Iraqis United in Mass Wedding

Dozens of couples marry across sectarian divides
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 13, 2007 12:53 PM CST
Newly married couples attend a party at the Palestine Hotel in Central Baghdad, Iraq, on Friday, Dec. 7, 2007. Sixty couples came the Palestine Hotel for a organized joint wedding. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)   (Associated Press)
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(Newser) – A Baghdad media magnate, determined to overcome the sectarian conflict tearing apart Iraq, organized a mass wedding for dozens of mixed Baghdad couples, reports the Christian Science Monitor. The newspaper owner scoured the city for 70 couples from different ethnicities or sects, and treated them to a wedding and party with a 65-foot-long cake. Each couple was given a refrigerator, a TV, and two nights in a hotel.

"It's a chance to put divisions aside for a city that wants to be happy again," the sponsor's newspaper paper said. Mass weddings are an Arab tradition, but this one took place under unusually heavy security. Iraqi soldiers escorted the 70-car convoy as it toured the ravaged city in a show of unity. "It's the ultimate act of defiance to all who say we are divided," said one Shia man marrying a Sunni bride.