Dubai: An Egyptian man has been dismissed from his job as a marriage officiator at the Ministry of Justice after it was found that he had married a minor girl under a customary marriage contract, local media reported. A customary (Urfi) marriage contract means a marriage that is not officially registered. Undocumented ‘Urfi' marriages are increasingly popular among Egyptian youth.
According to media reports, the clerk married the 14-year-old despite the fact that she was under the legal age of marriage.
He even brought a forged certificate from a doctor claiming she was 16 and called another marriage officiator to oversee the ceremony but he refused, suspecting she was younger than 16.
However, the man did not back down and brought another officiator and married the girl under a customary contract.
A resident of the neighbourhood where the man lives informed the Ministry of Justice about him, which resulted in his dismissal from his job.
He tried to challenge the ministry’s decision before Cairo Administrative Court but the State Commissioner said that the plaintiff had violated his duty, and did not respect his age and job.
The high cost of marriage forces many young couples to wait several years before they get married. Conservative Egyptian society forbids sex before marriage, so many young people consider the ‘Urfi' marriage a solution.
‘Urfi marriages are conducted by a Muslim cleric in the presence of two witnesses. However, they are not officially registered and are not legally, financially binding on the man. Couples married in this way often meet in secret and avoid the expense of renting an apartment.