CultureWatch

Bill Muehlenberg's commentary on issues of the day...

Muslim Polygamy in Australia

Jun 25, 2008

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. He said this would make things safer for Muslim women.

He said, “If this woman has wilfully chosen to enter into this relationship and make a lifelong commitment to this person to be married, it shouldn’t matter. 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: the push for sharia law, and the push to redefine the institution of marriage. Both are major areas of concern, and both must be fiercely resisted.

The first is the ongoing push to make sharia law the law of the land in Australia and around the Western world. 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. It of course does not help when Christian leaders such as the Anglican Archbishop Rowan Williams says that this is inevitable, at least partially.

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”.

The move to legalise Muslim polygamy is just part of the greater spread of Islam throughout the Western world. At the moment it does not look like much is standing in the way of this continuing to gain momentum.

Of course the other alarming feature of this is the war on marriage. 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 edge of the wedge, and that the next thing you know, there will 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 this is no laughing matter.

There are voices all over the world – including 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. It is consensual union, they 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 scrapheap of history.

Of course Muslim men today in Australia do have up to four wives, as they are allowed in the Koran. And many of these extra wives are already getting government (that is, taxpayer funded) benefits already, especially in the Sydney area.

And Muslim men think this is 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.

Polygamy is all about the lusts of the males, but 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 to 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 this sort of idea to gain further currency amongst our ruling elites.

The war against marriage has just got even 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.

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29 Responses to Muslim Polygamy in Australia

  • Again, with my many years of experience in Africa, I back up what Bill is saying, that women my feel “protected” (read that “dominated”) but they don’t feel loved the way every woman wants to feel uniquely adored. We see that already without polygamy; women don’t want their man shared with anyone else.

    One of my dad’s many graphic medical/surgical photos, was a pair of lips, with a semi-circular chunk out of the top lip. You guessed, it a woman’s pair of lips that a co-wife had chomped off in a very common jealous rage. That jealous rage is already rampant in Australia, without polygamy being added to women’s miseries.

    Muslim women in Australia already have every protection by the law that the rest of us women have. They won’t feel more protected by polygamy. That is not the issue; it’s just a smoke screen to make it sound passable.

    Again, I’m sure, as a man, Bill’s commentary on this women’s issue, carries every bit of weight as does mine as a woman. That is, he is one upright man who is trying to impede the rampant self-will of many unscrupulous men. Now there’s true protection for women.

    Rebecca Field

  • Thanks Bill, but how to begin to address this urgent matter in Australian society.

    In my opinion, we do need to grasp the argument, as Christians and to then rediscover the basis for our much-envied Australian society. And then to express our opinion in terms directly linked to the gospel. This is important for our manner of debate.

    We need to remind Australians that the public laws here, were established in the Judeo-Christian tradition. In such a society, the laws of the land are formulated, from the basic premise that – God has come into this world in Jesus, the one man, for all Nations. The implications of his coming and teaching are the basis for our present view of marriage.

    This man, in simplicity, and profound depth, was able to reveal the truth of love, which is in fact, the mystery of marriage, as it has been taught and confirmed by Jesus, and also the first Christians, the apostles.

    ‘For this reason a man will leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two will become on flesh. This is a great mystery, and I am saying that refers to Christ and the church’. (Ephesians 5:31-32).

    Our understanding of human marriage is based (not upon an economic debate, or an unhappiness of other partners debate, but) upon the goal of history, the Marriage of the Eternal Son of God, with his Bride, the redeemed humanity of the world.

    We will actually need to return to that as the basis for our arguments, folks, or we will just trade in prejudice, and cultural preferences.

    Apart from as this basis, you can really argue for polygamy – and yes, changing the law and the nation, by stealth, or you can argue for simply having sex with many women, and leaving scattered kids scattered everywhere – as many are doing now. And one can say it is all OK. You can just say – ‘this is my Aussie culture’.

    However, if humanity has indeed been given the way, the truth and the life, of marriage, and society, then we need to embrace that.

    Time to leave our shallow thought, and put our anger aside, and work this through fully, in our public discussions.

    Trevor Faggotter

  • Thanks Bill. Keysar Trad’s comment says a lot about Islam’s poor attitude to women & marriage. “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?”.

