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.

[Snip]

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.