Girl, 16, Gets Court to Halt Marriage

Louise Hall, Sydney Morning Herald, September 30, 2011

A court has placed a 16-year-old girl on the airport watch list to prevent an arranged marriage taking place in Lebanon.

The girl, who cannot be named for legal reasons, applied to the Federal Magistrates Court for an order to restrain her parents from taking her out of Australia to marry a man she had met only once.

The girl, given the pseudonym Ms Madley by the court, approached the Legal Aid Commission after her parents organised the wedding despite her telling them that she did not want to go to Lebanon and did not want to marry the man.

In a judgment delivered at Parramatta in April, but published this week, the federal magistrate Joe Harman granted the ex parte application and placed Ms Madley on the PACE Alert system at all points of arrival and departure to prevent her parents spiriting her out of the country before her passport was surrendered or cancelled.

Mr Harman praised the girl’s “act of great bravery” in using the legal system to challenge her parents’ authority.

Ms Madley was fearful of her mother’s reaction to her application, he said, and he ordered her mother and father not to assault, harass, threaten or intimidate her, or question her about the proceedings.

“Her actions in approaching the Legal Aid Commission, let alone this court, might be perceived as disrespectful of her parents and disobedient of their will,” he said.

Although legally a minor, the girl had displayed maturity not only by taking action to protect herself from an arranged marriage, but deciding to challenge part of the Lebanese Islamic culture which she was brought up in.

“It is not the right of any parent to cause their child to be married against their will, whether in accordance with the Australian law or otherwise,” he said.

He said there was a psychological risk to Ms Madley if he did not make orders preventing her being forced into a marriage she did not want, which he described as “a principle that is contrary to all our legal processes [held] dear and which would indeed, under Australian law, render the marriage void, as it is absent genuine consent.”

However, he said he was not criticising any culture that engaged in arranged marriages.

Topics:

Share This

We welcome comments that add information or perspective, and we encourage polite debate. If you log in with a social media account, your comment should appear immediately. If you prefer to remain anonymous, you may comment as a guest, using a name and an e-mail address of convenience. Your comment will be moderated.
  • Anonymous

    The Lebanese are Arabs who really want to be white.

    They’re considered to be among the most cosmopolitan of the Mediterranean Arabs, but their true nature is rooted in the cruelest values of Asia Minor.

  • Kingoldby

    ‘“It is not the right of any parent to cause their child to be married against their will, whether in accordance with the Australian law or otherwise,” he said.’

    ”However, he said he was not criticising any culture that engaged in arranged marriages.”

    Even in the judgement against this barbaric custom the Judge openly lies and repeats the ever more obvious falsehood that we must never criticise other cultures as they are all equally ‘valid’, even as it criticises the results of those very cultures.

    Perhaps the ‘big lie’ technique real does work.

  • SKIP the psychic

    Predicts….this girl will be found murdered, hands will be wrung, platitudes will be sung, the girl will STILL be dead!

  • Sincerely Concerned

    Given that the Aussie government has now ruled against free speech in the case of the writer who critiqued part-white aborigines, is anyone surprised that yet another judge refuses to criticize “other” cultures? In traditionally white countries such as the U.S., the U.K. and even Australia, the only people that CAN be criticized are whites themselves…oh, and Christians, right-wingers, TEA partier, etc, of course. Why? Because they’re also traditionally white.

  • Deniz

    They’re considered to be among the most cosmopolitan of the Mediterranean Arabs, but their true nature is rooted in the cruelest values of Asia Minor.

    ___

    A tiny correction: Asia Minor is today’s (Western) Turkey and Lebanon is in the Middle East in the region called Levant. These values are common among Arabs, in Turkey, it’s rare (at least in the west).

  • Sonya

    You don’t hear about that many arranged Muslim marriages, in fact the Quran’s rules about the dowry are designed to prevent forced marriages. The dowry goes to the bride, not her family, as a way of ensuring the families won’t try to sell off or profit from their daughter’s marriages.

  • Anonymous

    Re “arranged” marriages–OK, but don’t mess up our vocabulary

    so much that abandoned marriage practices in our own tradition

    get unjustly smeared. The old Victorian strictures had hugely

    more eugenic soundness than today’s gland-happy “lustfest”. Courtship gave firm emphasis to a social selection network and to the fact of life that when sex is chilled and killed, it is by what goes on in the living room, the lawn, and at the table and in the supermarket,etc. There were some social-emotional compatibility hurdles that had to be cleared before anything was privately unbuttoned in the long courtship process. There were a number of “us/them” barriers to marriage that if violated meant the youth so disposed could find a new roof before getting a new spouse. Call it “ushered” marriages rather than arranged? OK. Don’t be too quick to say that the Muslims are without perception is seeing prevailing sexuality in the USA as typifying a great Satan. Our ancestors would be the first to agree with them. (BTW, who celebrates a fun,fun, fun sexuality that has a birthrate moving us into lemming land?)

  • Anonymous

    The family could just bring the man in on a tourist visa and force the marriage in Australia. In America all clergy men and women have licenses to preform legal marriages. They can preform them anywhere, including private homes.

    The clergy person who officiates has the marriage certificate, he or she and the couple sign it and the clergy person is responsible to file it with the county clerk.

    If Australia has the same system, the girl could be forced into a marriage held in her home. Her name could even be forged on the certificate.

    The big problem with the parents is “honor” They gave their word that the girl would be married to the prospective husband.

    They cannot fulfill their promise. In Muslim ethics, not fulfilling such a promise is a huge disgrace. The disgrace can only be expiated by killing the daughter.

    England and Scotland have all sorts of foster homes and women’s shelters filled with Muslim women and girls seeking protection from arranged marriages all at the taxpayers expense of course.

    A few years ago a 14 year old 3rd generation English pakistani boy was taken to pakistan on what he though was a family visit and vacation. Once there, he was informed he was to be married to a girl he had not even met yet. He would meet her after the wedding.

    He was shocked and reacted as teen age boys will to the news. His Father brought out a knife and slashed the boy’s throat. It was not fatal.

    The boy was told he would be killed if he refused to get married.

    He went through the ceremony. He met his 12 year old bride after the ceremony. The bride does not have to be present at a Muslim wedding The legal and religious ceremony is the consenting of the bride’s father and the groom.

    The boy’s father had been born and raised in a suburb of Leeds, Bradford England.

  • jojo

    True story: in the first Gulf War I was told that when we deployed (we didn’t – war was over too fast) I wouldn’t be allowed to drive my truck so it didn’t offend the sensibilities of those sexist bastards. I asked my commander (also female) what we would do if the Army went to South Africa? Would we tell all the black soldiers they couldn’t drive? Of course we wouldn’t!