    The fact it is polygamous marriages are more like business arrangements with the women being the silent partners and only tolerated as long as they produce children and bring finacial gain to the man.

    Secondly he is using an example of something which is legal to justify illegal behaviour.
    The govenment needs to crack down on this illegal behaviour and stop tax payers money being used to support it. Centerlink should investigate false claims being made and prosecute people. All they have to do is ask Keysar who is doing it because he says he knows.

    Lyle Hutchinson

  • It is high time those migrating to, and being welcomed by, Australia ceased seeking to change the non-oppressive culture of their ‘new home’. Those who are dissatisfied with the cultural inheritance of the land of their adoption are free to return to their inferred ‘less oppressive’ regimen. Could/should dissidents be assisted to leave?
    Arthur Hartwig

  • Thanks Becky

    Once again what may be seen as mere theory on my part is backed up with some concrete real world examples from your own personal experience. Thanks for sharing them with us.

    And thanks to the other incisive commentators here. My wife reports hearing a Muslim talking this morning on the radio 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 as my wife rightly asked, what about doing the right thing with his wife? How does she feel that his love is “shared” among many?

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thank you Bill for defending God and His family ideal. How very disappointing that once again it’s a small minority speaking as if they have majority support. I doubt most muslims would agree with Keysar Trad and other polygamists (or am I naive?). Is there also a shortage of muslim men here to justify such shallow thinking? Will the Islamists here who purport to be the voice of their people also take them down a path to hell? God is great, yes, but His ‘great’ design for the human family is that conjugal love between a husband and wife is exclusive and eternal, not ‘open’! That is the inherent desire of every woman, and every man. Women deeply want the whole love of their husbands, not to be in some degrading ‘pecking order’. Our leaders of whatever persuasion should be directing us toward a path of heavenly order, not misleading society and misrepresenting our Creator.
    John Von Dinklage

  • Thank you Bill for raising your voice. I fully agree with Arthur, nobody is forcing the muslims to migrate to Australia. We have our laws and why should they change? Would muslim laws change if we migrated to a muslim country? I am positive they would not.
    No, it is time for Australian politicians and Christians alike to stand up and defend our culture and our long established laws. If I went to live in another country I would have to accept that the laws there apply to me as well. Would women be safer? They would only be safer if they were accepted as equal human beings to men and that is what they are! Our laws are fine and we shold not let minority groups lead us to think otherwise, neither do we need to be ridiculously ‘political correct’.
    Marianne Kopp

  • What a horrible thing to compare a marriage to a business partnership! I think his comments go a long way to revealing his thoughts and feelings with respect to marriage and women.

    Mr Trad doesn’t seem to realise that marriages are not like business where you can choose to keep certain people at arm’s length. There is an intimate aspect to marriage that isn’t and shouldn’t exist in the business world.

    Married women shouldn’t be treated like business partners, they should be treated lovingly as wives.

    Anh Nguyen

  • Australia will never be the same – it is a scary thought to think of alien laws supplanting our own and changing the fabric of society and our stable and sensible laws.
    These attempts must be neutralized at all costs to preserve the Australian identity and Christian cultural heritage. Compromising on this issue cannot even be contemplated.
    Michael Treacy

  • Polygamy, Polyamory, Incest, Paedophilia and other paraphilias are in the pipeline courtesy of the various Commissions for Human Rights and Equality, like the one which was at the centre of the Daniel Scott and Danny Nalliah case last year – that is unless Christians come out of their comfort zones.

    Choose your own oppression

    http://www.macleans.ca/article.jsp?content=20061023_134898_134898&source

    http://www.lifesitenews.com/ldn/2008/jun/08060310.html

    David Skinner, UK

  • There was a perceptive article on this in a newspaper in Canada in September 2007 by Tom Flanagan, a professor of political science at the University of Calgary, because the issue was raised in Canada.

    Going down this route is a Pandora’s box and it basically undermines the whole basis for democracy. It dis-empowers women so they become chattels rather than people. It empowers some men who end up with the women and dis-empowers other men who miss out. So the men that miss out turning to crime or the army, etc. and they lose their political power.

