While celebrating his eldest son’s lavish wedding, Nasser Hassan decided to “double the joy,” by committing an atrocity.
He announced that his son Omar would marry his cousin Gharam.
Omar is 12 years old. His fiancee Gharam -who also happens to be his cousin- is 11.
As expected, their engagement sparked outrage, particularly among child and women’s rights activists.
After facing a lot of backlash from the general public and womens rights activists, omar’s father came out to tell local newspapers that he “is a free man and did nothing wrong.”
He further defended the engagement, saying that “Omar has always loved Gharam so much that he used to say he will marry her when they grow up.”
He added that both children acted “beyond their years” and developed “strong feelings for each other” through Facebook and other social media and “wanted to get engaged.”
That’s why, Omar’s father said, he decided to announce their engagement now “before any other man asks for her hand in marriage when she is older”.
“They will get married when they reach the legal age,” he insisted.
Egyptian laws prohibit official registration for marriages for anyone under the age of 18. But the practice remains prevalent. According to UNICEF, 17 percent of Egyptian girls are married before the age of 18.