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28 September, 2005

Child-bride cuckoldry

"Mysterious Marvels of the Marrying Kind" - a headline in the Emirates Evening Post, which equally mysteriously and marvellously appeared on doorsteps at Guantanamo the other day. According to the text below this grippingly alliterative title, a third of UAE marriages between "people with huge age difference" end up in divorce within a year. Dubai Legislative Court Judge Mohamed Al Shamsi points out that:

"the aim of marriage according to the Islamic Sharia is to establish a good family that is the foundation of a good society and not for sexual satisfaction as some people might think. The age-difference is considered an important element [...] there is better understanding between partners when there isn't much age difference."

"Lack of awareness" is what (allegedly) encourages older Emirati men to seek younger brides - who are nearly always expats. But according to the Article 2/21 of the UAE Personal Law, as explained by EEP:

"...if two parties are not suitable for each other, or if the man's age is double or more than the girl's age, the marriage cannot be held valid. The exception is only when the girl has accepted the proposal."

Given there is no forced marriage in Islam, this exception seems rather moot: surely any marriage where the "girl" does not accept the proposal is no marriage anyway? Happily, EEP reveals, this law was recently used to prevent a 53-year-old dishdash getting hitched to a 13-year-old expat.

Unhappily, it didn't stop one 34-year-old UAE national taking a 16-year-old bride - that's assuming they are newlyweds, and didn't marry when she was even younger. Unsurprisingly, the young bride is already tiring of her comparatively elderly spouse:

A 23-year-old driver has been jailed for kissing a married 16-year-old.

The Dubai Court of First Instance sentenced the Syrian driver J., to a month in jail.

Meanwhile, Dubai Juvenile Court reprimanded the teenager, who is married to a 34-year-old UAE national.

Impossible have sympathy for someone whose wife is dealt with at a "juvenile" court .



Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dude, I thought you were talking about this story:

28 September, 2005 05:32  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

yeah it seems they love lolitas around here...for the rest of us its either MILFs or D.O.M.s

28 September, 2005 07:38  
Blogger black feline said...

shhhhhhhhhhhhhh..i heard they love rambos too..

28 September, 2005 07:48  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

Jailed for kissing per se? Or jailed for kissing a 16 year old? Or jailed for kissing a married woman?

Either option, it's a little harsh.

28 September, 2005 08:17  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

wambam. on another note, does anyone have a confirmed dae for ramadanadingdong?

28 September, 2005 08:18  
Blogger * said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

28 September, 2005 09:29  
Blogger * said...

Ramadan should commence on the 5th or 6th of October,depending on the moon.
What is this utter nonsense in the paper of a 34 year old man and his 16 yr old bride.What is the legal age for getting married?
Whats going on in that home btw?In whos home does a wife (a 16 yr old no less)come home at 2.30 am in the morning,in a taxi,and having snogged the poor driver as well.
The taxi driver is being framed for sure.This entire scenario with the 34 yr old and the 16 yr old is way too shady and kinky.

28 September, 2005 09:31  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Tim - the first and last would be offences under UAE law. Kissing anyone you're not married to is technically an offence (though I doubt they'd prosecute unless it was in public/someone complained) and kissing someone other than your spouse would be adultery, again because you're not married to them.

By this they obviously distinguish between greeting-kissing or kissing a child, and romantic-sexual type kissing.

28 September, 2005 09:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hrmm.. well, with people marrying 13 and 16 year olds, who's to say what's a romantic kiss and what's a father kissing his daughter kiss? It's a really scary thought.

And really, the girl can only be married if she consents? Right.. so the 13 year old who is obviously mature enough to make such a decision did consent, eh? Gimme a break.

Anyone who even thinks of marrying a girl this young should be put in jail with the keys thrown away. Disgusting.

28 September, 2005 10:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

PDA (Public Display of Affection) is a CRIME!!!! hahahaha
Noserubs and same sex PDA is alright.

28 September, 2005 10:31  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anonymous at 10.31

It is easy to ridicule that which you don't understand.

It is a much greater challenge, though also a lot more meaningful, rewarding, and culturally sensitive, to try to understand the rationality that creates the practices you may not instantly understand.

When I read comments like yours, I cannot help but being so ashamed by the ignorance and misplaced arrogance of the expat community I am part of.

