An utterly riveting cable TV show called the "Love Crimes of Kabul" follows the stories of Afghan women who have been imprisoned for breaking strict Sharia law governing sex outside of marriage. Their crimes would be hardly recognizable in the United States: adultery, fornication, prostitution and lewd behavior have become pretty much the norm here.
In one fascinating episode, a young woman has become pregnant while unmarried. Her parents turn her in to the authorities in disgrace. Her father laments that each time he goes out in public he shields his face out of shame. The neighborhood gossip is unbearable, cries the mother. Her lover is also charged and awaits trial in a neighboring jail.
As the episode develops, the parents attempt to negotiate a quick wedding. If they get married before the trial, perhaps the judge will be more lenient – prison sentences for moral crimes range from 2-15 years in Afghanistan. The situation presents a hardship for both families. The young man comes from a poor family and has no job or dowry to offer. The young woman's family laments that if she does not get married she faces the prospect of raising her child in prison -- and when she gets out she would have no viable options for marriage (in Afghanistan, virginity is a prized asset). After a series of negotiations conducted by the young man's uncle, the handcuffed couple gets married in family court just before they are set to face trial.
The judge hears the case. He reviews the evidence – including a confession by the young woman, a medical test confirming her pregnancy, and eyewitness accounts from a neighbor who caught them in the act. He concludes that they are guilty. However, he notes, the strength of the family unit is a fundamental value in Islam. He considers the fact that they are now married, and urges them to return home to raise their family in earnest. He sentences them to time served. The newlyweds are elated. The families are happy because their honor has been restored.
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