Legalising polygamy for Muslims

An Australian Islamic leader has announced that polygamous marriages should be recognised by the Australian government. Keysar Trad from the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia said that polygamous relationships in the Muslim community should be legalised, because this would make things safer for Muslim women.

"If this woman has wilfully chosen to enter into this relationship and make a lifelong commitment to this person to be married, it [polygamy] shouldn't matter,” said Mr Trad. “If it was a business and the business had four partners we'd recognise that, but why don't we recognise it when it comes to consensual relationships amongst adults?" His thoughts were echoed by Sheikh Khalil Chami of the Islamic Welfare Centre in Sydney who also said polygamous marriages should be recognised in Australia.

This raises what many consider to be the two major assaults on the Judeo-Christian West today: from without, the push for sharia law; from within, the push to redefine the institution of marriage. Both are major areas of concern, and both must be firmly resisted.

All true Muslims want to see the rule of Allah spread throughout the earth, and want all infidels to submit to his laws. And bit by bit we see the encroachment of sharia law in Western nations. We even have Christian leaders such as the Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams saying that at least partial recognition of sharia in countries like the UK is inevitable.

Increasingly, Western societies are ceding freedoms in order to placate Muslim minorities. And given the fact that Muslims tend to have larger families than non-Muslims, many are predicting that Muslim majorities will rule in many Western nations before the century is out. Indeed, one recent headline put it this way: "Britain to be an Islamic State by 2038".

It is quite reasonable, then, to see the move to legalise Muslim polygamy as part of the greater spread of Islam throughout the Western world. At the moment it does not look as though there is much to stop it gaining momentum.

Turning to the West’s internal culture war, for years we have been battling various attacks on the institution of marriage. When there was debate over allowing de facto relationships to have similar status to married couples, pro-family forces warned this would be the thin end of the wedge, and that the next thing would be demands for same-sex relationship recognition. Of course they were laughed out of court.

And when same-sex unions were recognised, pro-family forces said the next logical step will be to legalise polygamy. We too were ridiculed and mocked for suggesting such things. But one simply has to google the word “polyamory” to see that this is no laughing matter.

There are voices all over the world – including those of academics, lawyers and other elites – calling for the recognition of group love and/or group marriage. Indeed, if we accept the logic of same-sex marriage, then the logic of polygamy is identical.

Both involve adults freely entering into a sexual relationship. These are consensual unions, the apologists will argue, and hurting no one else. So why not? The case for polygamy is based on the very same premises as the case for same-sex marriage. And if Muslims are now arguing for it, it seems that it is just a matter of time before the entire institution of heterosexual marriage is cast onto the scrap-heap of history.

Muslim men today in Australia have up to four wives, as they are allowed in the Koran. Many of these extra wives are already getting government (that is, taxpayer funded) benefits, especially in the Sydney area. Muslim men think this is all fine. One newspaper account says this: "Mr Trad's mother was a third wife in a polygamous relationship overseas and he said the women had admiration and respect for each other and supported each other." Most women in polygamous affairs would beg to differ.

Most Muslim women despise such arrangements, and usually there is one woman that is singled out for special treatment by the husband, while the other three languish. It is this inequality of love and affection which makes polygamy so miserable for the majority of women involved in it. Jealousy, tensions and strife are common in such scenarios.

On the radio I heard a Muslim defending polygamy. He said he wanted to enter into a relationship with a woman (although he was already married) and he thought the right thing would be to marry this other woman. But what about doing the right thing by his wife? How does she feel that his love is "shared" among many? Why not look after her rights and interests?

Polygamy is all about the lusts of the males, not the wellbeing of the females. Right now polygamy is illegal in Australia. To legalise it will not only set in cement the misery many Muslim women already experience, but it will be a further nail in the coffin of heterosexual marriage, and the near universal principle of one man, one woman for life.

It remains to be seen how well received this recommendation will be. Many politicians are already overly sensitive to, and worried about, Muslim feelings. Thus many might be tempted to go along with this idea. And the fact of political correctness, along with the homosexual war on marriage, will simply add more pressure for legalised polygamy to gain further currency amongst our ruling elites.

The war against marriage has just got more intense. What is needed more than ever are leaders with common sense, guts and principle to make a stand before it is too late. Whether such leaders still exist is the question of the hour.

Bill Muehlenberg is the Secretary of the Family Council of Victoria, Australia, and a lecturer in ethics at several Melbourne theological colleges.


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