CultureWatch

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

Islam and Polygamy

Oct 5, 2009

I have been utterly amazed to discover that a major newspaper recently carried an opinion piece by a Muslim spokesman advocating polygamy in Australia. If a Christian were to write an article suggesting something equally bizarre, it would never see the light of day. Or if it would, the only reason would be for it to be roundly condemned by one and all. But the Melbourne Age evidently thought it was quite alright to actually run with this nonsense, presumably because a Muslim was pushing it.

To be sure, there are all sorts of nutter groups out there promoting polygamy and polyamory at the moment. Simply type the latter term into a search engine, and see the multitude of sites promoting it. There are plenty of groups out there – some seeking to pass themselves off as ‘respectable’ – calling for the full legalisation and normalisation of polyamory.

Of interest, the very same arguments being used for polyamory (group love and marriage) are the ones being used for same-sex marriage: ‘Hey, what’s wrong with it if it is consensual, confined to adults, and doesn’t hurt anyone?’

In an age of moonbattery, people making such arguments actually think they are on to something. But why stop there? Bestiality, incest and all sorts of other forms of sexuality can be argued for in a similar fashion. And with so many people arguing for the lowering of age of consent laws, we might as well include paedophilia in there as well.

Indeed, if a dad and daughter are “in love” and agreeable about their relationship, who is to say that the state should object to such an arrangement? Such is the moral and mental freefall we find ourselves in that these positions are actually being pushed, apparently with a straight face.

But back to Islam and the Age article. Of course, the real issue here is polygyny, because Muslim men are allowed to take up to four wives, while Muslim women can only have one husband. It’s a man’s world, when it comes to Islam.

And to seek to foist this upon a Western democracy is ludicrous. I and others have long warned that Western democracies are being undermined within by Muslim minorities seeking to push for sharia law.

Indeed, they are seeking for a two-tiered legal system: one for Muslims, and one for everyone else. Suffice it to say, this of course is a recipe for disaster. If Muslims are allowed all sorts of privileges to promote their own unique laws, then why not other groups? Indeed, why not in the end allow every person to simply decide which laws they will adhere to or not?

Either the rule of law applies to everyone impartially and without distinction, or it applies to no one. No society will last long at all if its legal cohesion is torn asunder, and differing legal systems are allowed to compete in the same land.

And the arguments put forward by Keysar Trad are weak, illogical and mischievous. For example, he makes this incredible remark: “Monogamy is great, but it is clearly not for everybody.” He might as well say, ‘Sexual self-control is great, but not for everybody’. ‘Acting like a human being, not an animal, is great, but not for everybody.’ ‘Alcohol in moderation is great, but not for everybody.’

He not only seems to think that men are really beasts who must have more than one woman to satisfy their lusts, but he (and Islam) is being blatantly sexist about it as well. Women cannot have multiple partners, but men can get their sexual cheap thrills by having up to four women.

He also claims that legally enforced monogamy was only a late development, implying that prior to Justinian things were a swinger’s paradise, and that Christians were quite happy with polygamy. That of course is far off the mark, with monogamous marriage the norm for the New Testament writers and early church fathers. State pronouncements on anything having to do with Christian morality of course were late in coming, since for the first four centuries Christians were a persecuted minority.

He closes with these very odd words: “A man can have multiple girlfriends. Why not formalise that into a commitment for life? Why should ‘bigamy’ be a crime?” Again, let’s just extend the logic of his thinking here a bit:

-A woman can have multiple boyfriends. Why not formalise that into a commitment for life?
-A woman can have multiple girlfriends. Why not formalise that into a commitment for life?
-A man can have multiple boyfriends. Why not formalise that into a commitment for life?
And so on.

Trad also whitewashes the whole issue, implying that things are all sweetness and light for the multiple wives. Sorry, but the reality is far different. As I have written elsewhere, such arrangements are usually quite deplorable for the women involved, while men end up in a sexual free-for-all.

Former Muslim Nonie Darwish wrote an important book about the treatment of women in Islam called Cruel and Usual Punishment. In my review of that book I wrote these words:

“Muslim women are prohibited under sharia from marrying non-Muslim men. But Muslim men can marry Christian or Jewish women. And the sharia marriage contract ‘is essentially a document granting sexual intercourse rights to the male and giving him total control over his four wives’.

“There are even temporary marriages purely for the purposes of sexual pleasure for the male, called mutaa, or pleasure marriage. This ‘marriage’ can last as little as an hour. Then there is misyar, or traveller’s marriage, which is ‘designed to accommodate the male sexual appetite while travelling’.

“Divorce is of course also all one way traffic in Islam. Men can divorce their wives instantly, simply by saying ‘I divorce you’ three times. A Muslim woman cannot initiate a divorce. In custody cases, children after the age of seven (or sometimes nine) belong to the father.

“And a male can beat his wife and sexually abandon her. Under sharia a husband deserves total submission and gratitude. As one revered Muslim scholar, Imam Ghazali has said, ‘Marriage is a form of slavery. The woman is man’s slave, and her duty therefore is absolute obedience’.”

We do not need this sort of cruel oppression of women to become legalised in this country. We have been seeking to liberate women in the West, not return them to chains. I conclude with some words I also used in a previous article:

“Most Muslim women despise such [polygamous] 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.”

www.theage.com.au/opinion/society-and-culture/why-should-polygamy-be-a-crime-20091002-gfdg.html

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20 Responses to Islam and Polygamy

  • This has huge ramifications for our whole culture–not just the welfare of women. You end up with two classes among the males–the strong and rich males have lots of women and the left behinds don’t. Women are treated as chattels to be owned and not as people. Those men who can’t get a wife turn to violence, mercenary activity, etc.

