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Govt hurdles for Kuwaitis to wed foreigners draw scorn ‘Move violates law, traditions, Constitution’

KUWAIT CITY, Jan 12: A number of citizens, thinkers, lawyers, and religious scholars are surprised with the obstacles set by the State against Kuwaiti men marrying non-Kuwaiti women, adding the act contradicts the law, traditions and Constitution. They pointed out that forbidding a citizen from marrying foreigners will never resolve the problem of spinsterhood in the country, as the problem is rather caused by high cost involved in marrying Kuwaiti women, besides the fact that many Kuwaiti women refuse to get married at a certain age, while many others regard marriage as a personal choice wherein freedom of choice should not be interfered with, neither by the law or restriction from families or the State

Hassan Al-Saleh, a Kuwaiti youth, confirmed he has thought about marrying a foreigner due to high cost involved in marrying a Kuwaiti woman, while ‘’marriage loan’’ is not even close to covering the expenses. Thus, Kuwaiti youths will be encouraged to marry women from their own country if the Kuwaiti families decide to drop the many marriage demands “and without any doubt, marrying someone from your own country and own community is better than otherwise”, he indicated. Also, newspaper columnist Osama Al-Thuweini disapproved of the step to deter Kuwaiti men from marrying non-Kuwaitis and setting obstacles in an attempt to prevent them from doing so. Al-Thuweini pointed out that, it is not Islamic to categorize the issue of marriage by using terms such as - Kuwaitis and non-Kuwaitis, because, as long as there is compatibility, any Muslim man can marry any Muslim woman in any case. Also, the former Chairperson of Women Cultural and Social Society Sheikha Al-Nisf indicated that marriage is a matter of destiny and fate, and if obstacles are set in this respect, it will tarnish the image of Kuwait. Al-Nisf pointed out that, Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)’s wives weren’t all from Makkah or Madina; Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) also married from other places, where nowadays, we call nationalities. For his part, legal consultant of Kuwait Journalist Association Hamdan Al- Nimshan indicated there is no law or resolution that bars a Kuwaiti from marrying a non- Kuwaiti, although there have been cases whereby obstacles have been set by the ministries of Interior and Justice on the issue.

He stressed these obstacles are completely against the Kuwait Constitution, especially Article 29, sections 1 and 2 stipulating all people are equal in human dignity, public rights, and duties before the law, without distinction to race, origin, language, or religion, while personal liberty is guaranteed. Therefore, obstacles to marriages are unfair and violate the Constitution and religion. Meanwhile, statistics from the Ministry of Justice revealed a troubling rate of marriage and divorce in the country, where 9,040 marriages were registered among citizens in 2012, with 43.3 percent divorce rate, representing 4,067 cases, reports Al-Seyassah daily. The statistics also revealed that, in the same year, there were 4,910 marriages between Kuwaitis and non- Kuwaitis, and other nationalities (814 Kuwaiti males and 648 Kuwaiti females), whereas 2,605 cases of divorce were registered among the same category. The statistic indicated the rate of divorce when the husband is a Kuwaiti and a wife is from other nationality is 12 percent, while the rate of divorce when the husband is a non-Kuwaiti and a Kuwaiti wife reached 10 percent.

By: Najeh Bilal Al-Seyassah Staff

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