Saturday, June 24, 2017

Stifled and Suffocated in Gaza

"She is beautiful and a widow of a martyr at the same time."
"When I get wealthy, I will marry the third wife."
Majdi Abu Mustafa
USA Newsguide

"Our men fight wars and die. Women stay alive."
"This is why my project supports polygamy."
"Our website encourages them [women] to search for husbands by themselves, to truly choose and say what they like in the man."
"We also fight old traditions that say divorced women should not get married."
Hashem Sheikha, founder, Wesal, Gaza matchmaking website

"Women who lost their men during the last three wars have difficult lives and few options."
"In most cases the husband's family pressures the woman to marry the brother-in-law to control her life."
"This matchmaking service is positive because it encourages these women to choose the potential husband without fear and pressure."
Reham Owda, Gaza women's issues writer
"I felt like I was the happiest man in the world on my wedding day", said Rami Shatali, 38, divorced with four daughters, living together in the Al Maghazi refugee camp in Gaza. He married Majd Shatali 26, divorced as well, and living with her son. They found one another on the website Wesal. "...I found a woman who madly fell in love with me. The one who could make me forget all about my pain", he said.
USA Newsguide

Single woman from Gaza City, Lina Zein, 25, fails to view the website as a positive contribution to women's welfare in Gaza, however. According to her: "This website is disgusting. Women are not a sack of onions". Perhaps not, perhaps they represent something far more prestigious than a sack of onions; say, for example, a status symbol.

For Islam permits Muslim men to marry up to four wives. The more wives a man has the more important he seems to himself, and to the community. Since it is also a matter of affordability. One must have the financial capacity to support each succeeding wife. That nuisance is overcome, it seems, when Muslim men in multiple marriages, seen as illegal in the West, nonetheless emigrate there and have all their wives and children supported on welfare.

Majdi and Ghada Abu Mustafa each were looking for spouses; he for a widow of a man killed in battle against Israel. Preferably without children. Preferably between 25 and 30. She, on the other hand, was looking for a married man so she could become part of his domestic entourage. Islam does not permit the exchange of photographs or online chatting.  So that's a little tricky.

USA Newsguide

Gaza strip residents are religious conservatives, unlike most of the Palestinian population living in the West Bank. In the three wars that Hamas has launched with Israel, roughly 1,400 Hamas fighters have been killed since 2008, leaving behind widows. Tradition makes it difficult for these widows to become married to single men. Abu Mustafa, 34, stated his wish to give "dignity" to a widow.

Mr. Sheikha, the founder of the website, claims 150 weddings thanks to his venture in bringing people together, since March. Over half of those marriage requests related to men looking for a second or third wife. The website services widows, the divorced and those who have never before married. Users must accept the term: "I swear by Allah the Great that all my information is accurate, and that I won't use this website for entertainment".

But this is also a religion, one must remember, that permits men to practise the fiction of "temporary marriages", when they want to have sex with a woman and have no intention of committing to one woman through marriage. In this religion, divorce is simple, with the man required simply to state three times in succession: "I divorce you".

USA Newsguide
"Polуgamу has hit high rates in Gaza over thе few past уears, seeminglу due tо an increase in people’s religious inclination, especiallу after Hamas took power in 2007", explained Amal Seуam, head оf thе nongovernmental Gaza’s Women Affairs Association.

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