Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Yemen Jews protest 'kidnap' of bride

Jews in Yemen have staged a sit-in to protest the 'elopement' of a young Jewish bride 'with her Muslim love' and her 'conversion' to Islam. Mohammed Bin Sallam of the Yemen Times reports:

SANA’A, July15 – Dozens of Yemeni Jewish citizens from Sa'ada and Amran staged a sit-in in front of the cabinet last Tuesday in protest against the negative stand of the Ministry of Interior toward the kidnapping of Layyah Saeed Hamdi Al-Na'eti.

Prime Minister Ali Mohemed Mujawwar assigned a representative to meet a number of Jewish citizens. The Jews gave the representative two copies of a petition that addressed both the prime minister and the attorney general complaining about the stand of the Ministry of Interior and the guards of Tourist City where they live.

They demanded an urgent investigation into the disappearance of Layyah, 16, and the arrest of those responsible for her "kidnapping". Layyah vanished from her husband's house a week after their wedding.

The protestors further demanded that the culprits hand over the girl as well as the jewelry and money that were in her possession. They stated that the money and jewelry belong to her husband Haroon Salem, 18, of Sa'ada.

There were contradictory news reports about whether Layyah Al-Na'eti was kidnapped or whether she ran away from her husband's last Tuesday of her own accord.

However, reports from the Jewish community confirmed that Abdul Rahman Mohammed Hizam Al-Hadiqi, a Muslim young man, was accused of kidnapping her. Al-Hadiqi was seen during her wedding party accompanied by a number of his female relatives. Reports said that he took her from the Kharef area of Amran to the residence of her husband Haroon during her wedding ceremony.

"So far, I have no idea about the fate of my daughter," said Layya's father who attended the sit-in. "However I heard rumors that she embraced Islam a few days after she was kidnapped and that the judiciary of Amran agreed to marry her to the kidnapper Al-Hadiqi, who is from the Kharef area in Amran.”

The Jewish community said that they doubt the news that Layyah embraced Islam, demanding that “a neutral judicial and security committee be formed to investigate the incident and stop any attempt to marry her to another man."

Layyah's husband Haroon Salem grievingly narrated to media outlets the circumstances of her disappearance. "During the first week of our marriage, she said that she was menstruating and that I had to wait [to consummate our marriage]," he said. "After one week exactly, on Tuesday evening, she said that she would go to wash and come back. I waited for her impatiently but she never came back to our bedroom. I went to the bathroom to tell her to hurry up but saw nobody. This was on Wednesday at 1:30 in the morning. I looked for her with relatives in the neighboring apartments but I didn’t find her. I rushed out to search for her at the main entry to the city but guards told me that she left accompanied by a number of tribal men. These guards didn’t say whether Layyah went out to them or whether the kidnappers were inside the city."

Read article in full

Jewish bride disappears in Yemen

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