Many took to social media to express their dismay and witty sarcasm at Saudi Arabia’s new marriage ban, which dictates that men are banned from marrying women from three Asian and one African country. Marrying women from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Chad and Myanmar is no longer allowed and should a Saudi man wish to have a second wife from Morocco, he’ll need to have his first wife’s consent to do so.
The new laws come as the Gulf state seeks to dissuade Saudi men from marrying foreigners and instead, encourage more marriages within the Saudi community.
For those living in western countries where there are no restrictions on who we marry, this will come as a shock. How can a country lawfully ban its men from marrying certain women? But whilst many took to Twitter – some angry, some wittingly declaring that the rules were in fact a blessing for these women, we can’t be that surprised that the government has imposed these bans.
Issues with inter-cultural relationships are still very much prevalent amongst other Asian and Middle Eastern communities with families refusing to acknowledge potential husbands or wives for their children simply because of their ethnic background. Where some people would put an emphasis on religion being the only determining factor, others take a more archaic approach and seek out people who have the same ethnic background, from the same city, town and even village. The fact that Saudi Arabia has ruled a law banning marriage between different nationals, is a stark reminder of just how alive these beliefs and notions are.
Even though older generations will insist that it’s important that a potential daughter-in-law is able to communicate with her in-laws and understand the customs and traditions of a particular culture, many do not feel as though these are dealbreakers. Rather than draw a line of separation between two people who are fundamentally happy together, the acceptance of inter-cultural relationships can go a long way in shaping future generations.
Whether or not you’re outraged by this law imposed by the Saudi government, it is worth noting that before pointing fingers and subjecting them to heavy criticism, it’s worth looking at our own cultural circles and tackling outdated notions amongst our communities first.