The Center for the Management of Female Islamic Seminaries in Iran has lambasted human rights advocates for protesting child marriage.
Referring to the case of the fourteen-year-old Romina Ashrafi whose father recently beheaded her for eloping, the fundamentalist center said in a statement on Monday, June 15, that the groups against child marriage should also be charged in the murder case.
Romina was killed with a sickle on May 21, in the city of Havigh, Talesh county, northern Iran. Her father was detained after widespread reaction to the tragedy across the country and on social media.
Romina Ashrafi had fallen in love with a man in her hometown and after her father vehemently opposed their marriage, she fled with him. Later, regardless of Romina's warning that her father would kill her, police arrested and handed her over to the family.
The center in charge of seminaries for women argues that if she could have married the man no murder would have taken place. But in fact her family was opposed to the marriage.
The center has presented a list of what it calls "low-key suspects" involved in Romina's murder, accusing them of defending western-style women's rights.
Furthermore, the statement published on its official site has blasted "people who label the under-eighteen-year-old brides as children.
The statement has also accused women's rights activists of "sending a message to families to consider their teenagers as children.
The media has also been targeted by the center's statement, which maintains, while the "Taleshi girl incident is widely covered", the media disregards "the crime of [abortion and] dismembering nearly 300,000 silent and oppressed fetuses each year."
Although a few Shi'ite seminaries in Iran have been able to resist incorporation into the state bureaucracy, women's seminaries are totally run and funded by the state.
Exclusive seminaries for women was initially established by the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in 1984.
Women in the fundamentalist seminary consider themselves proselytizers for political Islam (mobaleghīn); they participate in a plethora of women’s religious gatherings, popularizing the idea of revolution and religious world order.