Lavish ‘divorce parties’, gifts ring alarm bells

Updated 08 March 2015
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Lavish ‘divorce parties’, gifts ring alarm bells

I’m honored to invite you to my divorce party.” This is the type of invitation now being sent out by increasing numbers of women wanting to celebrate the end of their marriages.
Just like weddings or graduation parties, these events are being held at the fanciest halls, with large amounts of money spent on hosting friends and family. The guests are also obliged to turn up with expensive gifts for the happy woman.
This is a new phenomenon in Saudi society, says Tariq Habib, a professor and psychiatrist, and assistant secretary general of the Union of Arab Psychiatrists.
Divorce clearly results in feelings of sadness and happiness, he said.
Habib, however, said that parents should take their children’s feelings into consideration.
“If these parties negatively influence the children socially and psychologically, then they should be canceled,” he said.
“But if the couple don’t have any children then no one can prevent the woman from expressing her joy or having a celebration.”
He said women may want to celebrate because they have left a failed marriage or show their ex-husbands that they do not care about them.
Suhaila Zain Al-Abideen, a member of the National Society for Human Rights, said celebrations have been triggered by the difficulty women face in getting divorced.
“Women living under injustice, humiliation and misery are the ones who will celebrate. It is not unreasonable that an absolutely happy person celebrates her divorce under these circumstances,” Al-Abideen said.
Al-Abideen does not believe that children would be affected if their mothers are happy.
“Although separations affect children, they would be happy to see their mothers happy, especially if their fathers had abused their mothers,” she said.
Mohammad Al-Saidi, professor of Islamic law at Umm Al-Qura University, said God hates divorce, as confirmed in Hadith, and that people should not celebrate a social tragedy even if they are happy about it.
Al-Saidi urged the media to raise concerns about these parties, and to encourage people not to attend them. “This will cause future tragedies,” he said.
Sahar Rajjab, a certified physiologist and family counselor at the Arab Council, said Saudi nationals should not imitate the West by having these parties, even if they are extremely angry.
“The divorce parties are increasing in an alarming rate,” she said.
“How can guests celebrate women divorcing when they had previously congratulated them on their wedding days?”
Rajab said there is an industry growing around divorce parties, with cake and sweet shops starting to make products for these occasions. This is an unwelcome development, she said.
Social specialist Haifa Safouk said that some women celebrate simply to seek attention.
“There are many reasons for this behavior, but mostly it is because such women are ignorant and not intellectually mature.”
She said some women celebrate because society does not show them any compassion, so it is a way of releasing their frustration and negative feelings.
In addition, the guests invited to these events turn up because they want to support these divorcees. This is not the proper way to show support, she said.


126,000 pilgrims from Bangladesh will perform Hajj 2018

Updated 1 min 23 sec ago
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126,000 pilgrims from Bangladesh will perform Hajj 2018

DHAKA: The last Hajj flights from Bangladesh will leave for Saudi Arabia this morning.
About 125,000 Bangladeshi pilgrims have already reached the holy city Makkah, on special flights operated by Biman Bangladesh Airlines and Saudi Arabian Airlines
(Saudia).
The two operators will take the last batch of 1,400 pilgrims from Hazarat Shahjalal International Airport in Dhaka, after which the Hajj flights will be closed until Aug. 27.
The Bangladesh government has made extensive efforts to cooperate with the Kingdom in arranging travel plans for pilgrims, said officials in Dhaka.
“Our Ministry of Religious Affairs is highly concerned about the well-being of the pilgrims,” Saiful Islam, director of the Hajj Office in Dhaka, told Arab News.
“About 250 Bangladesh officials, including the staff of the Bangladesh mission in Saudi Arabia, have been deployed at places that the pilgrims will visit while performing the rituals of Hajj,” he told Arab News.
Most of the staff of the Religious Affairs Ministry have been sent to Saudi Arabia to assist Bangladeshi pilgrims and provide them with emergency support, Islam said.
“Three medical camps have been established in Jeddah, Makkah and Madinah with 30 doctors and nurses to cater to pilgrims’ medical needs. In case of emergency, arrangements have been made to move a pilgrim in critical condition to specialized local hospitals,” he added.
“This year, so far, everything is under control and running very smoothly,” said M. Shahadat Hossain Taslim, secretary-general of the Hajj Agencies Association of Banglaesh (HAAB).
Speaking to Arab News from Makkah, Taslim expressed his gratitude to the Hajj Ministry of Saudi Arabia for its “better Hajj management this year.”
“Last year, many Bangladeshi pilgrims faced difficulty due to lack of transport in Mina, Arafat and Muzdalifah,” he said. “But this year, we have addressed the issue well ahead of time and are not facing any problem in this regard.”
Bangladeshi pilgrims were in a good condition and everything, from accommodation to treatment, was going well, he added.
A total of 126,000 pilgrims from Bangladesh will perform Hajj this year.
The Hajj flights from Bangladesh to Saudi Arabia will be closed after Friday and resume on Aug. 27 to bring the pilgrims back home.