RIYADH, Saudi Arabia—A senior Saudi cleric issued a religious ruling
to allow fathers to arrange marriages for their daughters "even if they
are in the cradle," setting up a confrontation between government
reformers and influential conservative clergy.
Sheik Saleh al-Fawzan, one of the country's most important clerics,
issued the ruling after the Justice Ministry said this month it would
act to regulate marriages between prepubescent girls and men in the
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