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Friday, July 20, 2007

Saudi "summer marriages": another form of legalized Muslim prostitution

From Arab News:
JEDDAH, 20 July 2007 — The summer season is known as a primetime for male Saudi tourists to marry women from other countries while on holiday abroad. These marriages are generally unplanned. Most men undergo such marriages with an intention of enjoying their vacation in the company of women who are “religiously” legal for them.

The marriages are ones of convenience. While men look for fun, the women are usually experiencing financial difficulties and see summer marriages as a way to be spoilt and have money spent on them. The real victims of such marriages are their children.

According to Abdullah Al-Hamoud, chairman of Awasser, a Saudi charity that looks after the welfare of Saudi families abroad, the Kingdom protects the rights of children from marriages between Saudi men and non-Saudi women. He added that such marriages are usually done without the prior-permission of the Interior Ministry. (Saudi law demands Saudis seek permission when marrying abroad).

“Such marriages are not only restricted to the summer season,” he said. “They happen throughout the year. Sometimes Saudi husbands don’t want to bring their foreign wives to the Kingdom. They prefer keeping them outside the Kingdom and frequently fly abroad to visit them,” he added.

The charity has offices abroad at Saudi embassies in Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, Yemen, Morocco and Indonesia. The organization also runs awareness campaigns for Saudis, warning them against visiting unscrupulous matchmaking offices.

“Children from such marriages are entitled to come to the Kingdom and be registered in their fathers’ family cards. However, wives can’t come unless they’re accredited. They also can’t get listed in their husband’s family card until then,” said Al-Hamoud.

“In cases of fathers denying they are related to a child, we make them undergo DNA tests to prove their identity. However, we haven’t faced such a scenario as of yet,” he added.

Awasser has also found that 70 percent of Saudis living abroad are the children of cross-cultural marriages. The society has succeeded in bringing 32 poverty-stricken children of Saudi fathers into the Kingdom in the past 18 months.

This article is as notable for what it ignores as for what it says.

Notice that there is no interest in the welfare of these women - presumably Muslims who cannot legally marry unless they get divorced.

While the Saudis claim to take care of the children of these sham marriages, only 32 have managed to join their fathers - presumably their mothers are left high and dry.

It is also interesting that no one expects Saudi men to go on vacation abroad with their own Saudi wives!

And most stunning of all is the 70% statistic. The rest of the world would consider these children illegitimate. The fact that a vast majority of foreign Saudis effectively are fatherless and being brought up by women who rent themselves out to rich visitors is glossed over.

The misogyny displayed in this article is chilling.