Saudi Men, Foreign Women And Responsibilities Of Marriage

By American Bedu
28 July 2010

Just when you think you’ve finally heard everything on the challenges and cons of Saudi men who marry foreigners, you get articles which pop up like these ones in Arab News and the Saudi Gazette. Both of these are pretty much the same except with some slight differences. Between the two articles the following Saudi officials have either spoken out against Saudis marriage to foreigners or expressed high concern:

Nizar Al-Saleh, Assistant Secretary-General of the National Center for Research on Youth at King Saud University: marriage to foreign women is not advisable for those who are seeking a stable family life.

Saleh Al-Khathlan, Vice President of the National Society for Human Rights: The government will not accept such marriage contracts and the foreign wives will not be allowed to enter the Kingdom.

Abdul Aziz Al-Ghareeb, a sociologist from Al-Imam Muhammad ibn Saud Islamic University: Such marriages result in Saudis getting deadly diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis. Children from such marriages may also suffer from diseases such as autism and paralysis.

Ali Al-Hanaki, adviser to Awasir, an organization that looks after Saudis abroad (Society for the Welfare of Saudi Families Abroad), highlighted his society’s efforts in solving problems faced by such Saudi families. Foreign women sought marriage to Saudis in order to obtain Saudi nationality, and not to build a family or married life. Some couples married abroad have contagious diseases, and illnesses like Aids, hepatitis and venereal diseases. Studies have shown that Saudi men may be led into marriage with women who are already married or work in prostitution. Saudis should turn to Saudi girls for marriage as that would also solve the problem of unmarried Saudi women, while we should also make things easier for our sons in terms of costs.

Towfik Al-Suwalem, Chairman of Awasir’s Board of Directors, referred to his Organization’s efforts to correct the legal status of such families by proving the legality of their marriages. Yet after stating how Awasir can help, Al-Suwalem is then quoted as “We would like to present a study on the repercussions of foreign marriages on Saudi society and urged the media to enlighten the public on the negative effects of such marriages.”

So there we have the National Center for Research on Youth at King Saudi University, National Society for Human rights, Al-Imam Muhammad ibn Saudi Islamic University and Awasir all speaking out against Saudi marriages to foreigners. I cannot imagine these entities speaking out without the sanction of the Government of Saudi Arabia such as the Ministry of Interior and Ministry of Foreign Affairs, which are imperative Ministries involved in marriages of Saudis to foreigners.

I have difficulty understanding why a country let alone a country’s government be so involved in who can or cannot marry whom! For a Muslim country, attempting to place such control over marriages is not Islamic. Furthermore the reasons identified pertaining to the risks of such marriages are pretty farfetched if not downright preposterous! What kind of an educated Saudi is going to believe that marriage to a foreigner may cause the birth of an autistic or paralyzed child? How can an educated professor be allowed to make such an outrageous statement which portrays Saudi Arabia as backwards, uneducated and, well, I hate to say it but ridiculous! Wouldn’t it be better just to have those individuals make a case choosing better words with logic instead of attempting to make them look like the back end of a donkey? Saudis are not stupid. Even those who question have access to professionals and to the internet.

What do YOU think? I’m asking not only of the message which the article sends but the statements which have been made.

I also think the many comments which have been made to the article in Arab News are worth reading as well.

And yes, I posted my own point of view on Arab News but I’ll have to wait and see if my comment was published. I’m well known for saying exactly what I think…in addition to having had a beautiful marriage with a Saudi man.

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Tara Umm Omar

American married to a Saudi.