Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Saudi Women & Marriage

From The Star:
Saudi Arabia plans to set a minimum age for marriage, a local newspaper reported on Sunday citing a senior justice ministry official after a court upheld the marriage of an 8-year-old to a man 50 years her senior.

Al-Madina newspaper also quoted prominent cleric Sheikh Mohsen al-Obaikan as saying that girls below the age of 18 must not be allowed to marry.

Obaikan, who is also an adviser to King Abdullah, is the most senior cleric to have spoken so far against marriage of underage girls since the court's decision last week which has drawn international criticism and embarrassed Saudi authorities.

Many young girls in Arab countries that observe tribal traditions are married to older husbands but not before puberty. Such marriages are also driven by poverty in countries like Yemen, one of the poorest countries outside Africa.

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