41-Year-Old Malaysian Man Reportedly Marries 11-Year-Old Thai Girl

“Marrying an 11-year-old girl is like the behavior of a child predator or pedophile,” said Syed Azmi Alhabshi, a child activist.



A 41-year-old Malaysian man reportedly married an 11-year-old Thai girl sparking public outrage. The incident once again called for child marriages to be banned in Malaysia.

Activists in the Muslim-majority criticized the move and labeled the man a “child predator.” The man, Che Abdul Karim, reportedly lives in a rural village in Malaysia’s northeast Kelantan state. According to reports, Karim has two wives and six children.

The marriage allegedly took place on June 18 across the border in Thailand’s largely-Muslim far south and became public after Karim’s second wife lodged a complaint at Gua Musang police station in Kelantan.

Despite the police report, the man was not arrested and was handed over to the Kelantan Islamic Religious Affairs Department after police said there were no threats or coercion to force the child into the marriage.

Under the Malaysian law, men in the country can marry four wives and can also marry girls who are under the age of 16 after obtaining permission from a religious court.

However, Malaysia’s women and families ministry said the marriage is illegal as there is no record of its approval by a religious court.

Deputy Prime Minister of Malaysia and the Minister of Women and Family Development Wan Azizah Wan Ismail said the marriage had not been approved by a religious court.

“Our officers have gone to the house and met the girl’s mother. We are waiting for more reports before deciding on the next course of action,” she said.

However, Karim maintained that his marriage with the underage girl is legal and was approved by the girl’s parents. He added that the girl will stay with her parents until she is sixteen-years-old.

The deputy prime minister added that an investigation into the incident was launched and if it is proven that the man married the girl without permission, he could be jailed for six months.

Child marriage in the country is a rampant problem in Malaysia and activists have long been fighting to bring an end to it. According to reports, more than 16,000 girls who are under the age of 15 are already married.

“Marrying an 11-year-old girl is like the behavior of a child predator or pedophile,” said Syed Azmi Alhabshi, a child activist.

Banner/Thumbnail Credits: Eric Lafforgue/Art in All of Us/Corbis via Getty Images

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