Tag Archives: Yemen

Al Qaeda Entering Yemen

Five years ago, President Bush and his close associate, Dick Cheney, promised the American people there was need to invade Iraq in order to strike a blow against terrorism. During the ensuing five years, al-Qaeda emerged in Pakistan, in North Africa, in Iraq, and now in Yemen. A Saudi citizen, Naif Mohammad Al-Qahtani, has been identified as the leader of a new terrorist group, “the “Al-Qaeda Network in the South of the Arabaian Peninsula.” The group is allegedly receiving financial support for Syrian sources who support the group’s work to destabilize Yemen and Saudi Arabia. In a message titled, “Come to Yemen,” the group urged any Al-Qadea supporters living in Saudi Arabia to hop across the border to Yemen and join the fight to overthrow the government.

The alleged immediate object of the new terror group is wiping out the tourist trade in order to damage the Yemen economy. The fall out from Bush failures in Iraq continue rippling through the Middle East

Yemen Female Children Oppressed!

Despite the case of a refusal on the part of an eight year old girl’s “husband” to grant her a divorce, Yemen’s parliament apparently does not consider the issue of female children’s rights to be of importance. A parliamentary committee turned down the request by the Women’s National Committee(WNC) for a law establishng a minimum age for marriage. Shatha Mohmmed Nasser, a lawyer, argued the case of an eight year-old girl is an excellent opportunity to push through much needed legislation that would protect the rights of young girls. “There are hundreds of (such cases) who have been subjected to sexual abuse by mature men. The problem is that there is no law to punish a father who marries off the child, the sheikh who allows the marriage, or the husband who takes the child home to serve him as a wife.”

Nujood Ali, the young girl, walked into a court by herself and asked for an end to the sexual abuse which her family has allowed to happen by marrying her to a thirty year-old man. Her husband told the world: “I will not divorce her, and it is my right to keep her. No need to sleep with her, at least I can have her as a wife. It is not a matter of lovng her. I don’t, but it’s just a challenge to her and her uncle who think that they can put me in jail and also the judge whas no right to bring me here. How did she dare to complain about me?”

Technically speaking, the husband is within his rights under Yemen law. Nujood is being protected by a kind judge and a sympathetic uncle. A study of mariage in Yemen reveals the average age is about 10 to 14 for women depending on the region of the country. Is there something wrong with this picture? Where are Muslim leaders in the world? Why aren’t they protesting?

First In Yemen: 8 Year-Old Seeks Divorce!

An eight year-old girl, Nojoud Muhammed Nasser, walked into a court and for the first time in Yemen history, a daughter charged her father with forcing her to marry a 30 year-old man. “My father beat me and told me that I must marry this man, and if I did not, I would be raped and no law and no sheikh in this country would help me. I refused but I couldn’t stop the marriage. I asked and begged my mother, father and aunt to help me to get divorced. The answered we can do nothing. If you want, you can go to court by yourself. So this is what I have done.” She said the man she married beat her, sexually abused her and prevented her from escaping. “He was too tough with with me, and whenever I asked him for mercy, he beat me and slapped me and then used me. I just want to have a respectful life and divorce him.” Yemen law prevents the girl from instituting prosecution of her father and husband, but a judge ordered both of them to be arrested.

The girl will be placed with Dar Al-Rahama, a non-government agency, which works with children. If she can get an education, this young lady would become an outstanding lawyer who could work to protect Yemen girls from such abuse.

Sexual Abuse Common In Yemen Primary Schools

A study by the Yemen Ministry of Interior reveals widespread sexual abuse of children in primary schools in Yemen. The report listed 606 incidents but observers believe that is not accurate due to cultural beliefs which prevent people from reporting such cases. A female teacher in Sana’a said poverty plays a major role in sexual abuse because with a little money an older boy can readily obtain cooperation from a younger child. Another teacher noted it was common in Yemen primary schools for 14-17 year-old students to be present since they have been stuck in the same grade for years. She commented: “The presence of older students in children’s classrooms is dangerous enough to poison our children’s minds, so they should be separated.” it is common in Yemen for older students to attend school in the morning and younger ones in the afternoon which places the older one free to harass children. Jamal Al-Sami, chairman of the Democracy School, a local NGO, notes that sexual abuse of children is a taboo no one dares to talk about and which people prefer keeping quiet rather than informing security authorities. “People are afraid of shame and scandal.”

There is limited sexual education in Yemen schools which results in myths and hidden feelings among children. Last year, Al-Sami organized a sexual education program in his school which included posters and information being disseminated to children and parents. He even developed a guide for use by local police and is working to improve the juvenile court system.