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Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Muta Marriages

As I was listening to NPR’s Morning Addition, I caught an interesting piece about the Shia tradition that allows a man, married or single, to marry woman for as little as a few minutes or for years at a time. These short-term marriages are called “muta marriages.” Why would a woman accept such an arrangement? The man, often from the upper strata of society, offers some type of monetary support to the woman, who most likely lives in poverty. There are even muta marriage brokers to help match women with men.

Formally outlawed under Suddam Hussein and not allowed under Sunni Islamic law, the Shia Islamic custom is becoming more popular as Iraqis are gaining more freedom. Woman’s Rights Groups in Iraq are appalled that so many women are being taken advantage of in these short-term agreements. They call it as legally sanctioned prostitution.

Two points strike me.

First, is America really helping the Iraqis gain freedom? And if so, what kind?

Secondly, I have heard more than a few of my college classmates argue that prostitution just reflects a woman’s right to do what she wants with her body. Why do Iraq feminists differ from American feminists in this way?


pealsup said...

To me, it doesn't matter what kind of freedom they have. The fact that they have it is amazing to me. We cannot dictate to them what sort rules they should follow, otherwise they will despise us (some there already do).

While I do not agree personally with this practice, there are plenty of practices that happen everyday in this country I don't like either (abortion, for example).

Just remember, our democracy has a 220+ year head start on theirs. We've come a long way since we first began, and so will they.

Ruth said...

I concede that if we dictate to the Iraqis how to live, we aren’t giving them freedom but oppression.

In response to your second comment, our country has regressed not progressed since its founding. The laws passed and repealed in America’s history show a shift away from a Christian ethic. For example, abortion was not legal. The state laws across the country against sodomy have been repealed because of a Supreme Court ruling a few years ago. (I am not sure what you meant by they will come a long way like America has. I define progression as moving towards righteous government/the implementation of righteous laws.)

I support our troops and support finishing what America has started in Iraq. I also see the connection between terrorist activity and the instability of the Iraqis leaders and government that Bush is right not to ignore.

In the end, giving people the right to vote does not make them vote or act morally. Only Jesus Christ can change the hearts of men and women. The Iraqis are not free, and nothing that our government or any other government can do can give them freedom. My odd little commentary was just a manifestation that thought floating around in my head.

pealsup said...

What I meant was that we have come a long way in the sense that we used to have slavery, we've come a long way with voting rights (women, blacks, non-land owners couldn't vote at one time), etc.

As for things pertaining to Christianity, yes, I agree we have digressed there. People have taken and twisted the anti-establishment clause in the Constitution and called it the "Separation of church and state" which I think we both agree is bunk.

By taking any recognition or support for all religions out of our government, the government is then endorsing atheism, in my opinion.

Ruth said...