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Divorcing By Text

Did you hear about the Saudi man who divorced his wife by text message?

In a case of 7th century misogynistic ideology meeting 21st century technology, the man was in Iraq when he sent the SMS informing the woman that her wifely duties were no longer needed. He followed up with a telephone call to two of his relatives, the daily Arab News reported.

Apparently, under the strict form of Islamic law practiced in Saudi Arabia, a man can divorce his wife by saying "I divorce you" three times. A court in the Red Sea city of Jeddah finalized the split – the first known divorce in Saudi Arabia by text message – after summoning the two relatives to check they had received word of the husband's intention, the paper said.

Holy cow, if all it took was a "send" button to be a free agent, my husband and I would have been married and divorced and married and divorced at least 100 times in the past 12 years.

No word on whether this guy had to text the message three times. But if he really wanted a high-speed, high-tech split, couldn't he have just copied his two friends on the message? Why waste minutes on witnesses when you can't even bother with a face-to-face with the (ex-)wife? I find it interesting that Saudi Arabia has no trouble embracing the latest in communication yet still can't bring itself to view women as anything other than property. Women in Saudi Arabia can't choose whom they marry and they have no real power to divorce their husbands. Men, on the other hand, can lawfully marry up to four females, including pre-adolescent girls sold into marriage by their fathers.

Obviously, this fella hasn't thought things completely through. Or maybe he has. The Saudi man was reportedly in Iraq to fight with al Qaeda militants against the Iraqi government and U.S. forces in "what he described as 'jihad',' " according to the Arab News. If the guy thinks he's about to become an Islamic martyr and romp in heaven with 72 black-eyed virgins, can you blame him for wanting to be single?

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