updated 7/20/2007 5:40:33 PM ET 2007-07-20T21:40:33

A Jordanian Islamic charity on Friday organized a mass wedding for 32 couples to help young people unable to afford expensive ceremonies usually demanded by the Arab tradition.

The veiled brides and their grooms were married in a schoolyard on the outskirts of Amman, the capital, where guests were segregated by gender in accordance with strict Islamic traditions.

Some 3,000 guests, including the couples' relatives, attended the noisy ceremony with bands chanting religious and traditional Arabic songs.

The mass wedding was organized by the Al-Afaf Charity Society, which offers interest-free loans, clothing and furniture to newlywed couples and helps arrange housing loans. Most of the brides and grooms belong to the Muslim Brotherhood Movement.

The weddings are increasing in popularity and have become an almost yearly event, aimed at encouraging young low-income Muslims to get married and set up a family.

One groom, Ayman Moussa Radwan, 25, a government employee, said, "Al-Afaf had provided us with our wedding costumes, clothing, the invitation cards, the wedding cake, some of the furniture for our house and some money. The charity organization will help us to get a loan through a bank to build a house."

He said that his younger brother, Raed, 24, was among the couples getting married and that between them, they had invited 200-plus people to the wedding.

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