Monday, January 11, 2010

Divorce on the Rise in Arab States

Last year, a report mentioned that 40 % of Emirati couples end up getting divorced. The UAE has the highest divorce rate in the entire Arab world! The article said that infidelity is the major reason why marriages don't last long in the UAE. One of the things the article mentioned was online infidelity, i.e. looking at pornographic web sites and chatting with women online.

The below report by Olivia Olarte in Khaleej Times, said that Egypt has the highest divorce rate, with every six minutes, there will be a divorce!

Divorces in Saudi Arabia, a highly conservative 'Muslim' nation soared 30% in 2008 over 2007, 24,428 divorces!


ABU DHABI - Despite the social stigma attached with divorce, official figures indicate that divorce is a rising phenomenon in the Arab society.

According to the January issue of ‘999’ magazine, a publication of the Ministry of Interior (MoI), out of every thousand marriages in the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC), there are 33 divorces.

Egypt has the highest rate, with divorce taking place every six minutes. Egypt is followed by Jordan, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Morocco, said Khalifa Mohammed Al Mehrazi, Family Relations advisor at Dubai Courts.

In the UAE, there is no comprehensive study on the exact number of divorce cases, however, according to the Minister of Social Affairs Mariam Al Roumi, estimates show that there are some 18,000 divorced women and widows in the country.

Statistics in Sharjah show that divorce cases increased to 34 per cent in 2008 from 26 per cent in 2001. UAE nationals made up 60 per cent of the cases.

‘999’ reported that the Ministry of Social Affairs is planning to conduct a study on the rise of divorce cases in the UAE after mounting concerns on this issue was expressed by the Federal National Council (FNC).

“The main cause of divorce is debt,” stated Dr Mohammed Suleiman Al Faraj, Fatwa (Islamic Verdicts) advisor at the Abu Dhabi Courts Department, Family Guidance.

“Other causes are bad treatment, family interference from outside, violence and drunkenness and living with the family of one of the partners,” added Dr Al Faraj.

The difficulty of the woman to balance work and family commitments, conflict in nationality and social traditions and suspicions about the partner’s behaviour are also contributory factors to divorce, said Al Faraj.

In the first nine months of 2009, the Family Guidance division at the Abu Dhabi Courts dealt with 4,970 cases of family dispute in which 4,656 or 94 per cent of the cases were resolved. During the same period, 3,550 new cases were registered, out of which 29 per cent ended with no solution while 12 per cent found an out of court settlement.

Al Mehrazi said many of the divorcing couples are often ignorant of how they want the marriage to end and how they want to live after the divorce.

“Divorce sometimes creates bigger problems than the marriage itself. It can take five years for the situation to resolve itself, in two thirds of cases (and) the main victims are the children,” he said.

He added that divorce can be particularly traumatic for women who face the challenge of not knowing how to best deal with the crisis as well as the uncertainty of their role after the divorce.

However, Al Mehrazi said “Many divorcĂ©es have proved themselves capable of overcoming the ordeal and living successfully and helping their children achieve their potential too.”

He advised divorcées take the opportunity to continue their university studies, become active in social and charity organisations and encourage their children to do the same.

“We have to change the prevailing concept about divorce and its consequences. Divorce should be regarded as a new beginning in life and not the destruction of the life of a woman and her children. Any woman can make a new start and Islamic law has taken care of divorce and its aftermath,” Al Mehrazi concluded.

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