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It's not a clear cut issue............

Reader comment on item: Arabian Sex Tourism

Submitted by Umm Miriam (United Kingdom), Feb 23, 2007 at 19:06

Salaam - I was unaware of misyar until I read this, although I had heard of mut'a or sigheh. I'm sure that when misyar was religiously sanctioned it was to fulfill a different function than this. Some men and women are not obvious 'marriage material' and I'm sure that the misyars between, say, 22 yr old Saudi wealthy men and a 47 yr old Saudi divorcee with aesthetically challenging looks, post-menopausal and financially needy are mutually beneficient. However, to put this sort of misyar in the same category as the Arab 'sex tourism' misyars beggars belief.

It is indeed prostitution under a pseudonym. I'm hoping the girls are of age (Indian age of majority), well informed and consenting. I'd also hope that they would be well aware of the attitudes that they could face in the future, as a result of a 'get-not-so-rich-quick' scheme that seemed like a good idea at the time. What are these girls' chances of permanent marriage to a local when their reputation or past will likely proceed them? I'd say it's likely they would have to marry 'beneath' what they might previously have expected just to get on in life - socially, financially etc. Therefore a lifetime of regrets.

However, I'm also equally sure that these 'cash injections' are literally a 'shot in the arm' to a community of very destitute people. We Muslims are supposed to have a set of exceedingly high moral standards, but it's easy to pontificate on what to do in this situation when your belly's full and your father's not dead of TB, you have six younger sisters still in school and your mother is worn out from overwork.

The Arabs have a lot of money, for sure, and do a lot of good with their excess cash, I'm sure the cash these girls earn has seen some children through school or someone receive medical treatment that would not have done so without the money. If it's religiously acceptable to these men, then their conscience's are clear. They have done no wrong when it's a buyer's market. Except that the girls do it out of adverse living conditions and these men do play on this fact. Would they part with their cash without the cheap sex? I thinketh not.

It's therefore not a clear cut situation, but one with many solutions. However, we as Muslims must deal with our short-comings and not feel that any scrutiny is Islamophobic and malicious: we too are capable of great wrongs and must accept this in order to ameliorate the situation. We are not untouchable and need to stop being so darned defensive. Constructive criticism must always be welcomed. Ma' salaama xxxx

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