Saudi men are increasingly marrying foreign women because of the high bride prices for local women or their refusal to become second wives, Saudi Interior Minister Prince Nayef bin Abdel Aziz said Thursday.
"I believe this is a social problem we have to address," Prince Nayef told the Riyadh-based Okaz newspaper.
Saudi men and women must obtain interior ministry authorization in order to marry a foreigner.
"The ministry is suffering from an increase in demands for marriage with foreigners, because of the high bride dowries or the refusal of some young women to become second wives," he said.
Parents of young women throughout the Gulf are regularly demanding as to marriage costs. Bridegrooms' families have to help pay for de luxe wedding banquets.
"If a father can help his son (to marry), it is better to contribute to paying for a house and furniture rather than waste money on a party lasting only one night," Prince Nayef said.
On the prohibition against women driving in the kingdom, the prince said: "if Saudi society accepts it, we will talk about this issue."
The prince, who was speaking at a cultural exhibition
organized by the Riyadh-based girls college where he conducted a long
interview through a closed television circuit with the girls
students, said women must play an important role in society, but "they must at the same time avoid anything that could prejudice their religion."
He praised Saudi women, saying several had "attained a level of education and knowledge superior to men."
Women count for more than half of the student body in the kingdom, where the sexes are segregated according to this country's application of Islamic law – (Agencies)
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