Internet Marriages on Rise in Some Immigrant Communities
With a red embroidered veil draped over her dark hair, Punam Chowdhury held her breath last month as her fiancé said the words that would make them husband and wife. After she echoed them, they were married. Guests erupted in applause; the bride and groom traded bashful smiles.
Normally one of the most intimate moments two people can share, the marriage had taken place from opposite ends of the globe over the video chat program Skype, with Ms. Chowdhury, an American citizen, in a mosque in Jackson Heights, Queens, and her new husband, Tanvir Ahmmed, in his living room with a Shariah judge in his native Bangladesh.
Their courtship, like so many others, had taken place almost entirely over the Internet — they had met in person only once, years earlier, in passing. But in a twist that underscores technology’s ability to upend traditional notions about romance, people are not just finding their match online, but also saying “I do” there.
The practice of proxy marriage is particularly widespread in Islamic countries where the Koran has long been interpreted to explicitly endorse it.
“After all these advancements in technology and all kinds of telecommunication tools, scholars came to the conclusion that it is acceptable,” said the imam Shamsi Ali, of the Jamaica Muslim Center in Queens.
“Skype is making it easier,” he added. “These days you have Google Hangout, too.”
KINGSTON, Jamaica — U.S. diplomats have expressed concern that an Islamic cleric convicted of whipping up racial hatred among Muslim converts in Britain might do the same thing in his homeland of Jamaica, according to a leaked cable from the island’s U.S. Embassy.
The dispatch, dated February 2010, warns that that Jamaica could be fertile ground for jihadists because of its underground drug economy, marginalized youth, insufficient security and gang networks in U.S. and British prisons, along with thousands of American tourists.
U.S. diplomats and law enforcement officials have expressed concern in the past that Middle Eastern terror groups might forge alliances with drug traffickers or take advantage of general lawlessness in parts of Latin America and the Caribbean.
The cable is one of the quarter million confidential American diplomatic dispatches first obtained by anti-secrecy group WikiLeaks and separately obtained by The Associated Press.
A radical preacher has declared his version of Islam as the future for Jamaica after being deported there from the UK following his imprisonment for inciting to racial hatred. Abdullah al-Faisal has warned the Christian leaders of Jamaica to “beware” as he sets off on a preaching mission to see “Jamaicans renounce Christianity and become Muslims”. In his first interview since his deportation in May, al-Faisal brandishes Christianity as “false” and “blasphemous”. Speaking to presenter Ian Boyne on Television Jamaica’s (TVJ) Religious Hard Talk, the firebrand preacher states that “Christians are pagans because they worship three gods”.http://themuslimweekly.com/fullstoryview.aspx?NewsID=3B266C991A8AA9CB49CBB85B&MENUID=HOMENEWS&DESCRIPTION=UK%20News