Saudi Arabia: Cheeky License Plates Banned, Child Marriages Still OK

To protect public propriety, Saudi Arabia has recently banned license plates whose Arabic characters spell out lewd words:

Saudi plates normally have three Arabic characters and three numbers, but the growing fashion is for auto owners also to display a version using the Latin alphabet and some buyers of personalised "vanity plates" deliberately choose Arabic letters which turn into words like "SEX", "ASS" and "NUT".

The authorities in charge of issuing vanity plates have released a list of nine prohibited three-letter combinations, and ordered all branches to stop renewing plates that include them, according to Watan.

Link (Photo from The Geekiest License Plates at Geek24 - lots of fun stuff there!)

In other news, a Saudi judge reiterated his decision that the marriage of an 8-year-old to a 47-year-old man is valid and refused to annul the marriage:

The issue of child marriage has been a hot-button topic in the deeply conservative kingdom recently. While rights groups have been petitioning the government to enact laws that would protect children from this type of marriage, the kingdom's top cleric has said that it's OK for girls as young as 10 to wed.

"It is incorrect to say that it's not permitted to marry off girls who are 15 and younger," Sheikh Abdul Aziz Al-Sheikh, the kingdom's grand mufti, said in remarks last January quoted in the regional Al-Hayat newspaper. "A girl aged 10 or 12 can be married. Those who think she's too young are wrong and they are being unfair to her."

Al-Sheikh reportedly made the remarks when he was asked during a lecture about parents forcing their underage daughters to marry.

"We hear a lot in the media about the marriage of underage girls," he said, according to the newspaper. "We should know that Sharia law has not brought injustice to women."


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"Modern" Saudi Arabia is as advanced in their thinking today as First Century Near and Middle Eastern societies were then. Mary, the mother of Jesus was married, through arrangement, to Joseph before they had sex, if your version of "history" allows they had sex at all. Joseph was a man in his thirties (in keeping with First Century Jewish Tradition) and Mary was a girl (in present day American thought) of twelve or thirteen when she passed through her first menses.

At this point, so the story goes, the "Holy Spirit" impregnated her with Jesus. While Joseph was grousing at his young bride's pregnancy, an "angel" appeared to him and said Mary was pregnant with the child of God; and to go ahead with the wedding and not to "put her away." This meant to divorce her. So, while the "Father of Jesus," acted well within the cultural morals of First Century Jews, the Christian God is a pedophile by the cultural morals of 21st Century America.

Try to imagine what it must have been like for Joseph. "Hi, Honey, how was your... You're WHAT? PREGNANT? Well, we both know it wasn't ME! I didn't even know you could get preg--by the way, why didn't you tell ME you'd had your first period? Now, tell me who I get to sue for taking my virgin bride's hymen? GOD? Oh, that's great, Mary. You're telling me God impregnated you? There's a lot of that going around. He's getting kind of randy of late, don't you think. My sister told our parents the same thing and two of my cousins tried to tell their parents the same thing. My parents had to give back the dowry to my sister's human husband, and then my sister eloped with some teenager from Jerusalem. A year later, she comes home with a baby my mother has to take care of and goes off to flirt with the man she was supposed to marry in the first place. If you knew my nephew, you'd agree with my mom that he's definitely NOT the son of God. So who is it this time, Mary? Still "God," huh? What? You still want to marry me? You want me to help you raise the son of God? Will God be paying child support? Yeah, I know this is serious. I paid a lot of money to be the first guy in there, so if I find out who beat me to it, I'll seriously take it out of his hide."

Or something like that...
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Yeah, puberty schmuberty. I don't know any eleven-year-olds with the agency to enter into healthy balanced sexual relationships with full-grown men. I'm pretty annoyingly culturally relativistic, but man am I glad I don't live in Saudi Arabia. Cultures that nurture the continued oppression of young girls (hi female circumcision!) need to take a good long look in a dirty broken mirror shard. A*sholes.
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How is "child marriage" misleading? If the guy marries a child, it's a child marriage.

The idea of not having sex until she reaches puberty is silly. A girl could reach puberty at 12 years of age, some even earlier.

A marriage contract is ideally, a contract entered into between two conesnting adults, not between one adult, one child, and the child's parent/guardian. We don't even consider a person an adult until long after puberty strikes.

Edgar Allan Poe is an example of someone who married a young bride - in fact, there appeared to be some fudging of her age at the time. I'm sure she at least reached puberty.
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And what are you amazed at?
Saudi Arabia is a medieval place, their rulers are tyrants, but somehow they are well-looked in the "civilized" world... wonder why this could be... oh wait! Sorry, i have to fill my car and we can continue later.
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