Saudi Arabia’s Top Cleric Bans Forced Marriage

Saudi Arabia’s top cleric has announced a ban of forced marriage. Sheik Abdul Aziz said, “Forcing a woman to marry someone she does not want and preventing her from wedding that whom she chooses…is not permissible” under Islamic law, reports BBC News. Saudi newspapers are reporting that forced marriages are believed to be a major factor in the high divorce rate in Saudi Arabia, as almost half of all marriages in Saudi Arabia end in divorce.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Sheik Aziz went on to say that those who force women to marry should be jailed, saying, “Fathers who insist on making their daughters marry those they do not desire should be punished by imprisonment and should not be released until they change their minds.”

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BBC News 4/12/05; Chicago Tribune 4/13/05; The Associated Press 5/12/05

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