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The Middle East has traditionally been important for the world economy. The Middle East situation today has an impact on all aspects of life in America and much of the world.

Only by understanding the motivations of the various factions in the Middle East can we hope to understand how to promote peace and national security for Middle Eastern nations, Europe, and the United States.

Aug 12, 2010

Early Marriages and Reasons for Large Families

Traditional cultural views of the importance of large family size are predominant in the Arab world, especially in the rural areas of this society. Such views are motivated by economic securities and health conditions. Children can be put to work, especially in rural areas, and many parents consider themselves blessed if they have more male offspring. Large family size is considered an economic asset and a source of security to parents in old age. Recent surveys conducted in Egypt reflect the desire by married women to have more than two children per family. 40% of Egyptian families expressed that having three children is the ideal family size. Furthermore, 33.5% of married women who already have two children expressed the desire to have a third one." (www.almasry-alyoum.com, 10/24/2009).

The high infant mortality rates, especially in the rural areas of populated states, exceed 40/1000 in comparison to developed nations. For example, infant mortality in Egypt has been decreasing significantly since 1945, but it is still high by comparison to western standards. In a recent survey of birth rates in Egypt, it is reflected, "that the rural population constitutes 25% of the total population as of 2009, but contributes 41% of the total population increase."

Early marriage has been a problem in the majority of Arab states, despite the fact that some of these states' legal marriage age has been defined. In Egypt, the legal age is 18 years old for both males and females. According to the law, those officials who conduct the marriage ceremonies of young people under the legal age will be prosecuted and sent to jail for two years. In addition, they will owe a 500 Egyptian pound penalty in violation of article 722 and 126 of Egyptian law.

Despite the clarity of the law, it has been reported by the ministry of family and population planning that, "A recent survey of marriage ceremonies in Egypt reflects that 9,351 marriages were officially registered for people who were under the legal marriage age of 18 years. Nearly half of these marriages took place in the Cairo governorate." (www.ahram.org, 12/18/2009).

The tragedy of such practices reflects that the law is not applied to punish those who violate the marriage code, which makes the legal system meaningless.

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