Via Michael Ledeen, who does his bit to report on Irans long but slow slide into nation-state insanity, we get the news that the Iranian religious leadership has opened up vacancies for women and girls to prostitute themselves at the Imam Reza’s shrine in Mash’had.
It is not put in those stark terms. Rather, women and girls are asked to make themselves available for Mut’a (term-limited contract) marriages. Over on Planet Iran, you will find the entire original letter and translation. To give you a taste, here’s a snippet:
In order to elevate the spiritual atmosphere, create proper psychological conditions and tranquility of mind, the Province of the Quds’eh-Razavi of Khorassan has created centers for temporary marriage (just next door to the shrine) for those brothers who are on pilgrimage to the shrine of our eighth Imam, Imam Reza, and who are far away from their spouses.
To that end, we call on all our sisters who are virgins, who are between the ages of 12 and 35 to cooperate with us. Each of our sisters who signs up will be bound by a two year contract with the province of the Quds’eh-Razavi of Khorassan and will be required to spend at least 25 days of each month temporarily married to those brothers who are on pilgrimage.
Which is followed by a list with rates according to the length of the contract, ending on a rather jarring note by promising virgin candidates a bonus of 100,000 Tomans ($100 US) for the removal of their hymen.
I’ll leave it to the reader to list the numerous logical and theological contradictions and hypocrisies in this bit of religious absurdity. Whatever else one can say about, for instance, the Roman Catholic church, it never, ever came upon the idea of husbanding a class of prostitute nuns.