A groom attends a mass wedding ceremony in Sanaa, Yemen.
A groom attends a mass wedding ceremony in Sanaa, Yemen.Reuters

In what has been described as the most bizarre dowry demand ever in Yemen, a father has asked his daughter's husband-to-be to get one million likes to his Facebook profile.

Salem Ayash, a poet from the city of Taiz, has got 30,170 followers to his Facebook profile so far.

"It's the first time we've heard of something like this," Bashraheel Bashraheel, a journalist with Yemen's Al-Ayyam newspaper told BBC.

While the strange payment demand for dowry has set the social media in Yemen abuzz, the father thinks it is just his way to highlight the societal situation of the war-ravaged country where no one can afford gold or money for dowry payment anymore.

"No-one in Yemen can afford dowries anymore," Ayash said.

He said that he hasn't given the groom, identified as Osama, a deadline but would keep a watch on his hard work and eagerness to increase the Facebook likes and that he could reduce the dowry if he is satisfied by Osama's progress.

"He can take a month, a year, or even two years to collect the requested number of likes. If I see that he's worked hard, I'm willing to be flexible to see them happily married," Ayash said.

Paying dowries in Yemen is increasingly becoming a concern since most of the young men cannot afford it.

Campaigners are forcing parents of brides to lower dowry amount in the face of the high prices. Inability to pay dowries is one of the key reasons for the popularity of mass weddings in Yemen.

Ayash's dowry demand breaks away from the tradition and is in a way a respite for the suitor. His Facebook page is flooded with mixed comments. While some accuses him of using his daughter for fame, others support him for raising awareness about the issue of dowry payment in Yemen.