By Ajnadin Mustafa.
Tripoli, 10 October 2015:
The Tripoli-based “government” plans to tighten rules permitting Libyan citizens marrying foreigners, its social affairs minister, . . .[restrict]Samira Al-Ferjani, has announced.
Plans are in hand, she said, to set a committee in each municipal area to which Libyans hoping to marry foreigners must apply for permission. If granted, it would then issue a marriage certificate, recognised by the Libyan authorities and ensuring the spouse and children had the same rights as ordinary Libyans.
According to Ferjani, who said that a committee had been studying the issue for ten months, there had been too many problems relating to mixed marriages. Numerous marriage certificates had been forged, she said, and in cases where the marriage had not been registered at an embassy abroad, the children’s rights in Libya were then affected.
There were concerns too, she added, relating to Libyans marrying non-Sunni Muslims, mentioning specifically those who had married “Alawites, Druze and Shiites”. It was causing problems, she claimed. There was a need to “preserve the Libyan and Islamic identity,” she added.
Reports that the local foreign marriage committees would have to refer applications to the Grand Mufti’s Dar Al-Ifta (Fatwa house) for approval have not been confirmed.
In 2013, the Ministry of Social Affairs endorsed the Grand Mufti’s call banning women from marrying foreigners.
Sheikh Saddeq Al-Ghariani based his call on “several complaints” he said he had received that Shiite and Druze men from Iran and Syria were “taking advantage of the loose security grip in Libya and the country’s chaotic situation in the public administration”.
He had asked the government not to approve marriage contracts between Libyan women and non-Libyan men for fear that the women would be misled into marrying men from other sects, “even if the men are Muslims or Arabs”.
Apart from the issue of Libyan women marrying Syrians or Iraqis, there certainly have been numerous reports of foreign women living in Libya reduced to poverty after their Libyan husbands abandoned them. There have also been cases where beacuse the marriage was not registered under Libyan law the children cannot go to school, receive free medical treatment, have a passport or any other right flowing from citizenship. [/restrict]