Chris Christie, Child Marriage and Islam


As a number of states in the U.S. have outdated laws on the books permitting underage marriages, their legislatures now seek to raise the age of consent. A proposed law in New Jersey was the first that would ban such marriages without exception. However, Gov. Chris Christie vetoed the bill, citing as his justification that it "does not comport with the sensibilities and, in some cases, the religious customs of the people of this state."

One wonders whose sensibilities are really at issue here as Christie demands the legal age of brides be 16. While he failed to specifically name the applicable religious customs to which he was alluding, Islam has long been recognized as the dominant religion guilty of sanctioning such marriage.

It would not be surprising that Christie would cater to Muslims. Not only does New Jersey have the second-largest Muslim population in the U.S., estimated at about 4 percent, but as governor, Christie has long nurtured a questionable affiliation with known Islamic terrorist groups.

It is outrageous Christie would defend child marriage for any reason. As in custody cases, it is the best interests of the child that should always prevail, and no such interest is better served, at least by Western standards, than by banning child marriages tied to religious customs established 1,400 years ago.

And, what happens when an Islamic state decides religious custom makes marriage permissible anytime after a child's birth, as recently ruled in Bangledesh? Will Christie accept that age as well?

Among Islam's modern-day proponents of child marriage was Iran's first supreme leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. He married a 10-year-old girl when he was 28. He would have been in full agreement with the Bangledeshi law reducing a child bride's age to zero as Khomeini wrote, "a man can have sexual pleasure from a child as young as a baby."

In language focused on Islam's legal limitation on sexual penetration but devoid of concerns for a child's emotional or physical well-being, Khomeini added:

"However, he should not penetrate vaginally, but sodomizing the child is acceptable. If a man does penetrate and damage the child then, he should be responsible for her subsistence all her life. This girl will not count as one of his four permanent wives. ..."

Calling marriage to a prepubescent girl "a divine blessing," he advised followers, "Do your best to ensure that your daughters do not see their first blood in your house."

Either Khomeini was an effective preacher or Iran boasts a large pedophilia-prone population. By 2013 it was estimated over 850,000 Iranian girls under age 10 were married. At the time, Iran's civil code allowed girls under 10 to marry.

And, in an ultimate act of "loving and leaving" them, Khomeini reported the Quran (65:4) mandates Islamic divorce procedures "shall apply to those who have not yet menstruated."

This "pedophile in a turban" wrote a book underscoring allowable sex acts under Islam involving both children and, unbelievably, beasts. As to the former, Khomeini practiced what he preached, engaging in a "temporary" marriage with a 4-year-old girl later in life. As to the latter, one only wonders.

No child of tender age should be expected to fully comprehend the demands and responsibilities of a marital relationship, especially one subject to Islam's religious laws. A child can only be protected adequately by laws ensuring she cannot marry, absent an ability to fully understand her marital responsibilities, as psychologically determined to be a reasonable, rightful age of consent to do so. Anything less allows the marital bond to be driven by an adult male's pedophiliac lust rather than a child bride's informed consent.

Sadly, sometimes a young girl's inability fully to comprehend the marriage commitment results in a bride paying the ultimate price for a Muslim male's perverse sexual gratification.

In Yemen, a child bride of 13 died of internal injuries only four days after entering into an arranged marriage. The medical report indicated she suffered a genital tear that caused severe bleeding.

It is questionable whether Christie fully thought through his veto. By rejecting what is normally acceptable within Western custom, giving ancient religious custom priority, he opens the door to other religious customs contrary to Western norms.

The U.N. reports female genital mutilation (FGM) is accepted as a religious custom in many Muslim-majority states. Would Christie seek to sanction this practice also in New Jersey in the interest of religious custom?

We can add to the religious customs list as well the practice of honor killings. Such a practice, for example, sanctions murdering a raped daughter, allegedly to restore the family's perverted sense of honor for her failure to maintain her virginity. This religious custom, via a million Muslim immigrants, now plagues Germany.

Where exactly would Christie draw the line to ensure Western values and lives are preserved if not with child marriage?

It is disturbing Christie lacks concern about the perverse rulings of supposedly educated Islamic scholars, such as Khomeini, dictating a wide range of acceptable sexual child abuse that would become legal in his state under a "religious customs" exception.

Again, falling back on Khomeini's interpretations of sanctioned religious customs in the Quran, Christie might be shocked to learn the ayatollah was a bestiality advocate, detailing in his advocacy the unfortunate beast's final disposition as well.

Khomeini held believers "should kill the animal after he has his orgasm. He should not sell the meat to the people of his own village, but selling the meat to a neighboring village is reasonable." (Apparently, Islamic law has some limited but bizarre FDA standards.)

It is incomprehensible a nation's leader could feed followers such perversion, touting it as scholarly wisdom of acceptable religious customs under Islam, as did Khomeini. But, as shocking as it is, Khomeini's religious interpretations of Islam are correct. This makes it even more incomprehensible a U.S. political leader accepts them merely because they qualify as such.

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Lt. Colonel James G. Zumwalt, USMC (Ret.), is a retired Marine infantry officer who served in the Vietnam war, the U.S. invasion of Panama and the first Gulf war. He is the author of "Bare Feet, Iron Will--Stories from the Other Side of Vietnam's Battlefields," "Living the Juche Lie: North Korea's Kim Dynasty" and "Doomsday: Iran--The Clock is Ticking." He frequently writes on foreign policy and defense issues.

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