Teresa Malof moved to Saudi Arabia in 1996 to work in Riyadh. Once there, she married and took a loan to buy a house in an upscale suburb she shared with her now ex-husband Mazen and their three children. https://lat.ms/2LJrs6n
When Malof tried to leave her almost 18-year marriage, she quickly crashed against limits imposed by a sharia-based legal system that has often treated women as second-class citizens, and that has left wives with little recourse in court. https://lat.ms/2LJrs6n
Malof is still making payments for the house despite having been forced to move out shortly after the marriage ended. Even though the house is in her name, she cannot sell it or transfer the loan to her ex-husband’s name. https://lat.ms/2LJrs6n
She has also been unable to force Mazen to pay the divorce settlement; without it, she says, she faces financial ruin.
“I want to be free, to have some endgame to this situation . . . I feel like it’s never going to happen," she says. https://lat.ms/2LJrs6n
Malof's case illustrates inequities in Saudi Arabia's legal system, which is based on Islamic jurisprudence. Because the law is mostly unwritten and based on the Koran and other Islamic texts, judges have wide latitude in interpreting them. https://lat.ms/2LJrs6n
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