Focus (the German news magazine) brought this up today, and it's one of those German immigration issues that has not really been discussed in the public much.
In Germany, if you want to get married.....both members need to be a minimum of 18 years old....or under some judge's consent....down to age 16.
Well....some Muslim couples have shown up and it's obvious from the passport or paperwork they carry.....that the wife is under this age. In fact, they have some episodes that suggest the wife married at age 15.
Under Syrian law....it's all legit and perfectly OK.
So this brings up child marriage arrangements, Sharia law, forced marriages, and minors (by the definition of Germany). What's said by Focus is that there are at least 350 cases from North Rhine-Westphalia and the Baden-Wurttemberg states. If you go across all sixteen German states.....it might go up between 500 and a thousand cases.
Family courts have found different ways of viewing this, and what there needs to be.....is one simple Berlin-defined definition (written down into law).
Course, this drags up the problem of arranged marriages and where some fifteen-year old gal might confess that she was put into this marriage at age ten and does not want to be with her husband. The husband will insist that things were arranged and that it's not the German government's business to get between him and his wife.
Naturally, you can fee the liberal folks getting a bit of heartburn because they really don't like the way this situation smells.
In case you were interested.....in Yemen....the age of consent is nine. No one from the govenrment has said they've had a case from Yemen folks yet.....but you just get this feeling that it'll happen sooner or later.
Few Germans realize it and historians never go back to discuss this much....but into the mid-1800s....in France and Germany, it was commonly accepted for the age of consent to be ten to thirteen (depending on the region you were in). As Germany went into the 1920s.....the age was set to age 14. Up until the 1920s.....even Greece still had a law on the books for the age of consent to be set at age 12.
The issue at hand? I think that some Germans would like to quietly make some law which says child marriages and arranged marriages will be legally viewed as accepted....but then someone might look at this...a German guy for example, and go off to Pakistan to arrange for a marriage there with a 12-year old wife. The 40-year old German guy would return with his 12-year old wife, and throw the accepted German situation into the faces of the German government. They'd be forced to accept the guy and his situation.
It opens up some frustrating feelings with the German public.
Being from Alabama, and knowing the history lost upon people.....I often point out that until the 1880s there.....the age of consent was 10 years old (please note as well....California also had such a age consent).
But by opening up this whole consent thing....drags out the educational differences between Germans and those of the Middle East. You could very easily come across some young gal who is 15 years old and marginally educated to the level of the 2nd grade.....married in some arranged deal. Will the local social office mandate educational classes for the young lady, and if she reaches a stage of education where she questions the whole lifestyle and marriage....will this not create more problems in the future?
Yeah....a bucket of worms....if you ask me.
But don't worry about accepting the 2nd or third wife situation.....the German court system already wrote a law into effect that the German gov't has to accept such a situation (that's been on the books for more than three or four years).