I'm tempted to post the garish photo of the "happy" couple, but it's not their fault, so why should I join in the pile on. (Mind you, I'm not suggesting the pile on against the family is not deserved.)
Anyway, the article notes this:
The engagement of Omar and Gharam “will only lead to an early marriage in which the girl will be deprived of equal chances to education, growth, and will isolate her from social spheres,” he said.
But if history is any indication, it’s unlikely the complaints will stop Egypt’s child marriages, a practice that is also prevalent in many nations in the Middle East, Asia and in Sub-Saharan Africa. Dar al-Ifta, Egypt’s highest Islamic authority, has repeatedly urged state institutions to make concerted efforts to stop marriages among minors.
But that has either had little effect in many areas or has spawned efforts to manipulate the law. In Egypt’s rural areas, families marry off their children but usually delay the official registration of the marriage until the couples reach the lawful age of matrimony to avoid legal punishment. As a consequence, any children born of the marriage will not be issued birth certificates or be recognized until then, legal experts say.
Omar’s father, faced with the backlash of his decision, told local newspapers that he "is a free man and did nothing wrong."
He defended the engagement, saying that "Omar has always loved Gharam so much that he used to say he will marry her when they grow up.” He added that both children acted “beyond their years” and developed “strong feelings for each other” through Facebook and other social media and “wanted to get engaged.”
That’s why, Omar’s father said, he decided to announce their engagement now "before any other man asks for her hand in marriage when she is older".
"They will get married when they reach the legal age," he insisted.
This wasn’t the first child marriage in the province this year. In June, a 10-year-old bride in a pink dress sat next to her 12-year-old groom, celebrating their wedding.