    Here is a quote from his article, which was entitled “The Sexual Constitution”:
    “Polygamous societies tend toward extreme authoritarianism and arbitrary government, with draconian punishments to protect harems and control slaves and soldiers. … young men will take extreme chances to find sexual gratification, so there have to be extreme punishments to control their libidinous passions. There is also a tendency towards permanent warfare, because plundering neighbouring peoples is the only way of satisfying the polygamous social system’s limitless craving for more women, slaves, and soldiers.”

    Not a happy route to go.

    Tas Walker

  • Can anyone improve on this please?

    DECLARATION OF THE SANCTITY OF LIFE AND IRREPLACABILITY OF A FAMILY COMPOSED OF ONE HUSBAND AND ONE WIFE OR MOTHER AND FATHER, BOUND TOGETHER FOR LIFE

    We the undersigned, are resolved to declare that the traditional monogamous, heterosexual and enduring marriage is not one amongst many sexual relationships that come in all shapes and sizes, but is the only legitimate and appropriate structure for either marriage or the raising of children. (This is not to disregard the commendable efforts of husband and wives, mothers and fathers who find themselves, through no choice of their own, in the single state).

    We refuse to condone or encourage adultery, pornography, fornication or any sexual perversion, either in our families, or in the public domain. What people might do in private is their own affair but we refuse to be forced to think, feel and act in ways that violate our own consciences or accept as normal, behaviour that which we regard to be abnormal and grossly indecent.

    We declare that we will teach our children and grandchildren that the only appropriate context for sex is within a monogamous, heterosexual and enduring marriage- no other, nor will we stand by and allow others to teach our children that there are other kinds of sexual relationships, except as far as to point out that there are perversions.

    We the undersigned believe that human life from conception is sacred. We believe that abortion on demand as a means of contraception is therefore murder.

    We reject totally the so called “moral absolute” that there are no moral absolutes.

    We also declare that we will show solidarity with any individual who is isolated, threatened with arrest, public humiliation, unfair dismissal, fines, enforced indoctrination classes and possible prison sentences, simply for trying to uphold the moral values that have underpinned, no matter how imperfectly, European society, for the last two thousand years.

    David Skinner, UK

  • Andrew Bolt has a comment on this subject also.

    Ewan McDonald.

  • And if a Muslim women wanted to take on multiple husbands?? One might assume there could be some form of stoning involved??

    I certainly believe in tolerance but when it is used against us to undermine our social fabric I draw the line.

    Ben Green

  • This was in the Herald-Sun:

    Attorney-General Robert McClelland said the law would not change.

    “Everyone should be on notice that the law in Australia is that marriage is between a man and a woman to the exclusion of all others,” he said.

    I find it somewhat amusing that there are going to be lots of people who oppose polygamy and yet argue for same-sex ‘marriage’. Consistency?

    Mark Rabich

  • I wonder how long it will take secular Australia to “wake up” to the fact that modern western politically correct secular multiculturalism is no defense against the oncoming threat of Islam. The ONLY sure defense is Christ and his Gospel. Jesus said In Matthew 11:28-30

    “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.”

    How long will Australians take to realize that Bob Dylan was correct when he sang: “you’re gonna have to serve somebody, it may be the devil or it may be the Lord, but you’re gonna have to serve somebody.”

    The Lords’ yoke is so much more preferrable to the yoke of Islam, as joy is to sadness, or freedom is to oppression.

    Or maybe they will be like a yabbie in a pot of water that is slowly brought to the boil, by the time they realise that life in Aus is no longer “nice”……….its too la……..

    WAKE UP AUSTRALIA from your secular slumber and name Christ as your King.

    Robert Phillips

  • On some current affairs program last night a hapless reporter was trying to interview a muslim man who has two wives. He is also on a disability pension whilst running a retail shop and both of his wives are receiving single mothers welfare payments.

    I challenge any muslim arguing in favour of polygamy to prove that his perverted uncontrollable lust is not the only driving force for this demand.

