Latest modern slavery fight updates -

Texas Parents Burned Daughter for Refusing Marriage

  • Published on
    March 26, 2018
  • News Source Image
  • Category:
    Forced Marriage
Hero Banner

In the middle of 2017 Maarib Al Hishmawi’s parents told her that they had found a man that she would marry.

She was only 15-years-old at the time, and her parents said the man was going to pay the family $20,000. After marrying him, Maarib would move away from her home in San Antonio, Texas to be his wife.

But when Maarib refused, her parents turned violent. They beat her with broomsticks and choked her until she was almost unconscious. They even threw hot oil on her, said Bexar County Sheriff Javier Salazar.

Desperate for the violence to stop, Maarib finally told her parents she would marry the man. But as the wedding date approached, Maarib came up with her own plan to escape.

On January 30, Maarib walked out of Taft High School in San Antonio and disappeared.

Local authorities and the FBI issued a missing persons report, eventually leading to Maarib being found.

The Washington Post reports that her parents have now been arrested:

“This young lady … was subjected to some pretty bad abuse because she didn’t want to be married to this person,” Salazar said.

On Friday, authorities announced that her parents — Abdulah Fahmi Al Hishmawi, 34, and Hamdiyah Sabah Al Hishmawi, 33 — were arrested and charged with continuous abuse of a family member.

Maarib, now 16, has been placed in the custody of child protective services along with her five siblings, ages 5 to 15. Police have not said whether they suspect those children were also abused, Salazar said, and they won’t say where Maarib fled for help.

Notably, some women’s rights organizations caution calling Maarib’s situation a case of “arranged marriage” as “marriage is an agreement between two people, and, in some cultures, an arranged marriage can include significant input from family members.”

In contrast, as the Canada-based South Asian Women’s Centre (SAWC) explains, any case that is “characterized by coercion, where individuals are forced to marry against their will, under duress and/or without full, free and informed consent from both parties,” is not arranged marriage — it’s forced marriage.

Authorities say they are still deciding what to do with the man who was going to marry Maarib, though Salazar said “it’s highly likely that he’ll be facing charges as well.”


Freedom United is interested in hearing from our community and welcomes relevant, informed comments, advice, and insights that advance the conversation around our campaigns and advocacy. We value inclusivity and respect within our community. To be approved, your comments should be civil.

stop icon A few things we do not tolerate: comments that promote discrimination, prejudice, racism, or xenophobia, as well as personal attacks or profanity. We screen submissions in order to create a space where the entire Freedom United community feels safe to express and exchange thoughtful opinions.

Notify of
Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
6 years ago

If you come here there’s plenty of “wiggle room” for you to worship as you please, dress as you please, speak your native language in your home, and continue many of your family traditions. BUT if you want to live in America, live as an American. Come here legally, become a citizen, speak English in public, and obey our laws. You can’t sell a daughter even though you call it an “arranged marriage.” You can’t beat/choke/burn a child into submission. As this couple found out, there are consequence

6 years ago

Beginning in July 2017, Texas only allowed 16 & 17 emancipated minors to get married. All others must be 18 & older, even with their parents’ consent…
These parents & the prospective groom were breaking the law!!

Elizabeth G Hung
Elizabeth G Hung
6 years ago

I am thankful for her escape. I know what it is to be faced with being sold. I also escaped. I also know that what her parents did, they did with out the blessings of Allah. We women have the right to refuse to be married to anyone!

6 years ago

Again I wonder how comes that people like this can enter and life in the States. This people have to stay in their country, not being allowed to go to America, Asia or Europe. I hope this children can grow up in an environment far from religious middle age.

This week

Rounded up and abandoned: Europe’s covert support of migrant atrocities

It is well documented that inhumane immigration policies are forcing migrants to take extremely risky routes on their journey to seek asylum in Europe and globally. However, a year-long investigation by the Washington Post, Lighthouse Reports, and a consortium of international media outlets uncovered that migrant lives are not just at risk due to sketchy channel crossings and being packed in the back of refrigerator trucks. To dissuade sub-Saharan

| Wednesday May 22, 2024

Read more