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WIVES FOR HIRE BY THE HOUR FOR ARABS

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Submitted by Sophie (Canada), Oct 25, 2005 at 13:11

This article is from adnki.com
INDIA: WIVES FOR HIRE BY THE HOUR FOR ARABS
Mumbai, 25 Oct. (AKI) - Wives for hire in Hyderabad, that's the new frontier in India's growing economy, where prosperity has resulted in young women from poor Muslim families becoming "temporary" brides - even just for one night - to tourists and buisnessmen from the Gulf countries. According to Muslim religious leaders in Mumbai, the phenomenon has assumed a significant dimension, and Islamic clerics are trying to decide how to deal with it in light of accusations made by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and muftis [those responsible for interpreting Islamic law], of a practice of mass prostitution.

A recent television report put together by an independent documentary maker has shown women, their faces covered with the veil, parading themselves in front of a client, described simply as an 'old Arab man' who contravenes every Islamic law by raising the veil in order to assess the women, passing his fingers through their hair and asking them some questions through an interpreter. After the woman is chosen, a dowry is paid to her family of an amount equivalent to one year's income or more. She is then the man's wife for just a few nights.
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Mumbai, 25 Oct. (AKI) - Wives for hire in Hyderabad, that's the new frontier in India's growing economy, where prosperity has resulted in young women from poor Muslim families becoming "temporary" brides - even just for one night - to tourists and buisnessmen from the Gulf countries. According to Muslim religious leaders in Mumbai, the phenomenon has assumed a significant dimension, and Islamic clerics are trying to decide how to deal with it in light of accusations made by non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and muftis [those responsible for interpreting Islamic law], of a practice of mass prostitution.

A recent television report put together by an independent documentary maker has shown women, their faces covered with the veil, parading themselves in front of a client, described simply as an 'old Arab man' who contravenes every Islamic law by raising the veil in order to assess the women, passing his fingers through their hair and asking them some questions through an interpreter. After the woman is chosen, a dowry is paid to her family of an amount equivalent to one year's income or more. She is then the man's wife for just a few nights.

Shahida Yasmeen and Tasneem Sultana paraded themselves in front of such a man for the documentary to help the film makers. They work for a legal office that deals with the struggle against the exploitation of women, and they summarised their experience into one phrase: "it resembled a brothel".

The Indian daily ‘Times of India' has also published the names of one of the United Arab Emirates sheikhs, 45-year-old Al Rahman Ismail Mirza Abdul Jabar, who in August met Farheen Sultana, 13, and Hina Sultana, 15, with the help of a pimp in the Old City or historic centre of Hyderabad. Under the right to have more than one wife, accorded to men under Islamic law, he married both of them, and spent the night with them at a local hotel, leaving for his home by dawn the next day.

The trouble involved in beginning divorce proceedings isn't even required. Thanks to new methods of communication - the traditional declaration of a verbal or written "talaaq", the unilateral declaration with which a man can affirm his desire to divorce his wife - one can now also do this via an email, telegram, telephone call, fax or even mobile phone text message. "Many talaaqs are coming through SMS these days," said Mufti Abdul Ahad Falahi, from the Darul Qaza school in Mumbai.

Sometimes the declaration of Talaaq is already included in the "nikah", the card with which one celebrates the marriage, according to Noorjehan Siddiqui, the coordinator of the non-governmental organisation Confederation of Voluntary Associations.

Those Muslims who take advantage of religious norms to procure for themselves several hours or days of sex, deserve to be whipped and thrown into jail, said Moulana Mufti Khaleel Ahmad, the deputy advisor of the Islamic school Jamia Nizamia in Hyderabad. "Marriage is for life and a person marrying a woman should have the niyyat (intention) of living with her forever," he said. And one who marries knowing that he will leave his wife, "becomes a sinner," he added, "He is answerable to society in this life and to God in the hereafter," added Mufti Khaleel.

"The problem is that we do not know the real intentions of those Arab bridegrooms. Otherwise we would be able to stop them," he said.

Hyderabad, the Indian city with the highest growth of companies in the information sector, has a large Arab community that has been part of the city since the beginning of the 18th century.

The reality is that the trafficking of wives by contract is a growing phenomenon, according to the newspaper Mumbai Mirror, "as the qazis [the cleric who holds a Muslim wedding ceremony] connive with brokers fixing such marriages."

Sometimes these marriages are put together not necessarily in bad faith or with other interests in mind, but because they know that in any case, for these young women it is a turning point in their lives.

The dowry is also a reason that pushes poorer families to take the decision to put their daughters in the hands of these pimps, explains Noorjehan Siddiqui. Marrying a daughter in India means having a dowry for her which the family of the groom continues to demand. It is better to give one's daughter to an Arab who is instead ready to pay a dowry that is often also a considerable amount.

While many families do not realise they are being cheated by a middle man or an individual who is only looking for easy sex, there are also those who know very well what they are doing and make such a decision for economic reasons, using the money from such a deal to put their other children through school or, paradoxically, to pay the dowries for marrying off their other daughters, said Noorjehan Siddiqui. '"Many of these girls have been married four to ten times, " she said.



(Pac/Aki)


Oct-25-05 13:58

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