Tuesday, May 13, 2014

UPDATE: Marriage Laws in Oman

I had a one-sided agrument with a bunch of law students at Sultan Qaboos University the other day about the Marriage Laws in Oman requiring permission to be achieved first before marriage between an Omani citizen and an expat can take place. I say one-sided, because they basically agreed with me and I was just venting. What is wrong with the process we asked ourselves: it is unfair regarding gender, it is unclear, the process is unknown and not transparent and this leads to corruption, and cases are not considered on a case to case basis regarding clear processes.

The human rights issues involved, you can have no idea. Women and men (Omani and expat) write me everyday, asking what they should do, where can they go, and so many horror stories, you wouldn't know. The Interior Ministry has only 4-5 good people that I actually encountered in my own quest for permission. Maybe the others who work there are embittered, because of countless stories of marriages that failed? I don't know. Like many laws, this one needs to be clearer, needs to have exceptions that are clear, and needs to be fair to both sexes. Omani women deserve the same rights after permission as Omani men.

Islam is clear about it. It is halal, considering the religion of the Omani's intended. Oman outlaws it though. Although, how many Al Said Omani princes and Princesses do we know who are from mixed families?

People tell me I shouldn't talk about this, regarding my own precarious position in this country, and the status of my passport application. But I am sure those Princes and Princesses would agree with me as well. She totally doesn't know I write this blog, but I had coffee with one such woman the other day, and she was all "mashaAllah" that my husband was from Oman, and from the village that he is from, even that kind of life isn't the easiest for most expats.

Who doesn't agree: small-minded people who don't believe Omanis should marry outside their family and tribe, that's who. People who have no idea, that nationality is more about contributing to a country, than about race and family. These people often claim to be religious but don't care what their religion says. These people break my heart, over and over again.

I still think there should be SOME law regarding giving legal status to a non-citizen. People shouldn't just be given passports who would then divorce their spouse ect... and look for someone better. Or be allowed to marry and then divorce, leaving the Omani govenrment with full financial responsibility for maitenance (a lot of poor Yemeni brides in case from the early 80s). Divorce laws regarding custody and inheritance should be signed and explained before any marriage takes place to stop legal disputes involving borders and countries in case of the worst. All this I do support. But saying "no" to Omanis who wish to marry who they love or the one person who actually does want to marry them when no one in their own country or family does? This is inhumane, unislamic, and not very Omani to me.

The legal students began to propose different studies they could do on this one subject. I know for instance, the Omani cultural center, and some anthropologists looking into studying this subject, the impact of the law and culture upon Omani marriages (to Omanis as well as expatriates) would be something worth pursuing and documenting. The one thing that stood in their way was documenting cases, especially since many marriage take place without permissions ect.. or are hard to track since people fear for being punished for the exception the Interior Ministry has made for them, as if it could be retracted somehow... Or they are saving their help and advice and "wasta" for someone they are close to in need, not just random strangers.

Would you be brave enough to contribute anonymously to such a study I wonder?

17 comments:

Anonymous said...

I am one of those affected directly by this law. I married my cousin after getting permission from ministry.


I was denied the permission first, received it after using waasta.

But I am afraid I might not be your ideal target market for this survey, as I belong to the community that this law is intended to target. (Baloch).

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Anon: Are you an Omani citizen?---Balush, Zanzibari, Yemeni or Magan descent Omani Northern or Southern, to me it makes no difference.

The law was intended to target the men who serial marry Yemeni women and abandon them to the government of Oman to maintain (I am sure of that) not Balushi or Zanzibari either, these serial divorcees;). But it affects a wide group of citizens negatively.

Anonymous said...

I am the Anon. May 13.

I am an Omani Baloch who married my cousin (Pakistani).

This law was made once the Arab populace felt that the two communities (Baloch & Zanzibari) were still marrying from their previous origin countries and a demographic shift in population was apparent.

The law predominantly deals with those types of cases (informal figures, about 80% of the cases). Cases like yours (love story between Omani and a foreigner) and Yemeni cases you mentioned are in minority. You guys are victim of a broader policy that was enforced to slow down emigration from Balochistan and East Africa to Oman.

Most marriages in Oman are arranged not because of 'love' but family connections. Those family connections can come from any country. Government didn't want it to happen from some of the countries hence this law.

Of course, the government doesn't really care if some guys and girls fall in love and marry a foreigner . Such cases are rare and do not bother government as a policy.

Anonymous said...

