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Top Saudi Cleric Bans Forced Marriage

Saudi Arabia's most senior cleric has banned the practice of forcing women to marry against their will, saying anyone who does so should be jailed until they change their mind.

Grand Mufti Sheikh Abdulaziz al-Sheikh, who is also the head of the kingdom's Committee of Religious Scholars and is a minister, said coercing women into marriage is not permissible under Islamic law.

Most marriages in Saudi Arabia are arranged. Dating is frowned upon in the conservative Muslim kingdom, where women are forbidden to drive and mix with men in public.

Some information provided for this report by AFP and AP.