A sharia court in Malaysia’s Kelantan state fined a local man 1,800 ringgit (U.S. $446) after he pleaded guilty to two charges stemming from his recent Islamic marriage in neighboring Thailand to an 11-year-old Thai girl, local media reported Monday.
The 41-year-old man was charged with solemnizing a marriage and polygamy without obtaining the court’s permission under the Kelantan Islamic Family Law Enactment No. 6 of 2002, Malaysian online media outlet Harian Metro reported. The charges carry maximum fines of 1,000 ringgit each, or two months in prison.
News of the marriage in Narathiwat, a province just across the border in predominantly Muslim southern Thailand, angered people in both countries after it surfaced online in a Facebook post from the man’s second wife.
In Thailand, a government official said there was little it could do to annul the marriage because the couple wed under Islamic law by a local imam.
“We cannot immediately intervene because Islamic law, applied in southern provinces, allows this marriage with the parents’ consent, but Thai law doesn’t,” Kotrimah Hajiahrun, an official at the ministry of social development and human security, told BenarNews.
Officials from Thailand’s Department of Children and Youth, the Southern Border Province Administration Center and representatives from the Narathiwat Islamic Committee convened last week to discuss the case, Kotrimah said.
The department “met with parties involved to see how we can intervene or help this family. We need to make things clear. At this moment we don’t know exactly what we can do,” Kotrimah added.
Islamic committees in Narathiwat and other provinces of Thailand’s Deep South oversee matters of Islamic jurisprudence, issue marriage and divorce certificates as well as certify halal products, among other duties, but imams of local mosques operate independently of the committees, sources said.
Full story: BenarNews
Kuala Lumpur and Pattani, Thailand. Mariyam Ahmad in Pattani, Thailand, contributed to this report.
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