Somalis Advance Phone Sex to a New Level
November 09, 2009, 02:48 AM
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Technology is taking all the romance out of dating and marriage in Somalia, where traditionalists miss the good old days when camels were exchanged for a bride. But now, the mobile phone has made "marriage" and divorce easy to manage. The quickie marriages are more like meet-ups for sex (followed by rapid divorces), but Islam insists that certain formalities be observed.

It helps that Islamic divorce is famously easy for Muslim males to obtain: under talaq a fellow has only to say, "I divorce you" three times, and Allah is happy with the split. (Women have no such freedom under sharia, of course.)

[Somalia cheap mobile calls help youngsters elope, Al Arabiya News Channel, November 6, 2009]

Somali courtship was different in Hassan Aden's day. When he was a teenager, you gave the girl's parents 11 camels and an AK-47 assault rifle as bride price and then waited respectfully.

Now, the 55-year-old said, a mobile phone service that seems to be the only thing working in the failed Horn of Africa state is helping drive a rise in elopements, pregnancies out of marriage and a steady erosion of Somalia's conservative values. [...]

The cheap calls and extended mobile network in the Horn of Africa nation make it easier for Somalis to get in touch with willing partners and arrange quick assignations.

Traditional Somali marriages used to be long-planned, intricately arranged affairs normally determined by clan and sub-clan elders. But some now prefer a less formal kind of marriage, which is essentially elopement, because they do not have the economic means to face a prospective father-in-law. [...]

"I don't think I'd be sane if it were not for the 'Qudbasiro', free-of-charge secret marriages," the unemployed secondary school graduate told Reuters, sitting cross-legged on a ragged mattress and sending a text message with his phone.

"I've divorced nine women already. Voluntary brides and cheap phone services, it is the only life we have."

In other news from sharia-run Somalia, an adulterer was stoned to death but the local Islamists have spared his pregnant girlfriend until she gives birth.