Indonesia: Female Islamic clerics in Indonesia have declared after a three-day congress that child marriage should be banned. The clerics also urged the government to raise the minimum legal age for women to marry to 18 from the current 16.
It is the first major gathering of female Muslim clerics which is held in Cirebon on Java Island. Most of the attendees were from Pakistan, India and Saudi Arabia.
Indonesia is a majority Muslim country where one in four Indonesian women is married before the age of 18. The cleric also said that the child brides are not allowed to continue studying and half of the marriages end in divorce as reasons for their decision.
The conference organiser Ninik Rahayu said. “Female clerics know the issues and obstacles women face, we can take action and do not just wait for the government to protect these children.”
Religious affairs minister Lukman Hakim Saifuddin, who attended the meeting, said he would take the women’s recommendations to the government. “This congress succeeded in fighting for justice in the relationship between men and women,” he said.
The other fatwas were also issued on sexual abuse and environmental destruction – another major issue in the rain forested country.