Friday, May 06, 2005

But at least they ain't queer...

'Pleasure marriages' regain popularity in Iraq - Yahoo! News

The 1,400-year-old practice of muta'a- "ecstasy" in Arabic - is as old as Islam itself. It was permitted by the prophet Mohammed as a way to ensure a respectable means of income for widowed women.

Pleasure marriages were outlawed under Saddam Hussein but have begun to flourish again. The contracts, lasting anywhere from one hour to 10 years, generally stipulate that the man will pay the woman in exchange for sexual intimacy. Now some Iraqi clerics and women's rights activists are complaining that the contracts have become less a mechanism for taking care of widows than an outlet for male sexual desires.
Pleasure marriages began to resurface after the fall of Baghdad in 2003. One reason is that Shiites, 60% of Iraq's population, have a greater ability to shape social mores than they did under Saddam, a Sunni Arab whose top aides were also Sunnis.
A woman agreeing to a pleasure marriage that involves a one-time encounter might be able to count on about $100. For a muta'a that runs longer, she might be paid $200 a month, though the amounts vary widely and can depend on whether she has children.

Zeinab Ahmed, 31, lost her husband in a car accident five years ago. She says she has considered entering into a muta'a contract with a man, but the stigma attached has kept her from doing so.

"All my friends who have done this have told me they got married in this way just to meet their sexual desires," Ahmed says, "but later on they started to love that man, and he does not accept to get married permanently. ... Most of the men, at the end of the contract, they feel contempt towards the woman."

Since this policy seems entirely consistent with the "marriage is between one man and one woman" thing, I can't see how Dubya, Spongedob, or any of their ilk can have a problem with it.

On the other hand, if they do object, it will be hard to blame anyone other than ... ourselves. Or the flowering of democracy. Take your pick.


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