Marriage brokers ‘stalking’ Saudi young men at airports abroad

The Foundation on Taking Care of Saudi Families Abroad has warned Saudi citizens against engaging in any temporary marriage contracts abroad

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The Foundation on Taking Care of Saudi Families Abroad has warned Saudi citizens against engaging in any temporary marriage contracts abroad, Al-Riyadh daily reported. Dr. Tawfiq Al-Suwailim, chairman of board of directors, said the foundation works with the ministries of Social Affairs and Foreign Affairs as well as Saudi missions abroad to curtail this type of marriages.

“There should be legislations and extensive media coverage for such marriages arranged by brokers outside the country. Saudi men should realize the ensuring effects of these marriages on their lives. Unfortunately, this type of marriages has spread out of control over the past ten years and have been called tourist marriage, summer marriage, common-law marriage and several other names. They all have one common thing: they’re temporary and the disengagement ends with a divorce,” Al-Suwailim said.

There are several reasons why these marriages have gone out of control over the last decade. Rich lifestyles some people enjoy is one the reasons. Another is high dowries requested by Saudi parents and the high costs associated with marriage ceremony. A third reason is the economic condition of people. That is why many Saudi men travel abroad searching for temporary low-cost marriages. A number of fatwas were issued by different scholars permitting this type of marriage. “Many Saudis don’t realize the consequences of their actions until it is too late. Besides, the different cultural backgrounds and traditions can be an obstacle to the success of these marriages,” Al-Suwailim explained.

Low costs

More old men than young ones are getting married in this way. Perhaps some of them could not find a Saudi woman who would accept him as a husband and they decided to go abroad. Young men with limited income come second in terms of marrying a non-Saudi wife abroad. For them, such marriage does not cost a lot. The third category is men of different ages who are already married but are searching for a second wife while the fourth one is the young men who travel to study or have fun abroad and decide to marry there. The last category is the most dangerous one; they are the ones who get married based on fatwas permitting this type of marriage.

Successful cases

This does not mean that all marriage cases involving Saudi men and non-Saudi women are not successful. Some cases proved to be successful due to similarity in traditions and values husbands and wives hold. But as mentioned earlier, the majority of the cases are a fiasco and have cost both couples and their children a hefty price.

Number of unmarried women

More and more Saudi women miss the train of marriage and pass their thirties without getting married. The last statistics put their number at around 1,500,0000 and the number is expected to go up this year, said Al-Suwailim. Poverty and unemployment among young men are two important reasons why the majority of men do not want to get married to Saudi women. Another reason is most young women who have passed 30 years old refuse to be second wives. Some women put education and work above marriage and prefer to delay marriage at their own risk. “Let’s not forget that some fathers are greedy and demand higher dowries when someone proposes to their daughters,” he said.

Airport brokers

A group of citizens, Al-Riyadh daily interviewed, agreed that most Saudi young men who travel to certain countries are targeted by marriage brokers from the moment they step on the airport of that country. The brokers even target men who appear to be religious and try to convince them to get married in this way. They called upon any Saudi who want to travel abroad to visit the Ministry of Foreign Affairs website and read the pieces of advice the ministry has posted for them.

This article was first published in the Saudi Gazette on May 15, 2015.