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Egypt: Islamist MP backs bill allowing girls to marry at 14

last update: May 03, 17:05

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Cairo, 3 May (AKI) - A bill to allow girls as young as 14 to marry should not be rejected out of hand, as girls in some areas of the country mature earlier, according to a Salafite member of Egypt's parliament

"The bill to lower to 14 the minimum age at which girls can marry is plausible and is linked to traditions and the natural environment," Abdel Hakim Masoud told Adnkronos International.

"There are areas of the country where girls reach physical maturity earlier," Masoud said.

The bill was tabled by several lawmakers from the parliament's religious affairs commission. Under current Egyptian law, girls may not marry before the age of 18.

"The idea of lowering the marriageable age is one to be explored, but the current climate in Egypt is not the the most favourable one for such projects," said Masoud.

Tensions persist between the Islamist-dominated parliament elected in staggered polls last November and the ruling military council.

Two leading Islamist candidates suspended their campaigns on Wednesday ahead of this month's presidential election after at least eleven people were killed and more than 160 wounded near Egypt's defence ministry in central Cairo after armed men assaulted protesters demanding an end to army rule.

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