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‘Your job is to serve your husband’: Wedding planner under fire over campaign encouraging young girls to marry

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An Islamic wedding planner agency has triggered a huge uproar in Indonesia over an aggressive ad campaign encouraging young women to marry and dedicate their lives to the servitude of their husbands.

The agency, named Aisha Weddings, recently embarked on an advertising campaign in which it encouraged women as young as 12 to 21 to settle down and find a man through the agency. Using its understanding of Islamic teachings, the agency also champions polygamy and did not mince its words in promoting the supposed virtues of marrying young.

“To be accepted in the eyes of Allah and your husband, you must marry at the age of between 12-21 and no later. Do not delay marriage because of your selfish wants, your job as a girl is to serve your husband’s needs,” one copy in the agency’s website read.

A screenshot taken from Aisha Weddings' website.
A screenshot taken from Aisha Weddings’ website.

The agency’s website and social media pages are unaccessible at the time of writing, but it was still active on Facebook as of early this afternoon. Its Facebook page contained photos of ad banners it has put up in undisclosed locations, as well as religious quotes and sermons justifying the early marriage/polygamy lifestyle.

Before the page went dark, the agency through a status update responded to overwhelmingly negative comments left on the page by calling on the public not to judge the lifestyle.

Among the many who were outraged by Aisha Weddings is the National Commission for the Protection of Indonesian Children (KPAI), who say they have reported the agency to the National Police over possible breach of Indonesia’s marriage law, which forbids the marriage of women under 19.

“So many studies show that early marriage can negatively affect children’s education, mental preparedness, reproductive preparedness, and their economic preparedness,” KPAI Commissioner Jasra Putra said today.

The Ministry of Women Empowerment and Child Protection (PPPA) also condemned the agency, calling on the police to investigate as its campaign may be in breach of the law and has created unrest among the public.

Despite Indonesia raising the minimum age for girls to marry from 16 to 19 through a President Joko Widodo initiative in 2018, parents are still permitted to request for dispensation from religious courts to grant permission for underage children to marry on the grounds of religious belief. This loophole — which Aisha Weddings admits to exploiting — has allowed for numerous underage marriages to take place under nikah siri arrangements, which are recognized by religion but not by the state.

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