Sweeping Support For Saudi Teenager’s ‘Sly’ Wedding Sparks Debate

A Saudi woman walks past wedding dresses displayed in a shop window on February 4, 2013 at a mall in the Saudi capital Riyadh.

A teenage wedding in Saudi Arabia that followed a bet became on Tuesday the latest chapter in an ongoing debate on traditional marriage practices.

 Ali Alqubeisi, a 16-year-old high school student in the city of Tabouq, proposed to his cousin after he made a bet with a friend that he would be able to convince his parents to endorse it.

Ali invited his classmates and teachers to the wedding, and the fact that none of them posed any questions sparked a controversy.

“Marriage isn’t a child’s play,” some reacted on social media, while another wondered: “I wonder to what amusement park he’s going to take her on their honeymoon.”

Quite a few chose to congratulate the young couple, saying that marriage is an effective way to avoid depravity. They said that the late King Faisal represented the country in international forums at the age of 13.

On Twitter, Pazzo scolded the skeptics: “God bless the couple… stop with your theories and mumbo jumbo… The most important thing is that they got married and that’s it.”

Hussam Hazayah simply wrote: “Ignorance.”

Majed wrote: “God bless him… The most important thing is that he guaranteed for himself the possibility to wed four women.”

The great controversy that erupted prompted the groom’s father to say publicly that he supports the wedding and that his son is capable of raising a family. He said his son is in retail and is capable of providing for a household.

He told a local TV station that he finally conceded to his son’s repeated requests to get married. He added that in the age of moral decadence and endemic indecency, parents should marry their children as soon as possible.

He said he himself got married aged 17, slightly older than his son. He added that his son will continue his studies as a married man: “In fact, I think the wedding will motivate him.”