The engagement of a 12-year-old boy in Egypt's Al Fayoum governorate sparked outrage on social media over the weekend. 

Speaking to Youm 7, the boy's relatives, who chose to remain anonymous, confirmed the bizarre case which shocked thousands online. 

"The boy's name is Ahmad Eid, and he is 12-years-old," they said, adding that Eid's bride, Shaima Qanawi, is four years older than he is. 

Both Eid and Qanawi are underage and their parents stand to face legal consequences if they marry before they reach 18 years of age - the legal minimum marital age in Egypt. 

Photos of their engagement went viral on social media, leading to a heated debate over the issue of child marriage in the country. 

The engagement has gone viral online and people are outraged...

"People have just lost their minds."


Some can't bring themselves to believe the incident

"Stop the debate over this, maybe he's this woman's brother. You just enjoy making a fuss over everything."

Others are having none of it though

"12 and 16 years-old! This is crazy. Is he marrying her so that they can do their school work together?" 

"The definition of tragedy"

Child marriage is a major issue in Egypt

Child marriage cases are widespread in Egypt and continue to be a major problem, especially in rural areas.

In total, an estimated 13.9 million children, both boys and girls, are victims of child marriages in the country. 

According to Youm 7, recent statistics reveal alarming rates of those types of cases in Egypt. 

"2017 demography reports show that in one year, 11,424 Egyptian boys married while under the age of 18. 

859 out of that number, were cases where the groom was under the age of 15," the local publication wrote

Experts estimate that the number of underage marriage cases among girls is also extremely high.

It's also a widespread global problem

"Globally, 39,000 child marriages occur daily"

Child marriage is a problem in countries around the world, including the United States.

According to the World Economic Forum, 117 countries around the world allow child marriages, either because there is no 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.

In recently released global slavery statistics, forced marriage was included for the first time showing ‘money and debt’ to be at the heart of the exploitation.

The figures, from the UN’s International Labour Organization (ILO) and the Walk Free Foundation revealed that 15.4 million people were forced into marriage last year. 

Children account for 10 million of the overall 40.3 million total, while women and girls accounted for 71% or 29 million of all modern slavery victims in 2016.

As the problem persists globally, individuals and organizations have been fighting against the practice in the Arab world.

Earlier this year, Egypt's Minister of Health and Population Ahmed Emad Al Deen announced that the country's National Population Council is now finalizing legislation to criminalize child marriage. 

In July, members of Saudi Arabia's Shura Council sent a letter to the Justice Ministry demanding that marriage for girls under 15 years of age be banned.

Lebanese NGO, KAFA, has long been fighting for change, launching numerous campaigns in an effort to amend Article 9 of the Lebanese Constitution, which gives religious authorities the freedom to impose their own laws on various issues including marriage, divorce, and child custody.