Fariba Nawa is an Afghan-American journalist. Her work has appeared in The Atlantic, Newsweek, The Sunday Times of London, Foreign Affairs, and The Christian Science Monitor, among other publications. She also reports for radio, including National Public Radio (NPR), and is the author of Opium Nation: Child Brides, Drug Lords and One Woman’s Journey Through Afghanistan (2011). (February 2019)
Divorce—though originally sanctioned more than 1,400 years ago by Islamic law—is still widely viewed in Muslim societies as a subversive act that breaks up the family. Women who seek divorce can often find themselves ostracized and treated as immoral. Despite such taboos and restrictions, however, divorce rates are rising across Islamic countries, even in ultra-conservative places like Afghanistan. Turkey, in particular, is seeing a record number of divorces, as both women and men are looking for a way out of unhappy and sometimes abusive marriages. Over the past fifteen years, the divorce rate has risen from under 15 percent of marriages to nearly a quarter of them.