Foreign Marriages On The Increase
By Abdul Rahman Shaheen, Correspondent
Published: April 30, 2009, 22:57
Riyadh: There has been a sharp increase in the number of marriages involving Saudi women and non-Saudis in recent years in the Kingdom, according to an official report.
The Ministry of Justice’s report also noted the trend for these marriage ceremonies to be presided over by Qadis, or Sharia judges, and attributed this to the reluctance of parents to conduct such marriages.
The report said some 1,635 Saudi women had married foreigners in the last year. At the same time, a total of 2,769 Saudi men married foreign women.
Some 682 marriages were presided over by Qadis, accounting for six per cent of the 130,451 marriages held last year. Riyadh Province recorded the most marriages of this sort with 58, followed by Eastern Province (10), Jizan (five), Aseer (four) and Makkah, Hail and Taif (two each).
Makkah province ranks first in the number of Saudi women married to foreigners (503), followed by Riyadh Province (428), and Eastern Province (336).
Makkah province also recorded the highest number of marriages of Saudis with foreigners (1,523) last year. Makkah was followed by Riyadh Province with 577 marriages of Saudis with foreign women.
One quarter of all marriages took place in Makkah.