Dubai: Saudi men need to have their Saudi wives’ consent in case they are planning to take a second wife from Morocco.

The new regulations, which came along with other rules, were attributed to a Saudi security official. Shortly after newspapers carried the news last week, they became a talking point on social media. Some, mainly men, were against it. But most women were for the “unusual” rule.

“It is because of its bizarreness,” commented Tamador Alyami, a Saudi writer and blogger. “I don’t get the scope of the new rules and the reasons behind them,” she told Gulf News.

Last week, a newspaper quoted Makkah Police Director Major General Assaf Al Qurashi as saying that Saudi men planning to marry foreign women should submit marriage applications through official channels.

He listed several conditions, including a minimum age of 25 years for applicants, attaching identification documents signed by the local district mayor as well as other identity papers, including a copy of the man’s family card. “If the applicant is already married, he should attach a report from a hospital proving that his wife is either disabled, suffering from a chronic disease or is sterile,”A l Qurashi was quoted as saying by Saudi papers.

Al Qurashi said divorced men would not be allowed to apply within six months of their divorce, adding that men are not allowed to marry expatriate women from Pakistan, Bangladesh, Chad and Myanmar.

Also, married men planning to take a second wife from Morocco need to provide written approval from their first wives, the official said.

Already, authorities request men and women who want to marry foreigners to obtain the approval of the government. On an average, the consent of the interior ministry takes a few months before issuance.

Some women wrote on Twitter that they were satisfied with the new restrictions. But others expressed their discontent with the fact that a husband of a cancer patient is allowed to take a second wife and described it as “unfaithfulness”.

“I am willing to agree [to husband taking a second wife] on the condition that he gives me a luxury villa, a one-million cheque and a monthly salary of 20,000 Saudi riyals,” said one Saudi woman in a tweet.

“What a pity! You ask your wife whether to take a second wife or not? Where is the manhood? Marry a second wife and don’t worry,” said a Saudi man in a tweet.

“It is fine for men to take a second wife from Egypt or Syria, and no need for the approval of the first wife, unlike the Moroccan wife. What is wisdom behind it?” asked a second man in a tweet.

“I believe no government has the right to interfere in the choice of any man or woman for their spouse, especially the Saudi government because it applies the Islamic law,” said Tamador Alyami. “Islamic law doesn’t limit the nationality of a wife or a husband. On the contrary, the Quran encourages marriage among people from different places,” she noted.

As for the marriage ban from four countries, Tamador said the reasons are vague. However, she noted that according to unofficial figures, the number of people from the four countries living in Saudi Arabia is estimated at half a million, and it is unclear whether this number is of women only or both men and women.

Most probably, the condition of getting a second wife from Morocco with the approval of the first Saudi wife was initiated by the Moroccan authorities, she noted.

In Morocco, many activists noted, the approval of the first wife is necessary to complete the marriage contract of the man’s second marriage.