San Antonio, TX – A 16-year-old ran away from home after she says she was beaten and had hot oil thrown on her for refusing an arranged marriage.
Police said Maarib Al Hishmawi was beaten with a broomstick, had hot cooking oil thrown on parts of her body, and was choked almost to the point of unconsciousness for refusing to go along with the arranged marriage, according to KSAT-TV.
The beatings stopped only when Maarib agreed to the marriage, which would net her parents $20,000. But then she ran away after leaving Taft High School on Jan. 30.
Her parents reported her missing and made a major hoopla in the news, KSAT reported.
They claimed their daughter had been kidnapped from their home, and said that they feared she had been harmed.
“Please help me. Every time we go into her room, we cry,” Abdulah Fahmi Al Hishmawi told WOAI-TV when his daughter was still missing.
The father told KSAT he grew frustrated with his local police department’s slow response to his daughter’s case, and so he contacted the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI).
He told KSAT that he daughter had been bullied for her Muslim hijab, and that he believed that had something to do with her disappearance.
But none of those accusations turned out to be true.
The Bexar County Sheriff Department said the girl was found in mid-March, but was not returned to her parents.
Instead, Texas Child Protection Services took custody of Maarib and her five siblings, between the ages of five and 15, KSAT reported.
Police arrested her parents, Abdulah and Hamdiyah Sabah Al Hishmawi, on March 23, and charged them with continuous violence against a family member.
Thirty-four year old Abdulah and 33-year-old Hamdiyah told police WOAI that Maarib was never abused, and that she wasn’t being forced to marry the 28-year-old man from Dallas that they’d introduced her to when she was only 15.
“He never touched her. He never go to her room. She never go to where he live in Dallas. I have nothing to hide. I’m not scared about this. My daughter and this guy – we help those together to build a family,” the father told WOAI.
The father claimed he was only giving permission for Maarib through the courts to go through with the arrangement.
Police were also investigating the man who was supposed to marry the teen girl and said it was likely he would face charges as well.
The Bexar County Sheriff’s Department was continuing to investigate and said the FBI was assisting them.