Dubai rape dispute points to wider Islamic rules

By Brian Murphy

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, July 25 2013 12:00 a.m. MDT

Such cases are difficult to prove, however, requiring material evidence such as a videotape or the testimony of four male witnesses.


In Gaza, controlled by the militant group Hamas, a cleric offered the improbable boast that sex outside marriage cannot be found in the territory.

"Islam asks people to bear the burden of their pleasure" only through marriage, said Sheik Hisham Akram. "In our country, thanks Allah's blessings, we don't have these kind of forbidden relations."

Nevertheless, the law says violators could face up to six months in prison.

In Iraq, there is no punishment for a relationship outside marriage if it has the consent of both partners. With adultery, however, the punishment is from one to seven years in prison for both people.

Jordan bans all sex outside marriage, with jail sentences up to three years, although the law is rarely enforced. Families of women suspected of out-of-wedlock sex are sometimes slain by relatives in so-called "honor killings," which occur across the Muslim world, although Jordan's Queen Rania has led a campaign against the ancient practice.

Last month, Cambridge University released a survey of 850 Jordanian students that found about half of the males and 20 percent of female respondents advocated killing women or girls if their sexual behavior dishonored the family.

Associated Press writers contributing to this report include: Smail Bellaoualli in Rabat, Morocco; Niniek Karmini in Jakarta; Abdullah Rebhy in Doha, Qatar; Zarar Khan and Asif Shahzad in Islamabad; Patrick Quinn in Kabul; Ibrahim Barzak in Gaza City, Gaza Strip; Sameer N. Yacoub in Baghdad; Jamal Halaby in Amman, Jordan; and Ali Akbar Dareini in Tehran, Iran.

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