Gaza's Single Ladies to Hamas: Put a Ring on It
Islamic group sees matchmaking as 'humanitarian work'
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2009 3:54 PM CDT
An employee walks past a large banner that says "The Taysir Association for Marriage and Development" draped next to the ladies entrance of the office in Gaza City.   (AP Photo/Hatem Moussa)
camera-icon View 2 more images

(Newser) – Washington deems Hamas a terrorist group, but for Gaza’s lonely single women, the Islamic militant group can be a lifesaver, the AP reports. Hamas runs a “marriage and development” service that finds husbands for hundreds of women, often helping those in their 30s—who are considered spinsters. “This is our vision of humanitarian work,” said the program's director, who charges $10-$70 for the service.

Traditionally, parents arrange marriages, but strapped families delay marrying off working daughters. They generally prefer middle-class men with steady incomes, who prefer fair-skinned women with light-colored hair. Hamas has arranged 40 marriages so far, but its couples lie about their courtship because of taboos. “I want to have a husband,” said one client. "I don't think that's a selfish request.”