The Senate recently unanimously passed the awkwardly named “International Protecting Girls by Preventing Child Marriage Act of 2010“, which obligates the government to track child marriage rates globally and fund programs to reduce it in countries with a child marriage of over 40 percent. The act mentions only one Muslim country by name (Bangladesh), but it may be one of the most ‘Islamophobic’ pieces of legislation ever voted on by the United States Senate.
Islam is the only major world religion where child marriage has the religious sanction of its prophet. Mohammed ‘married’ Aisha, his most notable wife, when she was six years old.
The marriage was consummated when she was nine or ten at the latest. Like so many marriages, it was the product of an alliance between her father and Mohammed. Aisha’s merchant father was Mohammed’s first ally outside his family, and went on to be Mohammed’s successor. That alliance was sealed with the sexual abuse of his little girl.
Such arrangements are still common in the Muslim world today, where little girls are treated as gifts to seal an alliance.
Islam was born out of the brutal rape of a little girl. As the mother of the Sunni Caliphate, Aisha is not just an incidental figure. Her marriage to Mohammed lies at the heart of Islam. The alliance between her father and her abuser made Islam viable by giving its prophet his first real power base. After Mohammed’s death, her father used that connection to the Chief Prophet of Islam, to gain the political upper hand over Mohammed’s son-in-law in the civil war that arose afterward. And it was her father who oversaw the codification of the Koran in its written form.