‘Divorce helps to cut home loans burden'
Manama, February 2, 2011
A member of the parliament of Bahrain has claimed many Bahrainis would be better off divorcing their wives, since it would reduce the burden of their housing loan repayments.
The declaration was made as parliament demanded the Housing Ministry stop calculating repayments based on couples' total income.
MPs said this drove down living standards and claimed wives might need the cash for other outgoings, arguing that only husbands' income should be taken into consideration.
They also claimed the ministry's current system of calculating loans went against Sharia law, which only takes the husband into account.
Following discussion, parliament approved an urgent proposal that obliges the ministry to use the husband's income as standard, while adding the wife's income for further services if she agrees.
Al Asala bloc MP Adnan Al Malky said there were many Bahrainis willing to divorce their wives just to get a roof over their children's heads.
'The only solution to get a government house or loan is to divorce the wife, as many women are in the workforce,' he said. 'The ministry is encouraging the separation of couples rather than the concept of a happy family and this is disastrous. A lot of husbands leave the ministry crying and it is shameful that men cry because they are unable to help their families.'
However, ministry management services director Maher Al Onais said the calculation since 1996 had been based on families, not individuals, since it was families who benefited.
'If the service is given to families, then family income has to be taken into account - not just the husband's,' he said.
'We are helping divorcees and widows by granting them housing services since they are considered a family unit with their children,' Al Onais added.
Parliament's foreign affairs, defence and national security committee vice-chairman and Al Wefaq MP Abdulhussain Al Metgawie stressed that under Sharia law men were considered breadwinners - not women.
'The ministry should have one person responsible for the loan or house since a divorce is always possible and then the question will be who should get the house - the husband or wife?'
Meanwhile, parliament voted to oblige the ministry to stop taking interest on housing services, saying that was also against Sharia law.
However, ministry representative Ibrahim Shehab said there was a fatwah (Islamic ruling) that housing loans and instalments comply with Islamic law. 'We just take minimal amounts and that's to help pay for our operational and administrative finances,' he said. – TradeArabia News Service