First item on a Saudi girl's study abroad packing list: a husband!
Under Saudi law, women traveling abroad must be accompanied by a husband or close male relative. (Shutterstock)
This is happening because students will soon embark on their studies abroad, marking the 10th year of the Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques’ Foreign Scholarship Program.
Many of these women are seeking to marry because they do not have mahrams — a close relative they cannot marry — to accompany them abroad, the report stated.
The Saudi government requires all women traveling abroad to be accompanied by their husbands or a mahram, which could be a father, son, brother, or uncle.
Some of the women have said that this is the only solution to the challenges facing them. They are ideally seeking out single men who are also heading off on studies overseas, the report stated.
In addition to having spouses abroad, these women would also receive a monthly payment from the Ministry of Higher Education, according to the report.
Matchmakers have warned that these women are marrying for the wrong reasons.
The couples would enter a foreign culture, which could place extra pressure on their unions, they say.
Umm Fares, a matchmaker, said that many women do not realize the pitfalls of getting married for these reasons. She said that she refuses to deal with anyone seeking a partner under these circumstances because it is un-Islamic.
The husbands of these women could be enticed by the culture in a foreign country and may even be recruited by terrorist organizations, she said.
The dowry for such marriages is the same as regular marriages, which is SR50,000, she said.
Umm Fares also warned that there have been advertisements appearing on social media sites recently by women claiming that they are rich and seeking husbands.
Some of these advertisements are fraudulent and run by men to make money.
The government is monitoring these advertisements, she said.
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