The parents of a 16-year-old Iraqi girl, Maarib Al Hishmawi, were arrested Friday for allegedly beating, choking, and burning their daughter after she refused to agree to a forced marriage.
This happened not in Baghdad or Mosul or Basra, but in San Antonio, Texas.
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Office reported that Abdulah Fahmi Kala Al Hishmawi, 34, and Hamdiyah Sabah Al Hishmawai, 33, beat their daughter with broomsticks, threw hot oil on her, and choked her “almost to the point of unconsciousness” when she resisted the marriage, which apparently would have paid the parents $20,000.
Sheriff Javier Salazar said that, beginning in 2017, Maarib’s parents were engaged in marriage talks with an adult man from another city.
The beatings continued for as long as Maarib refused her parents’ demand. In order to stop the violence, she reportedly told her parents she would marry the man.
But in January, as the marriage date neared, Maarib ran away and was cared for by an anonymous organization. She, along with her five younger siblings, is now in the custody of child protective services.
Sheriff Javier Salazar said that the Hishmawi parents are being charged with at least one felony count of continuous family violence. He added that the would-have-been-groom will also likely be charged, and that the FBI may add their own charges.
The San Antonio Express-News reported that as the parents were being led away in handcuffs, the father “could be heard shouting to media, blaming the daughter for the situation.”
The Hishmawis have reportedly been in the U.S. for two years on a visa.
As usual, most media reports called this an “arranged” marriage, even though it had never been arranged with the to-be bride.
Women’s March leader Linda Sarsour could not be reached for comment.