'Mixed Emirati marriages will affect population ratio'
Sultan bin Saeed Al Mansouri, Minister of Economy, interacts with Noura bint Mohammed Al Kaabi, Minister of State for Federal National Council Affairs, during the FNC session in Abu Dhabi on Wednesday.
Abu Dhabi - FNC committee to analyse reasons, solutions
Marriages between Emiratis and foreigners - particularly Emirati men marrying non-Emirati women - has been an increasing trend since 2012, and is an issue of concern, the Federal National Council (FNC) heard on Wednesday.
The issue could "affect the population ratio", said Hamad Al Rahoomi, an FNC member from Dubai.
Al Rahoomi highlighted that an increase in mixed marriages should be a focal issue, as it is affecting the Emirati population. He noted that it has reached 50 per cent in one emirate. "I want to ask the Marriage Fund what ... they are doing about the growing trend? Are the trends being analysed and are solutions being (found)?" asked Al Rahoomi prior to the meeting.
The Marriage Fund grants allowances to Emirati couples for marriage. A part of the fund includes providing financial aid to grooms, as well as marriage counseling to couples.
Ten FNC members and the new Minister of Community Development, Najla bint Mohammed Al Awar, discussed possible solutions to mixed marriages.
|Mixed marriages in numbers in UAEDubai 57%|
Abu Dhabi 28.8%
The council has agreed to form a temporary committee that will investigate the reasons, prior to an open future session with the government.
Al Rahoomi presented statistics, which highlighted that Emirati men marrying non-Emirati women reached 57 per cent in Dubai, 28.8 per cent in Abu Dhabi and 39.8 per cent in Ajman.
He stressed that a research is a must to discover how many marriages end in divorce, noting that where children end up being raised is also of great importance.
He noted that this concern is "not a rejection for marriages between Emirati men and expat women", but is an issue of concern nevertheless. "If Emirati men marry foreign women, then who will Emirati women marry?"
He also pointed out that such growing numbers in mixed marriages could eventually affect the UAE's identity as a whole.
Minister Al Awar said the topic is of concern and that the number of mixed marriages is increasing. "Sometimes the reason for these marriages is to receive benefits."
However, she noted that the data she receives is not always consistent. "But if we know the real percentages and reasons, then we can come up with some guidance."
Mohammed Al Mehrezi, another FNC member, highlighted that a study should be made to resolve issues on "spinsterhood and encourage polygamy".
Amal Al Qubaisi, FNC Speaker, said: "We prefer to call it late marriages."
This is not the first time that the issue of mixed marriages has been raised in the FNC.
In December of 2014, Ahmed Al Amash, who was an FNC member from Ras Al Khaimah, called for a higher committee to encourage marriage between Emiratis, as well as to financially support Emirati couples.
At the time, Dr Maitha bint Salem Al Shamsi, Minister of State, said the Marriage Fund offers Dh70,000 to Emirati couples who meet various requirements.