Don't Saudi men get it? Marrying off your 8 year old daughter to settle debts, and then having that marriage upheld not once, but twice by a judge confirms the suspicions most Western women have of Saudi Arabia. Despite all the technological and architectural wizadry they display, and the sophistication they claim, at their core the Saudi men prefer women to be chattel. They can pretty it up any way they like (protecting women and all that) but that 8 year old was nothing more than an object to her father and her new husband. There is no love at work here, on either side, unless it's the love one has for a favorite pet who must, sadly, be given away.
The 8 year old must reach puberty before she can file for a divorce from her husband, who has been banned from having sex with her until she reaches puberty. So if he has sex with her can she still file for a divorce? And assuming the divorce is granted (a pretty big assumption), would any Saudi male marry her once she is no longer a virgin? Would her father take her back? In Saudi Arabia women can't just up and live on their own. If they could they might have to be treated as something more than chattel OMG!!!
Somthing else to consider, and perhaps the imams and mullahs need to ponder this: in many Western countries there is a minimum age of consent to sex, usually 16 in America. Anything under that is criminal, becomes a sex crime, and the perpetrator is deemed a pedophile. It's purely a legal matter, one's religion does not figure in to the discussion. I wonder if Saudi men who marry such young women are really closet pedophiles using the Saudi version of Islam to justify their behavior. In the article the marriage is being challenged by human/women's rights groups. That means the law permits this, which gives legal as well as religious cover as long as a marriage contract and/or ritual is performed.
And, to be clear, if any Christian or Jewish group tried this I'd be just as upset. There is no excuse for this and no explanation that suffices aside from this being an exercise of power over and against another, in this case an 8 year old girl. To be sure, a century or so ago young women in European royal families found themselves engaged at a pretty young age to equally young men, for political and economic reasons. Engagement is not marriage, however, and this case is clearly about marriage.
Feel free to shop this commentary around to your Arab and Islamic friends, especially if they are Saudis. I'd love to hear from anyone who thinks they can justify this. Especially the closet pedophilia.