It's 2019 and child engagements and marriages are still allowed to take place. To make it even better, these unholy ceremonies are considered legal in so many Arab countries.
The alarming phenomenon is such a common occurrence in some societies that people think it's OK to joke about it. Over the weekend, Egyptian tweep Abdo Gamal did just that, posting an insensitive tweet in which he commented on photos of an underage couple's engagement.
"When a 15-year-old gets engaged, it should wake you up, stupid girls," he wrote, making fun of adult women who are still single.
Given that she's underage, her engagement and Gamal's inappropriate tweet sparked controversy on Twitter.
The tweep's post quickly caught people's attention and saw many criticize him over it. Amid the backlash, he posted a clarification stating he doesn't support child marriages in any way.
"To those who don't understand anything, I am just joking about the fact that it's too early for her to get engaged. I am 21 going on 22 and I still haven't thought about things like this. Calm down people and if you don't like this tweet, don't comment, I am not forcing anyone to, I swear," he wrote.
However, Gamal's statement didn't do much to end the controversy, which continues to flare online.
Many were just disgusted with Gamal's tweet
"Why do you make it sound like she's accomplished something? This is very silly; humans should have higher ambitions than marriage. We should skip over this news, it would be better."
"Is this serious, guys?"
"By the way, she's still a child"
"This is a crime"
Some called on Twitter to take action
Child marriage is no joke in the region and globally
Normalizing child marriages has become commonplace, and thousands of Arabs who marry off their young daughters use religious edicts to excuse their actions.
Even though the problem is widespread in the Arab world, especially when it comes to rural areas, it isn't limited to the region. It's also considered a global issue affecting numerous countries including the United States.
According to the World Economic Forum, 117 countries around the world allow child marriages, either because there is no set age specification or it is allowed under certain circumstances.
Globally, UNICEF says 39,000 child marriages occur daily. While one in three girls in the developing world are forced into marriage before the age of 18.