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Friday, July 16, 2010

More on Saudi "summer marriages" - not just in Egypt

I mentioned earlier this week about a new Egyptian initiative to stop the phenomenon of "summer marriages," where wealthy Saudis come to Egypt, choose a (often underage) girl for temporary fun and games before returning home.

The Daily News Egypt has more details:
For the second year in a row, the Ministry of Family and Population launched a campaign to raise awareness of the dangers posed by underage as well as summer marriages, also referred to as temporary marriages, in the 6th of October governorate.

Summer marriages typically see wealthy older men pick a young bride from a pool of potential girls, a process facilitated by a marriage broker in exchange for large amounts of money acquired by both the facilitator and the girl’s parents. The marriage then ends when the visiting husband returns home after the summer.

"We are in dire need for such a campaign. Summer marriages are one of the main forms of violence against women, especially underage women," managing director of the Egyptian Association for Family Development Hala Abdel-Qader told Daily News Egypt.

"Such marriages are a mere business deal; they disregard social and personal compatibility," she said, adding that in many cases these women are forced to marry more than once.

Egypt embraced amendments to its Child Laws in 2008, setting the minimum age for marriage at 18 — instead of 16 — and criminalizing female genital mutilation, a practice that was considered the norm across most rural areas.
Firas Press republishes an article about a similar phenomenon in Syria. Apparently, children born to Saudi men are automatically Saudi, and some 70% of all Saudis living abroad are the products of "cross-cultural" marriages. In Syria, the Saudi Embassy has recognized some 400 households that resulted from Saudi men marrying Syrian women on vacation, and leaving them behind.