Child betrothal prompts inquiry into parents

The parents of  5- and 8-year old cousins whose engagement was announced on Facebook will be examined by the Minister of Population Hala Youssef.

Youssef told Youm7 an incident in which a South Sinai girl, Salma, and her 8-yr old cousin Youssef, was reported to a Child Emergency Line after photos of an alleged engagement party went viral. Salma’s father, a member of the Sinai Chamber of Commerce, allegedly wrote on his Facebook page that his daughter’s marriage would be after graduation.

The father and the brother of the “bride” told Youm7 that the engagement is real, adding  that it is a “family tradition” and that they are surprised from the “exaggerated reactions” of the people towards the incident.

Not only the family, Youm7 interviewed some of the neighbors who confirmed that what happened is a “normal tradition for Sinai families” and that they congratulated the family.

“It is a personal freedom and no one is entitled to interfere as long as the father has not committed a crime,” one of the relatives told Youm7.

After the photos went viral, accompanied by a heavy criticism, the father removed the photos he posted and in a comment he said that he was wrong to post them.

“You [who shared the photos] made me famous and the topic of the hour, while I was joking with my kids and friends. I cannot imagine the emptiness the young live in to focus on some photos, while our country is suffering,” posted the father on Wednesday.

According to Population Reference Bureau, a “significant portion” of Egyptian women marry before reaching 18, which is the legal marriage age in Egypt.

Per the Child Law of 2008, Egypt criminalizes marriage of minors; those clerks who officiate a marriage between minors may be punished with not less than 10 years in prison.

Help keep Expat Cairo independent. If you value our services any contribution towards our costs would be greatly appreciated.