    Let me put it this way. For the two wives to be getting single mothers welfare payments they would have had to make a statement to Centrelink that they had the children out of wedlock. Obviously they could not have stated to be married and neither could they have stated to be widows or they would have had to produce a marriage certificate and a death certificate of the husband. They had to claim to be single mothers.

    In sharia law, sex out of wedlock is punishable by stoning. Now when the good Mr Keysar Trad and Sheikh Khalil Chami publicly call for the law to be changed for these muslim women to be stoned then, and only then, will I believe that the driving force is anything other than their perverted uncontrollable lustful minds.

    Frank Norros

  • Dear Mr Muehlenberg, I have followed your website with much interest especially when it comes to debate on Islam. I am a Moslem on the path of Sufi. I can assure you that this interpretation of the Qu’ran is inaccurate and results in oppression pain and hardship to women and their children in the Islamic world. I must now write as I feel that this has created a mindset of fear around my religion as expressed in your site regularly.The so called moslems have misinterpreted and misused the qur’am for their own oppressive purposes for centuries and now the travellers on the Sufi path will fight these oppressions.
    Siti Khatijah.

  • Thanks Siti

    Of course different streams of Islam will have different understandings of both the Koran and Islamic faith and practice, Sufis especially. But most mainstream Muslims will not only argue for the Koranic sanction of polygamy (see esp. Sura 4:3), but also appeal to the hadith and the example of Muhammad to go on. Indeed, devout Muslims strongly emphasise the example of the Prophet, and in this case, his 13 or so different wives sets a good precedent.

    This is one of the big differences, by the way, between Christianity and Islam. We have not only the teachings of Jesus, but the example of his perfect life. Muhammad never of course confessed to being sinless, and his personal treatment of women would be a good case in point.

    So I think most fellow Muslims would disagree with you that this is just a case of faulty or inaccurate interpretation. They would claim to have tradition and the majority on their side on this matter. But thanks for sharing your thoughts. In this particular area, I would obviously prefer your version of events to the mainstream Islamic version.

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Siti,
    You allege that Bill’s – and others’ – interpretation of the Qur’an is mistaken.
    I have heard this reply so often I have it coming out of my ears. The reality is that for Muslims no non-Muslim can interpret, or even cite, the Qur’an. Any attempt to do so is by definition inaccurate.
    Hence when one tries to do so he is by definition either a knave or a fool: a knave who deliberately distorts the said book; or a fool in that he cannot properly understand it.
    So one cannot win! If I as a non-Muslim cite or attempt to interpret the Qur’an I am ruled out of court before I start. One can see this principle operating time and again: someone like Robert Spencer, or Daniel Pipes, or Patrick Sookhdeo, who are experts in Islamic studies, are dismissed by Muslims as hate-mongers, knaves, fools, shysters, and/or a host of other derogatory epithets.

    Please, please, come up with something original! Not that tired old line!

    Murray Adamthwaite

  • Thank you Bill and Murray. I knew that if I wrote a whole lot of issues would come of this. However I agree with you Bill that they justify from the Qur’an what they believe is correct interpretation. As for the Prophet’s conduct there are debates on how old these girls were when he married them and circumstances of marriage was of a different time. However I realise saying this that you can quote the qur’anic verses to show your arguments as can I. Mr Murray you have the freedom to read and interprete the qur’an as you deem fit. I am not going to stop or hang you for it. It is an open Book for everyone to interpret in accordance with their understanding and therein lies the difficulty (or firmness of purpose) with The Qur’an. I do believe “when in Rome….’ as that also has been taught in the qur’an. My legacy is now that I have not only to refute and dispprove the practices (ego motivated) of the majority Islamic world but also to show my fellow human beings (non moslems) that there is an underlying hidden meaning of the qur’an that has been long forgotten and a victim of false doctrines and false ancestral worship.
    Siti Khatijah

  • Robert Phillips you say you wonder how long it will take secular Australia to “wake up” to the fact that modern western politically correct secular multiculturalism is no defence against the oncoming threat of Islam. My belief is that all western European nations are indeed awake to the threat; one only has to read the daily blog sites in order to sense either the angst – or the apathy of those who just want to stick their heads in the sand.

