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Wedding blues in Bahrain
Persian Gulf kingdom allows new form of legalized prostitution by way of one-hour marriages. Custom results in unusual cooperation between preachers, feminists

The Kingdom of Bahrain has seen a recent surge in the number of "pleasure nuptials" – a tradition which allows men and women to marry for a brief period of time, for the sole purpose of having sex.

 

"We're holding five or six wedding ceremonies a day now," said a senior Bahrain clergyman. "The couple signs a temporary marriage contract, for half an hour to 90 minutes, and the man pays his' bride' about seven or eight dollars for that time."

 

"Pleasure nuptials" are the Muslim-Shiite version of institutionalized prostitution, carried out with the full knowledge and blessing of the authorities.

 

This loophole in Muslim laws has been implemented by the Iranian authorities for a long time, as the ayatollahs have been using it to "rewards" their esteemed warriors.

 

Shiite Bahrain has decided to take up the custom, and now thousands of it men have been practicing one-hour marriages.

 

The kingdom's clergymen, however, are less than pleased with the new custom: Some women get pregnant but the men refuse to take responsibility for the children, who are them born without rights, they say.

 

The ridiculous ease of the practice has brought about an unorthodox cooperation between the religious preachers in the country and its feminist and human rights groups, meant to warn women against this "promiscuous custom," which they say could result in women losing their hard-earned civil rights. 

 

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