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Sunday, December 6, 1998 Published at 13:22 GMT


World: Middle East

UAE clamps down on lavish weddings

Weddings can be expensive

By Gulf Correspondent, Frank Gardner

Spend too much money on your own wedding in the United Arab Emirates and you could end up in jail.

That's the message being given by the Emirates Marriage Fund, which is trying to curb the practise of lavish weddings by its own nationals in this Gulf state.

The chairman of the Marriage Fund in the oasis town of L-Ain, Sheikh Mohammad Al-Amiri, has been quoted in the local paper Gulf News as saying that offenders risked a fine of 500,000 dirham, equivalent to nearly $140,000.

Sheikh Al-Amiri said there should be no more than nine camels and 12 young camels slaughtered at a wedding. He added that weddings involving the slaughter of up to 90 camels were unacceptable and he called upon the general public to inform on those who indulge in such extravagances.

The UAE's Marriage Fund was set up six years ago to try to reverse the practise of Emirati men marrying foreign brides because they could not afford the exorbitant dowries expected of them.

The fund provides local couples with a wedding grant equivalent to $19,000. But in order to qualify, the dowry demanded by the bride's father must not exceed $14,000.

Although the length of the prison sentence for holders of lavish weddings has yet to be decided, a Marriage Fund official says that one such wedding has already been reported to them. He said they are now planning to take the first case to the police.



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