Qataris are divided on this issue, with some in favour of such marriages while others oppose them.
One important reason behind Qatari men marrying foreigners is financial. In the wealthy Qatari society, marriages can be ruinously expensive. The expectations of brides have gone up over the years, which has made things difficult for Qatari men. High expectations have also led to more cases of divorce, which has fuelled the trend of Qatari men looking for foreigners to marry.
In the short term, the phenomenon may look harmless, but in the long term it can create complications for such families, and children can be the worst affected.
Experts say Qatari men should think of their children before deciding to marry a foreigner. They argue that Qatari society is not yet ready to accept the children of foreign mothers, whose appearance would be different from that of other Qataris.
“Taking into consideration that our society is not yet mixed like others, we still think about the skin colour, hair…. It will affect the children’s psychology and they will feel that they are discriminated against and will hate society,” Qatari columnist Faizal Al Marzouqi wrote in a recent piece.
In a bid to help reduce the soaring cost of weddings for young, unmarried Qatari men, the Qatar government, in 2012, decided to construct a number of wedding halls that will be available to Qataris free of charge.
People commenting on social media say that the expense involved in ‘mehr’, rising standards of living, increasing wedding requirements and costly housing are pushing marriage beyond the reach of many.
Those against marriage to foreigners argue that not all families ask for a huge sum of money. According to them, Qatari men marrying Qatari women is better for a long-term relationship because of cultural compatibility between the couples. Marrying a foreigner may look cost-effective in the short term but such marriages are likely to cause cultural rifts between the couples, they say.