Roger L. Simon

Divorce Saudi Arabian Style

Attention, Marcello Mastroianni – you career is not over. There is no reason you could not play an aging Saudi sheik in this remake of your and Pietro Germi’s masterpiece. [Oh, come on, you know there’s a very good reason.-ed Haven’t you read Calder Willingham’s masterpiece, New Hope for the Dead?]

Anyway, stop being a cynic, Simon. This is good news for a Monday. Progress in Saudi Arabia. According to the AP article linked above:

An 8-year-old Saudi girl has divorced her middle-aged husband after her father forced her to marry him last year in exchange for about $13,000, her lawyer said Thursday.

Saudi Arabia has come under increasing criticism at home and abroad for permitting child marriages. The United States, a close ally of the conservative Muslim kingdom, has called child marriage a “clear and unacceptable” violation of human rights.

The girl was allowed to divorce the 50-year-old man who she married in August after an out-of-court settlement had been reached in the case, said her lawyer, Abdulla al-Jeteli. The exact date of the divorce was not immediately known.


Saudi Arabia’s conservative Muslim clergy have opposed the drive to end child marriages. In January, the kingdom’s most senior cleric said it was permissible for 10-year-old girls to marry and those who believe they are too young are doing the girls an injustice.

But some in the government appear to support the movement to set a minimum age for marriage. The kingdom’s new justice minister was quoted in mid-April as saying the government was doing a study on underage marriage that would include regulations.