BANGKOK — Islam’s guiding council in Thailand has introduced new regulations requiring that marriages of children under age 17 be approved by a religious committee.

The action follows an uproar earlier this year over an 11-year-old Thai girl who married a 41-year-old Malaysian man, triggering calls in both countries for stronger laws against child marriage. The girl was reportedly sent back to Thailand from Malaysia and put under the care of Thai social welfare workers. A senior member of the Central Islamic Council of Thailand, Wisut Binlateh, said Friday that Muslim children of any age in Thailand previously could get married with permission from their parents, but now children under age 17 must also seek approval from an Islamic committee that would consider whether the marriage is appropriate. Wisut said the measure took effect Dec. 4, when the Sheikhul Islam, the senior Thai Muslim leader, signed his approval. Human rights activist Angkhana Neelaphaijit said the regulation does not carry the weight of law, and holds no punishment for those who fail to abide by it.

Islamic law is observed for Muslims in Thailand’s four southernmost provinces for family matters and inheritance, but does not set a minimum age for marriage.


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