Hi, I am a moldavian citizen married wiht an omani without approval. Why without? Because we just got tired and frustrated waiting, and the worst part is that the ministry of interior didn't give us any reason.

After a while our case was sent to the court. My husband was brave enough and faced the judge. He got just a fine, A;hamdulilah.
He, then, went back to the ministry and there they told him that still we need to wait at least 3 years. They want to make sure that the marriage will last and that our marriage is not fake (after having 2 kids)
So...approval or without approval, marrying my husband was the best decision ever....And y husband is totally refusing to use wasta to get the approval ( very proud of him)....

About the rights....if my children get the same rights ( and they are omanis) for me this is more than enough.
I do work and visa is still not an issue. But what will happen later...Allah Kareeem....i put my life in Allah's hands

Anonymous said...

I am married to am omani man without approval. My kids got omani nationality. Ministry of Interior said that they need to make sure that our marriage is not fake(after having 2 kids:)))))) My husband also had a court trial. He paid the fine but still no approval. With approval or without approval - if u have the family support, go for it.

Omani Princess (not Omani...yet) said...

Last two anonymouses: Thank you!!!!

One of the OPNO girl's her case is very simlar to yours. She didn't pay a fine of any kind but the waiting---it has been over three years now.... Yikes.

Anonymous said...

Indian boy can marry an omani girl ? Is this possible ? Please help me ..

Anonymous said...

I know this post is now old but I would more than happily participate in a study regarding this situation. I am British and I was working here for two years before I met my husband.

We applied for permission and got rejected but being an avid reader fo your blog I looked for an Imam who would marry us and managed to find one who agreed to do so.

We got pregnant a few months after we got married and were advised to wait until the baby was born to speed up the process of the marriage certificate. Dont know how accurate it is because we closed the case last january and we still havent received any papers! A case of "waiting for papers to be signed". We didnt have to pay for any fine. Still not sure how the rest of the journey will go but Inshallah Khair!

Out of curiousity, how did you get permission or go about it and what happened when your first child was born? how long did it take for you to get her passport?

Regards,

Waiting (hopefully not) in vain

Anonymous said...

So I am also married to Omani man without permission and we have a baby here. He is Omani...I have a job so visa with my job - application for permission ongoing - how about if I lose my job? I heard I can stay on my baby's visa - is that right?

Wanderer said...

I am really tired of this, i have been trying to get the permission for over a year now. i have applied for it and within two days got the rejection, tried as much as i can to get a wasta, then managed to speak to the minister, who had promised that he will get it sorted, then had my application re-opened and i was very excited that it is finally working and waited for months and months until i was shocked to hear that it got rejected again! don't even know why it was re-opened for it to be rejected again! i'm really sad that we have these kind of laws that makes no sense, there was also an article once on the omani newspaper stating that interrelated marriages are becoming a big problem in Oman, even marryign from the same Qabila could cause problems to the children, but even we are not allowed to marry outside! This really needs to change, as it is unfair to be treated this way in our own country and in an inhumane way. Something must be done.

Ayah said...

Hi! I am having the same issue. My fiancé is Omani and I'm from Kazakhstan. We gonna apply for permission letter but we don't know what to do and from where to start? Please if you have spare minute could you give me some advice about it? I'll be more thank grateful thank you����

Ayah said...

Hi! I am having the same issue. My fiancé is Omani and I'm from Kazakhstan. We gonna apply for permission letter but we don't know what to do and from where to start? Please if you have spare minute could you give me some advice about it? I'll be more thank grateful thank you🙏🏻

Ayah said...

Hi! I am having the same issue. My fiancé is Omani and I'm from Kazakhstan. We gonna apply for permission letter but we don't know what to do and from where to start? Please if you have spare minute could you give me some advice about it? I'll be more thank grateful thank you🙏🏻

Anonymous said...

Hi Anonymous,
have you got the approval after court trial?

Anna Zaletska said...

Hey, thank for information, my boyfriend would not like to loose his job and have children without allowance of omani citizens. Is there any guaranty it will be no problem without getting permission or what way we should pass? Thanks, Anna

Anna Zaletska said...

Hello
thanks for a such nice,
I am European and my boyfriend omani would not like to lose his job and have children without allowance of omani citizens. Is there any guaranty it will be no problem without getting permission or what way we should pass? Thanks, Anna

Anonymous said...

I have omani boyfriend and we are very much inlove. After reading all of these, i'm having second thoughts of being with him. But surely I can't live without him. If God destined us to be husband and wife, there will be a way on us getting married. That's just what i'm holding on right now.