Please correct me if I have misinterpreted your comment.

28 September, 2005 10:50  
Blogger Queen-M said...

Easy now, anon. at 10.50!

Yes, the other comment may not reflect a particularly intelligent view of culture, but this does not imply that all aspects of any culture can be justified by an intellectualized account of its underlying rationality. So let's bring the discussion back to the actual subject: the tragic lives of young women (or rather GIRLS) who are coerced into marriages that may reduce them to toys or breeding machines.

28 September, 2005 12:39  
Blogger akantha said...

Was just in Dubai at Starbucks, and overheard two women going on and on about how "hot" one of their boyfriends was. And I mean on and on.....I caught myself when I turned to see them both in abayas.

Perhaps the next generation will have the support it needs to break free, should they want to.

28 September, 2005 14:11  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

for the not so smart out there like me who didn't know what cuckoldry meant! cuckold

28 September, 2005 15:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Queen M:
"the tragic lives of young women (or rather GIRLS) who are coerced into marriages that may reduce them to toys or breeding machines"

pretty awful this is, but I am not sure it's the norm...or hope it isn't. The fact that these stories appear in the press usually mean they are odd and thus unrepresentative of the society at large. By the way I've seen lots of Western men here with extremely young Philipino girls. I know of one who is about 60 while his partner is 24. OK, perhaps you'll say it is out of choice but it can be argued that this is just as perverse....? I guess it's easy to focus on one society's ills while forgeting or at least pretending very similar things don't happen back home. The philipino is probably reluctant at heart but is forced by social imperatives (economic, visas to the West etc) while the Eastern woman-child is forced by her family???

Thin line here if you think about it...


28 September, 2005 17:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


by the way the taxi story sounds rather dodgy. There is probably more (or less) to this than meets the eye, unless the 16 year old has a penchant for cabbies or something kinky like that...or could this be teh beginning of an epidemic; yellow-cabbie fever???


28 September, 2005 18:01  
Blogger secretdubai said...

L&S (can we please upgrade you to D&W - Diligent & Wise or something?!) I call these couples "graysians" = grey haired man/young asian lady.

Two things in their defence, as compared to child marriages:

(1) While 24:60 is pretty sick, there is a vast different between a 24 year old woman and a 13 year old, and even 24 vs 16 or 18.

(2) I have been surprised to find out that many of these ladies (lucky for them!) look a good ten years younger than they are. So more often than not, the 50-something bloke's apparent 20-something girlfriend is actually 30-something. It's still a hefty age gap, but not quite so shocking.

But in an ideal world, older women would be less despised by older men as potential partners, and young women (and their families) would be less gold-digging about finding rich older men.

28 September, 2005 18:14  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

I have been surprised to find out that many of these ladies (lucky for them!) look a good ten years younger than they are.

This is especially true of some East Asian (i.e. Filipino, Vietnamese, Cambodian) girls and Russian girls. In the case of the latter, they often start puberty late, sometimes as late as 17-18, which makes them look incredibly young. In Russia, it is not uncommon to see girls who look about 13-14 sporting tattoos and a wedding ring.

28 September, 2005 18:52  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

one day I was with my chick on the open beach at around 10pm near the burj al arab..

She was kissing me and i was kissing her then in the back a 4wd police car stopped and asked me to come over!

I went to the police me, and they asked my ID and then he said: You are a balushi? eh! I said ya sure. Then he said, What are you doing?

I said: i am relaxing with my friend!

Police said: A friend (male in arabic)

I said: NOOOO friend (female in arabic)

we kept on going round and round! Then the police said: Ok call you friend!

I was a bit dark as well, I called my chick over... then the police started to talk between themselves, I think its a male and other said no its a female!

Then the police said Hi to her and then she replied Hi!

Then the police told me oh sorry, and gave me my id and then went off!

My chick was so puzzled! she asked me what was that all about?????

I told her: Police thought I was kissing a man!

jeeeeez after this time i asked her to grow her hair and stop playing to much tennis!!!

28 September, 2005 19:16  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

has the uae community site been banned?????

