‘We R Over’: Tajikistan’s Religious Officials Ban Divorce By Text Message

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OXANA ONIPKO / AFP / Getty Images

Who knew that SMS split-ups were permitted in the first place?

Apparently, the practice of ending one’s marriage via mobile phone using the “triple talaq” (talaq is the Arabic term for divorce) is quite common in Tajikistan, a predominantly Muslim Central Asian country. The “triple talaq” is a controversial means of attaining a divorce associated with Sunni Islam. The husband simply needs to say “I divorce you” to his wife three times and the deed is done.

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If this sounds a bit too easy to you, you’re not alone. The device has been outlawed in Muslim-majority nations including Turkey, Tunisia, Algeria, Iraq, Iran, Indonesia, Pakistan and Bangladesh. In India, reciting the “triple talaq” without also engaging in arbitration and reconciliation barely means a thing.

Now, Tajikistan has jumped on the anti-talaq bandwagon. On Monday, the head of the state religious affairs committee, Abdurakhim Kholikov, announced that sending text messages containing three instances of talaq as a means of divorce constitutes a breach of Islamic law. Declaring divorce by SMS is especially prevalent among Tajik men living abroad, usually in Russia, as migrant workers in an effort to escape poverty in their home country.

The state committee plans to outlaw the practice entirely, though in Tajikistan, where many marriages remain unrecorded, performing talaq serves mainly as a formality. (via AP)

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