Dubai: An alarming rise in the number of child brides in Saudi Arabia has been reported.
According to Al Roumi, a social services academic at Imam Mohammad Bin Saud Islamic University, there have been 5,622 marriages where the bride is under the age of 14 in the country.
A report published by Saudi owned Al Hayat newspaper said that a number of families from “rural areas” have been marrying their daughters off to older, rich men.
“We must solve this, by at least looking at the difference in age in cases where the bride is young, in which case it can be deceptive,” Gulf News quoted Roumi, as saying.
According to the report, Al Roumi disagreed with those who opposed imposing a legal age for marriage.
He said it is a necessary step, but exceptions could be made provided that the age difference between the husband and wife was not large, and if it was disclosed how much money was given to the bride’s parents, in an effort to prevent what has been termed as “bride selling” to rich people.