taking their chances.
The Egyptian Chronicles blog says:
Among the huge challenges and problems facing hundreds of thousands of Syrian refugees are in the Arab countries especially in Jordan and Gulf , a very nasty problem : Rich old men from Gulf offer to marry poor refugee minor girls for money.

At first it started as rumors some thought that were spread by El Assad regime regarding how men marry poor Syrian refugee minor girls using their families’ need for small amount of money but sadly enough it was confirmed by Jordanian Press. It seems that men from the Gulf head now to Jordan to find young cheap brides at the refugees camps. A Saudi writer called Mohamed El Assamy wrote about that disgusting practice in a Saudi newspaper angrily revealing that there are prices for the girls range between 500 SR and 1000 SR !!!!!!

These men are using the poverty and extreme need of those Syrian families mainly from working class seeking refugee in the worst conditions ever.
IRIN reports that many parents are marrying their children off to other Syrians:
Some Syrian refugees arriving in Jordan are opting to marry off their daughters at a young age believing that marital status offers a form of protection and insurance.

"In Maraq, we have come across around 50 cases of early marriages since the day we started helping out Syrians. Most of them are married to Syrians, especially cousins," said Khaled Ghanem, from the Islamic Society Centre (ISC).

Hana Ghadban, a volunteer with the Syrian Women Association (SWA), told IRIN that in the Syrian cities of Homs and Dera'a many girls are married at the age of 13 or 14. "We know of so many girls who got married after moving to Jordan. Most of them were engaged in Syria."

Difficult living conditions for Syrians in Jordan are also pushing families to marry their daughters off at a young age. Um Sarah, a Syrian refugee mother, arranged marriages for her daughters aged 15 and 14, because she could not support them.

"As a single mother, I cannot support them. I cannot feed them. I wanted to make sure they are OK, so I asked around if people know of good Syrian men they could marry," she told IRIN.

"They rape girls who are as young as her in Syria now. If they raped a nine-year-old girl, they can do anything. I will not feel OK if I do not see her married to a decent man who can protect her," said the father of Hanadi, a pregnant child bride in Jordan aged 14.
There is a backlash and organizations are springing up to protect the young Syrian refugees.