Yemen dad asks for 1m Facebook 'likes' as daughter's dowry

SANA'A, YEMEN - Talk about a dowry with a modern twist.

A man in Yemen has asked for a million Facebook "likes", instead of money, as dowry for his daughter's hand in marriage, the BBC has reported on its website.

The British broadcaster said the father, Mr Salem Ayash, a poet from the city of Taiz, asked his daughter's husband-to-be to gather one million Facebook likes, not an easy target in a country of just 25 million and where Internet use is limited.

"It's the first time we've heard of something like this," Mr Bashraheel Bashraheel, a journalist with Yemen's Al-Ayyam newspaper, was quoted by the BBC as saying.

The story has made big waves on social media there, he said, with countless bloggers writing urging people to support the page so the couple can get married.

The page was set up on Sunday and has 30,000 likes so far, according to the BBC

The BBC said Mr Ayash decided on asking for a "digital dowry", rather than gold or money, because: "No-one in Yemen can afford dowries anymore."

The fact that many young men cannot afford dowries, and so cannot get married, is a hot topic in Yemen, the BBC quoted Mr Bashraheel as saying.

Neighbours often club together to help pay a dowry, which is set by the father of the bride, and mass marriages are becoming more popular as a way of making it more affordable, the broadcaster said.

Those commenting on Mr Ayash's Facebook page seem divided on whether it's a good idea or not.

Many have thanked him for raising the issue of dowry payments, but others have questioned his motivations.

"All you want is to use your daughter to seek fame," writes one, noting that the Facebook likes are for his own personal page, rather than that of his daughter or her husband-to-be.

Mr Ayash told the BBC that he wants to see evidence his future son-in-law is making an effort to raise the one million Facebook likes - but he won't be rigid.

"If I see that he's worked hard, I'm willing to be flexible to see them happily married."