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Hamas "rewards" Gaza men to marry war widows, but sparks criticism
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20:35, March 24, 2009

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The Islamic Hamas movement has encouraged Gaza men to marry "a widow of a martyr" with a reward of 3,000 U.S. dollars for each, but the project sparked criticism by pro-women groups, according to a Hamas women activist Tuesday.

Nadia Nasser told the press that the cash reward "is to encourage the youths marry women who lost their husbands by the Israeli army fire."

"The project aims at providing a stable life for the widows, especially the young who lost their husbands days or weeks after the marriage," Nasser said, adding "this is the best way to protect the Muslim women."

In December and January, Israel conducted an unprecedented offensive in the Gaza Strip, killing more than 1,300 Palestinians. About 43 percent of victims were women and children and the rest were men, most of them youths.

However, the Hamas project sparked criticism by pro-women groups. Samira Abdel Aleem, the Director of Women Committees said that it "degrades the dignity of the Palestinian woman who always sacrificed alongside the man."

"The woman has the right to choose her husband," Abdel Aleem said, demanding the authorities to amend the personal status law and outlawing the polygamy.

Hamas said those who want to get advantage of the project should be fiscally capable of "providing for two wives or more and must be ready to look after the children of the new wife."

They also must be committed to the moral and religious principles and provide "a private place for the new wife."

Source: Xinhua

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