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Saudis May Regulate Marriage of Children

Muslim Pilgrims in Mecca, Saudi Arabia.Most of the people of Saudi Arabia practice a particularly austere form of Islam called Wahhabism. According to the PBS newsmagazine Frontline (broadcast on November 15, 2001) Strict Wahhabis believe that all those who don't practice their form of Islam are heathens and enemies. Critics say that Wahhabisms rigidity has led it to misinterpret and distort Islam, pointing to extremists such as Osama bin Laden and the Taliban.Women Have few Rights in Saudi Arabia

Saudi women are not allowed to drive. They cant vote. They are work order management not allowed to travel or have surgery unless they have a mans permission. They are not allowed to be in the company of a man to whom they are not related; the penalty for this can be harsh as reported by CNN on March 9, 2009: A Saudi Arabian court has sentenced a 75-year-old Syrian woman to 40 lashes, four months imprisonment, and deportation from the kingdom for having two unrelated men in her house, according to local media reports.

An even worse punishment was meted out to a 19-year-old woman in 2007, as noted by The work order management New York Times in its article Ruling Jolts Even Saudis: 200 Lashes for Rape Victim. The November 16, 2007 report said the woman broke Saudi law by being in a car with an unrelated man, a former boyfriend.

The couple was sitting in a car when a group of seven men kidnapped them and raped them both, lawyers in the case told Arab News, a Saudi newspaper.

"The woman and the former boyfriend were originally sentenced to 90 lashes each for being together in private

The attackers got sentences ranging from 80 to 1,000 lashes each and between 10 months and five years in jail.

The Selling of Child Brides

Also in Saudi Arabia women and even children can be sold into marriage by their families.

That seems to be how an eight-year-old girl became the wife of a 60-year-old man in Unaiza, a community in the central area of Saudi Arabia. BBC News reported on April 15, 2009, Local press reports say the case seems to be an example of how some Saudi families sell their daughters for money.

Correspondents say the girls father appeared to have sought the dowry from the groom to pay off debts.

The mother of the girl petitioned a court to have the marriage annulled. The BBC said that, The judge said he had tried to persuade the husband to accept a divorce, but the man refused.

The girl is still with her family and there is no suggestion that she will live with her husband until much older.

The judge said that once she reached puberty, she could ask for a divorce.

The court then upheld the marriage on condition the 60-year-old does not have sex with his eight-year-old bride until she has reached puberty.

Saudi Arabias Justice Minister, Muhammad Issa, said his ministry wanted to regulate the business of families selling off child brides. However, as the BBC commented, he did not suggest the practice would be abolished.

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