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Dowry burden unleashes myriad social problems

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KABUL: Big weddings and bigger dowries -- the bane of Afghan society -- are responsible for serious and widespread social problems, reveals an Independent Media Consortium Productions (IMCP) investigation.
Bridegrooms bear the cost of lavish marriage celebrations that include pre-wedding parties, dowry or money for the bride's family and Sharia Mahr, for the bride. While mahr is sanctioned by Islam, the practice of dowry, prevalent for centuries, is anti-Islam, says Professor Abdul Zahir Daee in the Sharia Faculty of Kabul University.
IMC interviewed a cross-section of people in Kabul, Nangarhar, Balkh, Herat, Kandahar, Ghazni, Bamyan and Khost. Only five of the 200 interviewed - 30 percent women - were in favour of dowry. The money demanded can be anything between 5,000 Afs and over a million (90 USD to 17,800 USD). Brides in Bamyan, Herat, Ghazni and Kabul can demand more than 1 million Afs, whereas in Khost the maximum was 700,000 Afs (12,400 USD) and in Nangarhar 400,000 Afs (7,100 USD). The implications are myriad. (PAN)

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