Head’s Up Saudi Men: An Indonesian Woman Costs SR187,500 To Marry

Egypt and Morocco are two of the countries I’m aware of that have drafted laws to protect their native women when a non-native man wants to marry them. Indonesia apparently has a similar law.  I’m posting this to inform Saudi men who would like to marry Indonesians and live in the country…you’ll have to cough up $50,000USD or SR187,500 but you’ll get it back within 10 years. Just think of it as a savings 🙂 Tara Umm Omar

What Exactly Is This Draft Bill About?
Terry Lacey
The Jakarta Post
03/13/2010 11:55 AM

The draft law proposing a US$50,000 deposit to be imposed on expatriate men seeking to marry Indonesian Muslim women originated in the Ministry of Religious Affairs in about 2006.

The 2008 draft bill proposes to abolish not only contract marriages (nikah mut`ah) commonly misused to justify sexual relations with foreign and Indonesian clients, but also to terminate nikah siri, another form of religious marriage used to morally legitimize (but not legalize in civil law) a second, third or fourth Muslim marriage, commonly misused to avoid charges of adultery and sin in forms of marriage not in conformity with strict Islamic rules on polygamy.

The drafting of the law was influenced by an Egyptian law requiring a lower deposit directly payable to Egyptian women and not involving state management of funds.

The Egyptian law permitted 173 such marriages in 2007 in cases where the age difference between bride and groom was greater than 25 years, on condition that partners were screened to ensure a genuine marriage and a deposit of $8,000 was made in the wife´s name in the Egyptian National Bank.

This is different from the proposal of the Indonesian Religious Affairs Ministry that $50,000 dollars be handed over by foreign men wishing to marry Indonesian Muslim brides to be held by the state for 10 years, potentially generating more than $50 million per year.

Paragraph 142 (3) of the draft law is the key provision stipulating the $50,000 deposit, along with explanatory notes as to its administration, to be retained by the state for ten years in a sharia bank.

The conditions of repayment are not yet clear.

Andrew Sriro, practicing family lawyer in Jakarta and author of Sriro´s Desk Reference on Indonesian Law, 2009, described the proposed Rp 500 million deposit payment by expatriates wishing to marry Indonesian women as “an outlandish, xenophobic assault on personal freedom and human rights, which is designed to discriminate against Indonesian Muslim women.”

He continued, “The Indonesian constitution of 1945 guarantees equal freedoms and protection under the law for all Indonesian citizens and foreigners alike. This proposed law flagrantly violates this basic constitutional principle”.

“The result will be that mixed marriages would be consummated overseas, whilst couples will refrain from registering their marriages with the Indonesian civil registry and consequently Muslim women will be deprived of the benefits of their community property interests in 50 percent of marital assets as a result of their inability to prove their marriage valid before an Indonesian court.”

There was no reasonable basis to conclude that an Indonesian woman would be any more economically disadvantaged in the event of a divorce on the basis of her marriage to a foreign man as opposed to her marriage to an Indonesian man, he concluded.

“Every person has the right to acknowledgement of fair and equal treatment under the law, but this proposed law discriminates against Muslims. The Constitutional Court will surely strike this down”.

Mark Hanusz, director of Equinox Books, the biggest English-book publisher in Indonesia, and married to artist Anna J Coto, underlined the need to respect the law.

“I am a guest in Indonesia, not a citizen. I respect the laws of the country. If this is what the people
of Indonesia decide through their representatives in Parliament, then I have to respect this and either comply with the law or leave the country.”

But what happens to the $50,000 deposit in the event of the death of one or both of the partners, divorce or resettlement in another country? Could the deposit requirement be enforced retrospectively on mixed marriage couples who married before the law was passed? Would the law be enforced upon long-stay or short-stay visitors?

The parliamentary process to amend the legal framework for marriage in Indonesia may have political and legal twists and turns just as in the Bank Century case, with complex realignments of liberals and conservatives, modernizers and traditionalists.

A contentious bill claiming religious justification — but from a secular civil ministry criticized by Muslim leaders for mismanagement of haj funds — may not provide a firm foundation for constructive change.

Rulita Anggraini, chairperson of PerCa Indonesia, an Indonesian mixed-marriage organization, recently said that if this debate is to focus on the protection of women, then the amendment and proper enforcement of protection measures in relation to the 1974 Marriage Act, applicable to all citizens and foreigners without discrimination in conformity with the Constitution, would provide a comprehensive basis for reform.

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Tara Umm Omar

American married to a Saudi.

9 thoughts on “Head’s Up Saudi Men: An Indonesian Woman Costs SR187,500 To Marry”

  1. >Assalammua7laykum sis,Nice post mashAllah, but it hasn't happend till now, because not all indonesian women who already married to a foreigner aggree about the new law.Like me, i'm indonesian married to a japanese/american muslim husband and right now we are living in Madinah KSA.Over 5 years ago,we married in Indonesia,without the new law,it was complicated to married with non indonesian >,<.Alhamdulillah Allah helped us with everything for our marriage.

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  2. >Wa alaikum as-salam, alhamdulillah you were able to marry your husband. I am starting to wonder why in the non-Muslim countries it is mostly easy for a national to marry a non-national but in the majority of Muslim countries this is not the case.

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  3. assalamualaikum.wr.wb

    really your posting so interesting and informatife i like it…
    iam lana indonesian, working in jeddah as nurse under ministry of health
    i have relationship with saudia man and we have planning to going marriage this comming december during my vaccation..
    and insyaalah we will marriage in indonesian 🙂 insyaalah, but the problem is he not yet get tasreeh from ministry of interior,, he told application for marriage rejected because he just only 25 years and they cannot processing that papper 😦 😦 really miskin we just only want to be marriage and have hallal relationship, , he working in one big univercity in jeddah and he was college in america…. i was fade up before and kallas hopeless but he always remain me about syarat for nikah because we are muslim , different age and nationality doesn matter…. yes that is true but i just want our marriage registered also in kingdom… really i have no idea about that ,,,, 😦 😦 untill now i still confused 😦

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  4. Asslam alecom one of my friend was married to an idonesian divorce women in saudi in 2000 just with some witnesses and as per sharia rules no paper work was done what process is there to legal the marriage in that dates they are blessed with one son 12 year old born in indonesia and getting problems to get admission for scholing .

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  5. Really, that’s a lot of money to marry an Indonesian girl in this country. I think Western men don’t go for Indonesian women for marriage because they charge lots of money. Woh, it costs a lot of money.

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