    I may be wrong but I believe it is Darwinian thinking, that is just as deterministic as Islam, that is paralysing all thought. Islam and Darwinism have this in common: the inability of man to exercise the authority that God gave him in the garden and of Eden, which he lost, but which Jesus Christ then gave back to him with the words, “You can ask for anything in my name, and I will do it, so that the Son can bring glory to the Father. Yes, ask me for anything in my name, and I will do it!” Jn14:13-14.

    Like animals dazzled and caught in a spotlight our nations are blinded as to which way to turn. The description that Winston Churchill gave to Islam in 1899 can equally be applied to any western state ruled by the Commission for Human Rights and Equality:

    “How dreadful are the curses which Mohammedanism (evolutionary humanism) lays on its votaries! Besides the fanatical frenzy (militant and politically correct hatred) which is as dangerous in a man as hydrophobia in a dog, there is this fearful fatalistic apathy. The effects are apparent in many countries…”

    Michael Nazir, the Pakistani Bishop of Rochester, UK talks about a failure of nerve on the part of Christians to get out their message. This same nerve, or moral courage, enabled our ancestors to crawl out of barbarism 2000 years ago to achieve all that was good about western civilisation – from its scientific and artistic achievements to its social reforms and national institutions. We are merely squandering this inheritance.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/uknews/2042169/Bishop-Michael-Nazir-Ali-Radical-Islam-is-filling-void-left-by-collapse-of-Christianity-in-UK.html
    http://notworthyofthename.blogspot.com/

    Let us pray that we, rank and file Christians, do not also become paralysed and fatalistic but believe in a mighty God who has a plan and purpose and who has promised never to leave or forsake us. Thank you, Robert Phillips for this encouragement.

    David Skinner, UK

  • In the USA the Mormon Church (esp in Utah) until relatively recent times, practiced polygamy and were warned by the Federal Government to cease the practice as it was contrary to Federal law. In the end the the leaders of the church were threatened with the withdrawal of all Federal grant payments (which are considerable in the US). Eventally, the Utah committee of government agreed and outlawed the practice. (Although I believe there are still a few polygamous families in Utah). Perhaps our Federal Government should consider imposing the same sanctions if the (alleged) practice in the Muslim community here does not cease? Our situation is quite clear – polygamy is not legal according to the Australian Marriage Act and I believe bigamy is still a crime in this country. Our social conditions are very important and I agree with those who say – any newcomer to this country who does not wish to abide by our laws, particulatly those on marriage, should consider returning to a country where they can practice what they want. This issue is another example of a minority group attempting to change the rules for the majority and our government should view it with suspicion!
    Peter Rice

  • I just need to clarify for Murray that in the Sufi Islamic world we have accomplished people translating arranging and teaching the teachings of our sufi masters, such as Ibn Arabi to name a few and these accomplished people are non moslems such as James Morris, William Chittick and the great Professor Toshihiko Izutsu. Only the majority that are ego motivated will be angered by your input but we know that you have every right to comment on the world you live in as we do.
    Siti Khatijah

  • I support the main thesis that emanates from the authors listed above.

    However it appears to me that we hide behind blog sites and church doors that open a few hours on Sunday.

    Where was the church militant in New South Wales when the Anti Discrimination laws were changed yet again, to favour a few lesbians, so as to deny ‘their’ child his / her human right of knowing the father. Similar law changes are occurring across Australia and without a majority mandate.

    Stop debating among ourselves and go public, go in force and raise our voices, finances and faith and support the Australian Christian Lobby, the Fatherhood Foundation, Christian Democratic Party and other such struggling groups.

    Ray Robinson

  • Andrew Bolt now has a full column length article on the subject. He also makes the connection between same-sex marriage and polygamy.

    Ewan McDonald.

  • Dear Bill, great article once again. I used many of these points in an english oral and I got an A. What I don’t understand is that politicians can even think about legalising this.
    Duane Zieglar

  • Well done Duane.
    I am glad you did well.
    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • One of my daughters works in a retail store. She has told me about several Muslim women, all with pension cards, who go into the store at different times with the same man, who they all refer to as their ‘husband’.
    I don’t know how the government could tackle this problem, because these women must obviously have lied in order to be granted a pension.
    Jean McGregor

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