28 September, 2005 20:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SD and Tim

You're right, many age relatively slowly and have smooth skin. But guys, let's not be subtle apologists for these horny old men; the age difference is often very, very marked. There are lots of Western (as in first world) men who find independent minded, strong willed, cerebral Western women too difficult to "manage" and too intellectually aggressive (some reach for the Viagra) so how about seeking a docile, economically marginalised, desperate Filipino (or Czech or Russian for that matter)wife...most of these pot-bellied fellas stand no chance of getting a date with an equally young Western women yet they find obedient wives out in Eastern Europe, Russia and places like the Philipines.By the way this in no way is intended to demean any nationality. Philipinos are wonderful people.

'tis the truth I'm afraid...

hey SD L&S could mean a lot of things so no upgrade required (consider: learned and scholarly, lazy and stupid, lustful and stupored, libellous and secretive .... etc etc!!)

28 September, 2005 20:43  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

SD and Tim
Regardless of the graysian issue, child marriages are most definitely, certainly a no-no - this is not really debateable ...I totally agree with you on that.

28 September, 2005 20:58  
Blogger secretdubai said...

has the uae community site been banned?????

Not for me - are you getting the actual proxy block warning or something like a network timed-out?

Sometimes there can be an odd glitch where you get a proxy warning in error, but reload a few times and you get through fine.

There shouldn't be any reason for UAE Community blog to get blocked - everyone there behaves well and any inappropriate stuff is deleted or edited (not that there's really been any).

28 September, 2005 22:11  
Blogger pixelsonic said...

So I wonder...if 13 is OK how low can you go?

No matter what the rationale or cultural issues I'd have to say that anyone doing it with a minor fits in the same echolon or perversion as those sex tourists who flock to Thailand etc. Just sick.

It's not like there's a shortage of unmarried UAE local women of marriage age or something so I don't see any excuse.

28 September, 2005 23:42  
Blogger * said...

Anon at 10.50
It is allright to correct and berate anon at 10.31.
But shouldnt the question be asked here what good muslim man allows his "wife" to be running around town and coming into the house at 2.30am?And in a taxi?
Where was she?If it was some kind of family emergency(giving them benefit of doubt),then as a good husband,it is his duty to collect her from where she is.Even if it was his daughter for example,she shouldnt have been out of the house at this odd hour.As a husband/father/brother it is their duty to protect and be responsible for the woman of the house.
Then on what basis he is questioning her morals when he none himself?

29 September, 2005 10:11  
Blogger black feline said...


was it just a perk or french kiss? pls confirm..and i suspect u were indeed kissing a man..base on your tendency..LOL..u should grow your hairs

29 September, 2005 12:18  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


Young Brides or Young Mothers

Two wrongs do not make one right. And much as I do not approve of huge age difference between partners but we should be careful to dissociate the fact that some marry for the fun of it and some marriages does provide a benefit to both partners and we can dwell on that if you so wish.
As example is the financial support offered to the female partner and her parents in some societies or the search for comfort and respectable "official" life with the husband. Of course other cases do go pear shaped and again there is no winner in any case.

As for drawing a comparison between Young Brides and Young Mothers. I would like to draw your attention to the recent UK phenomenon of having Young Unmarried mothers with children all over the land to the extent that HMG was forced to take steps to educate young girls on the dangers and the unacceptability of society towards this situation.

So there you have it. Is it possible to draw a distinction between the Philippina or other nationality seeking financial comfort for her and maybe her parents at the hands of an older richer husband better or different from the young Brit mothering a child at a similar age but without the benefit of a husband so that she gets a council flat and the child support income from the state.

What is the difference between the Philippina and the Brit?

Who would fit better in society?

Whose child will be better off in real life?

As I said before, there is no ideal situation, and before you jump on your "Western" and "Elitist" bandwagon admonishing that which you cannot comprehend for the simple desire to spit in the well you are drinking from. I suggest you glance an eye as to what happens to your own girls back home.


29 September, 2005 14:24  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is indeed a very controversial issue. Historically, marriages with very young girls was justified by some via the following reasons:

1) Helping girls from poorer homes achieve some measure of economic prosperity by being married off young to an older, and hence more established, male.

2) Reproductive pressure introduced earlier on females in less developed, more agrarian/pastoral societies

3) The potentially justifiable belief that younger females were much more fertile than older ones

Modern (i.e 20th century to-date) life has largely nullified these reasons, if they were justifiable to start with.

