BAGHDAD -- Fatima Ali was a 24-year-old divorcee with no high school diploma and no job. Shawket al-Rubae was a 34-year-old Shiite sheik with a pregnant wife who, he said, could not have sex with him.In the good ole' U.S. of A., we call it prostitution. In Iraq, the Shiite fundamentalists call it religious freedom:
Ali wanted someone to take care of her. Rubae wanted a companion.
They met one afternoon in May at the house he shares with his wife, in the room where he accepts visitors seeking his religious counsel. He had a proposal. Would Ali be his temporary wife? He would pay her 5,000 Iraqi dinars upfront -- about $4 -- in addition to her monthly expenses. About twice a week over the next eight months, he would summon her to a house he would rent.
The negotiations took an hour and ended with an unwritten agreement, the couple recalled. Thus began their "mutaa," or enjoyment marriage, a temporary union believed by Shiite Muslims to be sanctioned by Islamic law.
Shiite clerics and others who practice mutaa say such marriages are keeping young women from having unwed sex and widowed or divorced women from resorting to prostitution to make money.Huh? Sounds like they go to the Bush school of up is downism.
Opponents of mutaa, most of them Sunni Arabs, say it is less about religious freedom and more about economic exploitation. Thousands of men are dying in the sectarian violence that has followed the invasion, leaving behind widows who must fend for themselves. Many young men are out of work and prefer temporary over permanent wives who require long-term financial commitments. In a mutaa arrangement, the woman is entitled to payment only for the duration of the marriage.Too many women, too many unemployed men, economic instability, violence and chaos.
I'm a very lucky person with every allergy known to man but still happy to be enjoying a wonderful life living in the best place in the world!