A 26 year-old woman in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) has been told that she cannot marry without her father’s permission.
The woman took her father to court in, Sharjah, the country’s third largest city, after he repeatedly refused to agree to her intended marriage. Although her potential husband was well-educated and had good job, her father did not believe the man, an American citizen, was on his daughter’s “social level”, she told the court.
Her lawyer said that the woman had “tried to persuade her father many times but he insisted on his position”.
The Sharjah Sharia Court ruled in the father’s favour. They said that the UAE Personal Affairs Law stipulates that a father has the right to refuse his daughter’s marriage. The court declared that even though she is mature enough to choose her own partner, her father’s permission is mandatory. They added that her marriage will be considered void if he is not present for the ceremony.
Local media outlet Emirates 24/7 reports that the woman may be able to appeal the court’s decision.
In the UK, Sharia courts have recently been criticised for an alleged gender bias in favour of men. A Dutch academic claimed that such courts will often refuse to grant women religious divorces, which keeps them in “marital captivity”.
Photo of Sharjah by Bertrand Duperrin via Flickr