<\body> Stories in America: Iraqi Women Forced to Become Sex Slaves

Sunday, January 29, 2006

Iraqi Women Forced to Become Sex Slaves

To think that Bush supporters still believe him when he says the war is "liberating" Iraqi women. I'm sure he'll repeat it again on Tuesday night. Here's one of the many realities facing Iraqi women we rarely, if ever, hear about:
A rise in the incidence of "temporary" marriages among Shi'ite Muslims is causing concern among women's rights activists. According to women's NGOs in the south of the country, more than 300 temporary marriages occur daily in Kerbala, Najaf and Basra, Iraq's three main Shi'ite cities.

"The poverty, especially for women who have lost their husbands in the years of war, is the main reason for them accepting such agreements," said Salua Fatihi, head of two non-governmental women's rights organisations in southern Iraq. "It's an easy way to protect their children and put food on the table."

"They [men] use them as sexual objects under the guise of a religious belief," Fatihi added.

According to Shi'ite religious law, unmarried women may enter into temporary marriages for periods ranging from hours to an entire lifetime. A payment is made to the woman, often around US $1,000 or the equivalent in gold.

The practice, known as Muta'a, was banned during the Saddam Hussein regime, but has re-emerged since 2003.

"I've been in a difficult position since my husband died during the war in 2003 and my children were hungry, so I decided to accept this temporary marriage," said Um Hassan, a widow. "I was his sexual slave for one month and than he just said my time had expired and left."

Karima Abbas' marriage lasted less than a week: "He slept with me every day for a week and then went back to his wife, leaving me pregnant without any help," said Abbas.
The new Iraqi constitution, which is being praised by the Bush administration, guarantees freedom of marrage according to religious beliefs.


At 1/30/2006 6:46 AM, Anonymous timmy said...


Apparently Betty Dawisha hasn't had any San Francisco progressives educate her on women's rights in Iraqi yet.

At 1/30/2006 9:15 AM, Blogger storiesinamerica said...


At 1/30/2006 10:48 AM, Anonymous timmy said...

Might want to take a look at these tapes before you start a discussion on human rights in Iraq before Bush butted in.


One thing you guys need to remember, when Saddam was toppled, Iraq had no liberal or secular leaderships or organizations on the scene. These guys are starting at something less than scratch and there's going to be plenty of bad news mixed in with the good. They've got a long way to go, but anyone who has the slightest hope for women's rights to get a foothold in the Middle East has no choice but to support democracy...and pray it succeeds. Liberalism and secularism cannot survive without it.

Another thing, if you're looking for tragic stories about the mistreatment of women...the United Nations is always a good source.


At 1/30/2006 12:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This, from Human Rights Watch, is a good read. There was a women's museum in Baghdad. I'm not sure if it's been bombed. Women and children suffer the most during war. For Bush to say we are "liberating" women is a lie:

Historically, Iraqi women and girls have enjoyed relatively more rights than many of their counterparts in the Middle East. The Iraqi Provisional Constitution (drafted in 1970) formally guaranteed equal rights to women and other laws specifically ensured their right to vote, attend school, run for political office, and own property. Yet, since the 1991 Gulf War, the position of women within Iraqi society has deteriorated rapidly. Women and girls were disproportionately affected by the economic consequences of the U.N. sanctions, and lacked access to food, health care, and education. These effects were compounded by changes in the law that restricted women's mobility and access to the formal sector in an effort to ensure jobs to men and appease conservative religious and tribal groups.

At 1/30/2006 2:05 PM, Anonymous timmy said...

As tempting an offer you make for the reinstatement of Saddam to his golden throne, accompanied by his rape-room enthusiast son, Uday...I'm not buying.

Sorry, but pining for the glory days of women's rights under the beneficent Saddam and his fascist regime ("right to vote" - HA!), complete with torture chambers, mass graves, nerve gas attacks, children's prison's and the like, well, let's just say I lack the proper motivation.

No, it isn't going to be easy, but I'm rooting for women like Narmin Othman and Azhar Al-Shakly. These women are my feminist heroes. And what does it tell you about the left in this country that women like this are virtually ignored by progressives?


At 1/30/2006 2:14 PM, Blogger storiesinamerica said...

Timmy, you're continually losing credibility. Where did I say Saddam should be reinstated? Bush I should have kept his promise back in the 80s. Perhaps we wouldn't be where we are today.

At 1/30/2006 4:56 PM, Anonymous timmy said...

"Timmy, you're continually losing credibility."

Well, at least I haven't suggested that Chris Matthews is a right-wing tool. I'd be running on empty after that.

I guess I just got caught up in the fawning description of Saddam era women enjoying the multitude of freedoms the Iraqi Provisional Constitution afforded them -- like the right to vote......for Saddam.

Hoping this won't ruin your credibility...but I agree with you about Bush 1.

As Christopher Hitchens has pointed out on a number of occasions, it is the mistakes and failures of previous administrations that increase our obligation to make things right now.

At 1/30/2006 5:02 PM, Blogger storiesinamerica said...

God help the next administration that has to clean up Bush's mess.

At 1/30/2006 6:01 PM, Anonymous timmy said...

And God help the Iraqi people if we abandon them again.

At 2/19/2007 2:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Dear Readers,

Four blind men were asked to describe an elephant.

One felt the trunk & said that an elephant is like a snake..the other felt the legs & said an elephant is like a pillar while the third felt the body & said that an elephant is like a wall &
the fourth felt the hair & said that an elephant is like a thread.

Only the fifth person who was not blind at all could give the complete picture.

In today's world of education & enlightenment..we have to see the complete picture before we could jump to wild conclusions..else it would be like shooting in the dark.

Muta marriages exist since ages immemorial. If you go through the actual defined rituals (you may find in www.mutah.com)& study deeply then every marriage certainly carries meaning.

Its not just for nothing that muta marriages sprang on the planet.

A woman & a man who enters the muta marriage ritual knows best their reasons & since its a marriage-we cannot classify it under prostitution.

Its a kind of contract marriage which otherwise exists in many parts of the world albeit the relative factor of tome.

Better to interview the women who have been through muta marriages to get to know the real truth.
Its not certainly extra marital affair.This is only my opinion ...accept or leave it
Best regards/prasad lbv

At 6/27/2008 9:12 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

as a supporter of the Muta ,i can agree with the person who used the elephant theory...unless you are one of people into really you should mind your business...what are doing here is slander..you havent enought information to even begin to form an opinion...read Quran and al sunnah if you want the truth. God know what is best for us all


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