1) Modern societies have state welfare, non-governmental institutions, women's organisations and charitable bodies that can potentially address the problems of girls from disadvantaged backgrounds

2) Modern working life denigrates over-domesticity in women, especially via the social signals given off by other women

3)While science is now making this point a fact (it is more problematic to conceive as time goes on, as well as increasing the risk of genetic damage), few women are ready to commit to marriage at a young age.

Besides, biologically, men peak sexually by 18, where as women peak sexually by 30. So one would face a scenario of a sexually depleted male engaging a sexually immature female in the case of old men marrying extremely young girls.

Problematic, not to mention aesthetically and morally disgusting.


30 September, 2005 00:27  
Blogger pixelsonic said...

Hello? I can't believe that someone is using the cultural didive thing again to deflect criticism....a 13 year old girl? Even 16 is pretty young! I could understand if there were no other women to choose from but come on, marrying kids is just perverted! Why else but for (questionable)sexual gratification?!?

30 September, 2005 02:17  
Blogger * said...

Surely this is not the issue?No one has answered my question where was this female(16yrs or not) at 2.30 in the morning coming home alone in a taxi?
What kind of a MUSLIM man allows his wife/sister/mother to be gallivanting around at 2.30 in the morning?I say MUSLIM because this sort of thing is not allowed or acceptable in our culture?
So much so I do not think any western man either?Am I right?
Clearly the whole thing is much more than meets the eye.

01 October, 2005 09:19  
Blogger secretdubai said...

What kind of a MUSLIM man allows

I don't think you'll get a lot of positive reaction to this point, Kaya! The idea of a male "allowing" a female her freedom is rather alien and offensive to non-Muslims. I understand it's part of Islamic law and custom, but it's part that non-muslims generally feel least sympathy with.

01 October, 2005 12:05  
Blogger Queen-M said...

To Anon. 28 Sep. 17.52

Exceptions? No, I'm afraid that forced marriages are rather common - though usually not between two UAE nationals but between UAE national men and women from economically deprived families. See for example:

And this is only one among countless articles on the subject.

01 October, 2005 12:45  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"The idea of a male "allowing" a female her freedom is rather alien and offensive to non-Muslims."

SD: Does a person's cultural background actually BLIND them from understanding others' perspectives? Or is it some kind of denseness?

I'm from India.

Moral laxity and irresponsiblity (such as a married woman returning home at 2.30 am for apparently no explainable reason--irrespective of her age) is offensive and objectionable to:





-Indians (generally)

-Arabs (generally)

-Asians (generally)

-and perhaps many others.

Is there some "secret conspiracy" to divide the world into "Muslims" and (versus) "everybody else" that you also seem to be buying into?

Please understand. It is not our place to constantly assign the "moral high ground" to any one particular religion, nor is it strictly necessary to see almost EVERYTHING from a religious standpoint of "us" versus "them" of the two being a religious group.

The case being discussed, though, is highly peculiar and would raise eyebrows in any society.

01 October, 2005 18:24  
Blogger secretdubai said...

El condo - that's not the issue. What Kaya said was: "What kind of a MUSLIM man allows his wife/sister/mother to be gallivanting around at 2.30 in the morning?"

Quite apart from whether the woman was "gallivanting" or not, or just visiting friends, the issue with Kaya's post is the concept of permission, the man "allowing" the woman freedom. From my western background, that's bullshit. While I would expect a parent to supervise the hours and doings of their 14-year-old son or daughter, once someone is an adult - and if you allow a girl of 16 to marry, then you have to accept that she is an adult - it's their business what they do.

And I don't agree with you that a woman (or man), married or not, arriving home at 2.30am necessarily indicates any moral irresponsibility or laxity. Try not to die with shock, but I've been in jobs when I've regularly worked a late/night shift until past that time. Does that make me some sort of irresponsible whore?

Also to be noted is that all-women wedding parties in this part of the world tend to be extremely late night events.

Certainly, any spouse should prefer to have their partner's approval for their social doings, and not act in a way to upset them. But "allowing" your wife to go out? "Allowing" your husband to play golf? That's something alien and offensive to me. Within marriage or not, people are free individuals.

01 October, 2005 19:07  
Blogger Tim Newman said...

Moral laxity and irresponsiblity (such as a married woman returning home at 2.30 am for apparently no explainable reason--irrespective of her age) is offensive and objectionable to:

Anyone whose wife or girlfriend has not yet earned their trust?

