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Imams Organize Muslim ‘Pleasure Marriages’ With Prostitutes

Prostitutes and undercover journalists in Sweden claimed that Shia imams accused Muslims of “marriages” to prostitutes in order to circumvent Islamic rules on premarital sex.

Imams across the country are said to have performed fictitious “pleasure marriages” to allow Muslims to engage in sexual activity with prostitutes, then ended the marriages once the sexual activity was over.

The allegations come from an investigation by Swedish public broadcaster SVT, with prostitutes recounting their experiences with imams, who often charge money for fake marriages.

Two prostitutes, both using pseudonyms, told the channel that at least one in ten Arabic-speaking sex buyers demanded they enter into a sham marriage with them before buying sexual favours.

Weddings usually last around an hour, with one saying the imams view the process as a “business”.

“He abuses his power and everything the situation offers. He’s taking advantage of a vulnerable woman, it’s disgusting. It is prostitution that he engages in. He acts like a pimp,” one woman said of one of the imams performing the marriage services.

Undercover, SVT found at least 15 Shia clerics who were willing to perform so-called “pleasure marriages” for both men and women. Seven said they understood the practice was going on but did not want to engage in it, and some called it prostitution.

According to the police consulted by the broadcaster, what the imams are doing is probably illegal and could be considered prostitution and pimping activities.

“If I had been the head of the preliminary investigation, I would probably have written a human trafficking report,” said Petra Stenkula, Malmö’s police chief.

Haider Ibrahim, president of the organization of Shia Islamic Communities in Sweden, which includes all Shia groups contacted by the broadcaster, commented on the allegations, saying: “I will take this very seriously. Those who are guilty and who have thus made a fool of themselves must not sit still.

Such bogus marriages have been common in Islam for years and were reported to have taken place as early as 2005 in countries like Afghanistan, where the practice is known as Sekha.

There have also been reports of other bogus marriages involving the acquisition of residence permits for Muslim migrants, with an imam on trial in 2014 in the UK for arranging hundreds of bogus marriages for British residence permits.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or by e-mail at ctomlinson(at)

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