By Tim Stickings For Mailonline. Young Iraqi girls are being sold for sex in temporary 'marriages' that can last as little as an hour, a BBC documentary has revealed. Shia clerics were filmed offering 'pleasure marriages' in which men, usually banned from having sex outside marriage, can pay a dowry for an interim wife. One cleric claimed it would be 'no problem at all' to marry girls as young as nine under Islamic law. The religious rite dates back centuries, partly intended to allow men to have a legitimate relationship while away from their wives. However, some Iraqi men and Shia clerics are now abusing it to give a veneer of legitimacy to child prostitution.
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UNFPA - United Nations Population Fund
They came for Dr Khaula al-Tallal in a white Opel car after she took a taxi home to the middle class district of Qadissiya in Iraq's holy city of Najaf. She worked for the medical committee that examined patients to assess them for welfare benefit. Crucially, however, she was a woman in a country where being a female professional increasingly invites a death sentence. As al-Tallal, 50, walked towards her house, one of three men in the Opel stepped out and raked her with bullets. A women's rights campaigner, Umm Salam - a nickname - knows about the three men in the Opel: they tried to kill her on 11 December last year. It was a Sunday, she recalls, and 15 bullets were fired into her own car as she drove home from teaching at an internet cafe. A man in civilian clothes got out of the car and opened fire.
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Openly gay men are not permitted to serve in the military and same sex marriage or civil unions are illegal. If a man copulates with his equal from the rear, he becomes the leader among his peers and brothers. In the ancient Assyrian society, the Almanac of Incantations featured prayers praising the equality of love between heterosexual and gay male couples.
The friend asked why she needed one. As the extremist militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ISIS march through northern and western Iraq, fears of their approach run high, and residents in other regions worry about what horrors the militants will inflict if they arrive. Chief among these concerns is sexual violence against women — cited by women who say they fear it and men who list protecting women as a motivation for taking up arms against ISIS. The government appears to have seized on this threat to rally Iraqis against ISIS — and in particular to rally Shiites, with the suggestion that sexual violence will be turned against them as a form of sectarian aggression.