But not me. Any girlfriend of mine can go where she likes when she likes, and will have the strength of mind to conduct herself with dignity and decorum when I am not present - even at 2:30am.

01 October, 2005 19:15  
Blogger * said...

SD,HUN u misunderstand me.
It may be unpalatable for you to view the concept of "seeking husband's permission", but this is how our system works and we are all aware of it.Whether its hypocrisy is irrelevant,because thats how it is and you cant beat the system.We know when we are born,and when we get married there are certain things that may or not be available to us and that depends on our husband's discretion.
Its not some fuedal lord scenario its just a way of life.
Sweety if you come home at 02.30 from work,this is your life and you dont have anyone to answer to. Even if you have he is able to understnd that yes,u have gone for work or whatever and you could be back late and this understanding exists between you and it is acceptable to both of you.
But when it is not acceptable to one party, should the other party venture out irrespective, knowing fully well what the response will be on return.
I am saying MUSLIM again and again because it is not aimed at westerners,it is aimed at us with all our restrictions.
If he couldnt deal with her going out,then he should not have let her go.And if he let her go and he couldnt deal with her coming back at that time then he shouldve been there to collect her.
But to question her,accuse her or point fingers on her character he HAS NO RIGHT.

01 October, 2005 22:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

To me, wearing a black cover(abaya) all the time when in out under such hot sunshine sounds like a torture. Black really accumulates heat. White certainly is much cooler and comfortable under the sun. Terrible : (

02 October, 2005 08:48  
Blogger secretdubai said...

Well, traditionally people in desert areas - especially women - ventured out as little as possible in the heat of the day.

But you are right that white is far cooler than black in the sun here. I heard a theory that dark colours "absorb the heat and keep you cool" but it simply isn't so: experiments with my own dress reveal loose, white cotton or linen to be dramatically better than any other fabric or colour in the sun.

02 October, 2005 12:07  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Condo says....


I think a bit of clarification is called for, since a young lady called Miss Understanding seems to prancing about with gay abandon.

My post above addressed a specific issue, the religion thing. I realise, and accept, of course, that you were only answering someone else's post.

As far as "permission" is concerned, my Mrs Condo requires none from him, although he always sounds her out on anything he's about to do that he thinks might have significant effects. For this, in fact, he does need her inputs. She sometimes returns home well past midnight, and he usually knows in advance what her programme is, so there is no cause for worry, even though she mostly travels by taxi. He is confident she will never kiss the taxi driver (I wouldn't do it either).

Gender is not the issue. In my post, you could substitute "married man" for "married woman", it would make no difference. Nor is it timing. If I was going to be home late (for any reason) I would make sure to call home and tell them my whereabouts and approximately what time I'd be home. If I was to merely think of myself as an INDIVIDUAL with absolutely no responsibility towards my wife or children, my marriage would have no meaning. It is not merely two people sharing a house, their bodies and their money. Marriage implies partnership, commitment, friendship, love and very importantly, consideration of the other person's feelings.

The16-year-old who returned at 2 am after having kissed the taxi driver, being still only a child, may not have fully understood these things. Marriages don't function on personal freedoms alone...commitment matters.

My point was that these things hold good not for Muslims only, but for many other religions as well. You were quite right in subsequently clarifying that, as a Westerner, certain concepts were abhorrent to you. While this is true, I might respectfully point out that you do not speak for all "non-Muslims", even though we may be in agreement with you on most issues.

Finally, I do not faint with horror to hear that someone's wife came home at 2 am. Indeed I do not faint at all. I know many respectable married women who work at Dubai airport and whose shift duites require them to return home at odd hours. Same with nurses at public hospitals who are close family friends. No moral turpitude is insinuated in these cases. The fact is that in most of these cases, if they are married, their husbands are well aware of their duty timings, and either sleep comfortably or are themselves working some ungodly shift, not pacing the living room wondering whether it's time to call the police and report a missing spouse. This explains the words “returning home at 2.30 am for apparently no explainable reason” in my post.

I trust I have clarified my position without offending anyone's culture.

Thanks for allowing me vauable real estate on your screen.

03 October, 2005 18:10  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

P.S. That was me, but the browser wouldn't allow me to use my famous pseudonym.

03 October, 2005 18:14  

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