Who knew a private marriage could become such a contentious public issue? A short clip of men dancing to a Syrian song at a celebration in the Saudi city of Medina has sparked a national discussion about so-called inter-country marriages on social media. The Twitter user who posted the clip, which was recorded at the wedding of a Saudi woman and a Syrian man, said, “This is how racism falls.” But many netizens chimed in to vehemently disagree, deciding to speak now instead of forever holding their peace. As the virtual debate snowballed, more than 50,000 people lunged at the opportunity to use the joyous celebration as a platform to voice their thoughts on racism, politics, and gender equality, with a hashtag that translates to “a woman from the Harb tribe marrying a Syrian man in Medina.”
Although few details are known about the newlyweds, and the video hasn’t been independently verified, some took it upon themselves to remind them about the limited rights that children of Saudi mothers and foreign fathers have. Others raised the issue of women’s rights by highlighting how it’s “fine for a Saudi man to get married to a foreign woman, while the opposite case is forbidden.” And, of course, there were those who simply criticized the interracial nature of the relationship. “Marriage is a whole life; so it is a big mistake for a Saudi girl to marry a foreigner, a ‘Syrian’ specifically,” one commenter seethed. Another opted to compare the couple to equines: “This is not racism. If you have an authentic and noble steed, would you throw her onto a mule? [No], you would maintain her lineage.” Amid all of the invective, there were some word of encouragement for the newlyweds.
While it’s not illegal for Saudi men and women to wed foreigners, there’s a daunting approval process involved and there are regulations to follow. Still, that hasn’t stopped thousands of Saudi women from marrying their non-Saudi beaus every year.
Read the full story at BBC News.