Being a woman can be a primitive experience in Chechnya, since she might be snatched off the street by a man who wants to possess her. Yep, a man can kidnap a woman he wants to â€?marryâ€? (so romantic!), then her family has to negotiate through an imam about the terms of how he gets to keep her.Usually a kidnapping occurs when the woman has already refused the manâ€™s proposal. Whatever happened to No Means No?Islam happened.
Chechen Head Says Bridenapping Must Stop, NTD-TV, October 19, 2010Bride kidnapping: an old tradition in Chechnya.Men often decide to steal a girl if she refuses to marry him, or if her family objects to the union.The bride napping was often followed by negotiations between the brideâ€™s and groomâ€™s families, facilitated by a local imam, or religious leader.But from now on, imams will face punishment if they get involved.Chechen leader Ramzan Kadyrov vowed Sunday to eradicate the centuries-old practice.[Ramzan Kadyrov, Leader of Chechen Republic]:â€?This is the territory of the Russian Federation in which laws make kidnapping a crime. We follow Islam, the religion which condemns such practices and does not recognize marriage without a womanâ€™s consent. I want to tell you with full responsibility that we will once and for all eradicate bride kidnapping from our society.â€?Bride-stealing can also lead to blood feuds.Last year four people were killed during a kidnapping, including a bride, after members of her family chased the kidnapperâ€™s car.
Of course, the woman who is kidnapped has no say whatsoever, as described by a western documentary filmmaker:
Can Chechen President Kadyrov stamp out bride-stealing?, BBC, by Lucy Ash, October 8, 2010While I was there, Zulikhan, a 22-year-old student, was grabbed off the street on her way home from college by a man she barely knew. A week later, wearing a high-necked wedding dress and a mournful expression, she was married to Bogdan, her kidnapper.I was present during most of the tense negotiations between her grandfather and representatives from the groomâ€™s family.It became increasingly clear that Zulikhan would have no say in the matter. Her future was decided by a roomful of elderly men and a young mullah who, it later emerged, had stolen his own wife.