Big hands, horror films and cats — bizarre reasons for divorce in Egypt

The court papers filed by Egyptian woman requesting Khula divorces from their husband throw up some unusual reasons for divorce. (AFP)
Updated 14 February 2019

Big hands, horror films and cats — bizarre reasons for divorce in Egypt

  • Many unusual reasons for divorce can be found among the papers filed at the family court in Al-Zananiri, Cairo
  • Egypt’s divorce rates have increased rapidly in recent years

CAIRO: Wafaa had been married to her husband for less than a year when she decided she couldn’t take it any more and filed for a divorce.

The reason: his oversized hands.

“[My] husband’s hands are big, and his fingers are particularly long,” Wafaa, in her late 20s, stated in her lawsuit. She said she finds it embarrassing to go out together, or if they’re spotted together. “His looks neither match my taste or go well with who I am,” she added. “It causes me mental anguish to be with him in front of friends or family.”

Wafaa’s story is one of the more unusual reasons for leaving a husband that can be found among the papers filed at the family court in Al-Zananiri, Cairo. On a recent morning, dozens of women were looking to file a Khula divorce - a separation in Islamic law which is instigated by the wife.

Egypt’s divorce rates have increased rapidly in recent years, and while many blame the usual reasons of money or infidelity, there are an increasing number of bizarre cases.

For Abeer, 33, it was her husband’s obsession with horror films that drove her to despair.

“I got to know him in college and fell in love. We agreed to get married, and so we did. The first few days of our marriage we were content . But then I found out about his strong mania with horror films,” she said in her court papers.

“I noticed that he was acting out all the horrific roles, and it reached the point that he was scaring everyone in the house – even our children.” 

Concerned for their children, Abeer told her husband to visit a doctor, but he refused. 

“My mother’s cholesterol levels soared; she almost died, if it wasn’t for God’s mercy.”

Her Khula lawsuit against her husband is labelled as number 7,498 in 2019.

In another case reported in the local media, a wife said she had been forced to leave her husband because of his dislike for her pet cats.

In some cases, the court papers shed a more sinister light on some of the suffering inflicted on Egyptian women by their husbands.

One woman in her 30s said her partner would beat her and treat her aggressively.

She said her husband is a karate instructor in a famous sports club.

They were engaged for two months before they married, but Faten said she was only happy for the first week of her one-year marriage.

After that, her spouse’s true colors began to show. He would constantly verbally abuse her, claiming he was joking. 

But the abuse continued, even when in front of their neighbors or families, and eventually he started to beat her. 

She asked for a divorce, but he refused, and so she went to the family court and applied for a Khula divorce.

Radwa, 32, applied for a divorce after she found out her husband was trying to swindle her out of her money.

She got to know him through Facebook and fell in love with him, but admits she did not know him very well. 

Despite her father’s suspicions about his behavior, the pair got married. 

“Some time into our marriage, I began to notice how rude he was,” Radwa said. “He also refused that I go to university. I discussed it with him, and we had a disagreement and he beat me.”

Radwa said she was beaten again after she caught her husband chatting up other girls on Facebook. He locked her in a room but she managed to escape, and now is applying to divorce.


Weak Arctic ice sees 56 polar bears descend on Russian village

Updated 23 min 7 sec ago

Weak Arctic ice sees 56 polar bears descend on Russian village

  • The WWF said 56 polar bears had gathered in a one-square-kilometer area near the village of Ryrkaipy in Chukotka
  • There were concerns they could enter the village, home to fewer than 1,000 people, and patrols had been set up to monitor their movements

MOSCOW: More than 50 polar bears have gathered on the edge of a village in Russia’s far north, environmentalists and residents said, as weak Arctic ice leaves them unable to roam.
The Russian branch of the World Wildlife Fund said climate change was to blame, as unusually warm temperatures prevented coastal ice from forming.
The WWF said 56 polar bears had gathered in a one-square-kilometer (0.4-square-mile) area near the village of Ryrkaipy in Chukotka on the northeastern tip of Russia.
There were concerns they could enter the village, home to fewer than 1,000 people, and patrols had been set up to monitor their movements.
“The number of human and predator encounters in the Arctic is increasing,” the WWF said in statement.
“The main reason is the decline of sea ice area due to the changing climate. In the absence of ice cover, animals are forced to go ashore in search of food.”
Residents had gathered walrus carcasses in the area to try to keep the bears from wandering into the village.
“We have created a feeding point with walrus carcasses that we gathered along the coast,” Tatyana Minenko of the local “Bear Patrol” told news agency RIA Novosti.
“As long as there is no big freeze, the sea ice will not form and the bears will stay on the coast,” she said.
Russia’s weather service said temperatures in the region should fall from Saturday and that coastal ice should freeze by December 11.
Polar bears regularly visit areas inhabited by humans in Arctic Russia to search for food, often in rubbish tips.
But the number of visits has been growing as the melting of Arctic ice from climate change forces the bears to spend more time on land where they compete for food.