Hindu Vivek Kendra
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Polygamy - the right to put down women

Polygamy - the right to put down women

Author: Andrew Bolt
Publication: Herald Sun
Date: June 27, 2008
URL: http://www.news.com.au/heraldsun/story/0,21985,23928410-5000117,00.html

We haven't heard the last of this call by Muslim leaders for the right to polygamy.

After all, how can a society that's moving to give a man the right to marry another man then refuse a man the right to marry two women?

Give way on gay marriage, you must give way on polygamy. In both cases it's about consenting adults, right?

So I couldn't blame the sheiks who thought it was time this week to demand we change our laws to make polygamy legal.

Sheik Khalil Chami, of the Islamic Welfare Centre in Lakemba, said we already had Muslims in polygamous marriages here, and should protect them with legal status.

These weren't just polygamists who had somehow slipped through immigration checks, either: "There are a lot of sheiks here . . . (who) conduct that marriage no problem at all."

Chami soon had backers. Sheik Isse Musse of Werribee mosque said Melbourne had some 20 polygamous families from Africa, mainly Somalis and mainly refugees. The second wives deserved to have their marriages recognised so they weren't seen as having sex outside wedlock but, alas, "the Australian law is unfortunate".

Keysar Trad, translator for the former mufti of Australia and head of the Islamic Friendship Society, agreed, saying he'd even proposed to a second wife. And the current Mufti, Sheik Fehmi Naji el-Imam, said this was an issue for the Australian National Council of Imams to discuss.

And relax, crooned Yasser Soliman, one of the Muslim advisers handpicked by then prime minister John Howard: "I don't think it should be discussed in terms of any threat to the Australian way of life."

Except, of course, that it is.

It's not just a threat in the obvious way, being a challenge to the way we regard women in this country.

Women have slowly, painfully won the right to be considered equal to men in status and freedoms. Do we betray that ideal now by approving a form of union in which women are inevitably subservient?

It's no coincidence, after all, that these sheiks are utterly against giving women the equal right in turn to several husbands. And you need only hear Trad argue for polygamy to suspect they feel a woman's place is under a man, literally.

Trad this week said he'd proposed to a second woman because he'd fallen in love and thought it sinful to commit adultery. His wife, Hanifa, said she'd approved, because it would mean "having (sex) in the right way instead of having it like go to a prostitute . . ."

A second wife as a prostitute substitute? How could any woman resist such a sweet offer? No wonder Trad's proposal was turned down.

Six years ago, in another interview, Hanifa made even plainer the humiliation of such a deal, saying she'd only agreed to her husband taking a second wife because "we were having a terrible time . . . He fell in love and I wasn't thinking about myself."

In fact, that profile of the Trads also hinted at the deeper danger to "the Australian way of life" posed by polygamy.

Keysar Trad then had nine children and no steady job, relying on low-income support from government. He could not maintain his own family on his own, yet still was asking another woman to join his tribe.

In fact, I suspect that behind these new calls for the legalising of polygamous Muslim marriages is a need for the taxpayers' support that would flow with it.

It's largely for that very reason that Britain this year agreed to formally recognise polygamous relationships, almost all of Muslims, allowing second wives to claim income support of around $80 a week.

Given the poverty of so many such families, this means British taxpayers will now be funding marriage arrangements many will think unhealthy, if not immoral or even alien.

That isn't a reaction the Left can simply dismiss as plain bigotry, to be ignored or tackled with some "awareness" campaign. There is actually a moral issue here: should taxpayers support relationships that necessarily make women the underlings of men?

But there is also this to consider: here is yet another wedge to split us into tribes. After all, communities are formed by a shared morality, and a sense that we may each expect from others what others expect from us.

But what if those others expect from us help we feel is wrong to give, and which we would never dream of demanding ourselves?

That doesn't just break down trust and a sense of community, it destroys our support for the welfare state that needs our cash to exist. Is that what the Left really wants?

No, multiculturalism is cute when it's all souvlakis and fiestas, but here is one ethnic custom that must make way for our own. Marriage is between one man and one woman, people.

For your own good, and ours, and above all the children's, we must insist on that.

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