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?