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Sunday, April 6, 2008

'Pleasure marriages' regain popularity in Iraq By Rick Jervis, USA TODAY

The 1,400-year-old practice of muta'a— "ecstasy" in Arabic — is as old as Islam itself. It was permitted by the prophet Mohammed as a way to ensure a respectable means of income for widowed women.

Pleasure marriages were outlawed under Saddam Hussein but have begun to flourish again. The contracts, lasting anywhere from one hour to 10 years, generally stipulate that the man will pay the woman in exchange for sexual intimacy. Now some Iraqi clerics and women's rights activists are complaining that the contracts have become less a mechanism for taking care of widows than an outlet for male sexual desires.

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