Opinion Editorials, October 2004, To see today's opinion articles, click here: www.aljazeerah.info




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Custody of Children and Courtsí Rulings

Adil Salahi

Arab News, 11/1/04

Q. In the case of divorce, young children stay with their mother until the age of 7, after which a boy is given a choice, but a girl is given to her father.

Normally Saudi courts rule in favor of the father, regardless of his character or ability to support the children.

May I ask why a girl is given to her father when she is much better off with her mother?

M. Asghar

A. Before anyone can make a statement about the conduct of the courts in any particular country, one should make a survey of cases and the rulings made on them, study the social circumstances of both parents and how the ruling affects the children. Only when one has studied and analyzed such data, one can make an informed conclusion. Generalizations made on the basis of hearsay, or preconceptions, are often faulty. Saudi courts normally rule according to the Hanbali school of Fiqh, but they are not limited to it.

According to the Hanbali school, the custody of children belongs to the mother. If she forfeits her right by marrying someone else, the right of custody is transferred to her mother. The right remains always with a woman relative of either parent, with the mother side having preference. When the child is able to look after itself with regard to eating, dressing and cleanliness, it is given a choice to be with either parent. The choice is not permanent. It can be changed at any time according to the childís free desire, and as often as the child wants. Access to the child is given to both parents on equal basis. This is the Islamic way. If there are violations by parents, with one of them denying the other their rights, this should be treated like any other violation of the Islamic law. It can be referred to the court, which will definitely rectify it.


Earth, a planet hungry for peace

 Apartheid Wall

The Israeli Land-Grab Apartheid Wall built inside the Palestinian territories, here separating Abu Dis from occupied East Jerusalem. (IPC, 7/4/04).


The Israeli apartheid (security) wall around Palestinian population centers in the West Bank, like a Python. (Alquds,10/25/03).

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