    Polygamy is the driving force behind the abduction of Christian girls in Muslim countries. There are not enough women to go around because the birth rate is 50-50. And polygamy is the driving force behind young girls being forced into marriages with old men. When polygamy is institutionalized it means the end of liberal democracy.

    Tasman Walker

  • Thanks Bill for drawing attention to this pathetic publicity stunt. The Age must be getting desperate for some interaction on their feedback/comments area or something. What a joke.

    Where are the journalists who stand for sanity?

    Mark Burnard

  • Thanks for exposing the plight of women in Islamic societies.
    Stan Fishley

  • Today all behavior is judged not according to objective morality, or even as to whether it is caring, tolerant, inclusive and committed. Consensuality and the human right to make one’s will an absolute are now the only yard sticks for the way we behave. Surely this nothing more than Nietzsche’s superman?

    David Sknner, UK

  • “‘Hey, what’s wrong with it if it is consensual, confined to adults, and doesn’t hurt anyone?”

    How do these advocates know that these polyamory “marriages” don’t hurt anyone? How do they define psychological harm? Envy and jealousy are common failings. Jealousy in particular can lead to harm. Research literature on marriage and divorce shows that there are millions of people in the West who can’t competently handle the normal heterosexual marriage and they are even worse at making de facto (pseudo) marriages last. Just how would making marriage more complicated improve things?

    Recently I came across a news item that claimed twenty percent of women in Britain committed adultery. If that is true, and I don’t know if it is, then the mind boggles at would happen if polyamory became permissible in such a culture that routinely mocks virtue. Commitment as a revolving door.

    Years ago “The Humanist in Canada” published an article by a Humanist school teacher pushing the polyamory idea (Secular Humanists like to appear to be at the cutting edge of moral progress). He had been in contact with a strange bisexual trio (with kids) who seemed to have persuaded him that the arrangement could “work”. His argument was entirely shonky. We can expect more shonky argument if advocacy of polyamory becomes fashionable. So let’s shoot it down.

    John Snowden

  • Nice company you keep Gordon Brown.

    According to the Christian Institute, the Prime Minister’s wife, Sarah Brown, reportedly hosted a private lunch at 10 Downing Street in honour of a prominent American ‘gay rights’ activist, David Mixner, who has been described as the most powerful gay man in America and who is a vocal opponent of an ongoing campaign in California to protect the legal definition of marriage: http://www.pinknews.co.uk/news/articles/2005-9357.html

    Some time back the then slimmer David Mixner was asked if he thought whether gay sexuality was all about sexual passion or whether there was room for lasting relationships. Mixner answered, “ Well first of all I don’t see anything wrong with passionate relationships, or short term relationships if it is enriching, and nourishing and exciting for the individuals involved, and healthy for both parties. I try not to put parameters around anyone else’s relationship if they are happy. But I think one the things that we have explored and maybe one the gifts we bring society is that because we have not allowed to be officially sanctioned our relationships, in a number of ways, then we have had to explore alternatives. And I think that in many ways that we are seeing that many in the heterosexual community are copying some of those alternative ways that people can be together, love each other in a healthy wonderful positive sense and the same time meet the needs of a very complex society in which we live in.”

    Folks really need to listen to what this man is saying which is that heterosexuals have a lot to learn from homosexuals whom he regards are at the very cutting edge, avant garde, of exploring all manner of sexual life-styles that are unhindered by constraints or self-control. Naturally Mixner’s philosophy has huge implications with regard to the stability, cohesion, construction and therefore the very survival of marriage and the family.

    Islam and homosexuality are running on parallel tracks. Both are committed, tolerant and consensual to destroying the Christian faith.

    David Skinner, UK

  • The reality is far from ideal. This is not a “privelege” that women want. Families are torn apart & broken. I would not be surprised now that there are young ones falling in love not knowing that their father is the same! Women suffer tremendously with this interpretation. Children suffer between the guilt of being told its ok because the religion tells them its ok but in their instinct they hate it & the women hate it. I know I recently spoke to someone whose father did this to her mother, no one had a happy face. Instinct wise they knew it was worng, it was written all over their faces, the unhappiness. Not having dad around alot. No we don’t want a dual system legal marriage divorce etc etc, in the west – it destroys everything and everyone.
    Siti Khatijah

  • Then those with polygamous marriages in Australia for example cheat the system to get their 3 other wives to get welfare assistance which is wrong under the law here so they break the law and cause further outrage towards their own community. They then want to bring in this bad practice instead of raising their families standard of living in the new home they have come to. More embarrasment for the community. Then because they are practising this wrongdoing they don’t assimilate into the society and be part of it, which results in a victim menatlity and ghettos being formed and the list goes on. Every time I read about an Islamic state/country it is always something that is being destroyed by their practices/intepretation.
    The West have formulated a decent standard of living for all through learning of errors and painstakinlg trying to get it right for all humanity, why should we want that changed to something that will destroy so that they can control & oppress?
    Siti Khatijah

  • With regard to David Skinner’s post, Mixner’s language is a classic Orwellian mix of high-sounding waffle and double talk. For “short term relationships” you can substitute “sexual promiscuity” which is not likely to be healthy for any party in the long run. For “we have had to explore alternatives” you can substitute the inclination of some homosexuals to explore other perversions, a fact which emerges in the scientific literature and the historical fact of links between homosexual advocacy and paedophile (man-boy “love”) advocacy. He talks of the needs of a complex society. The need of stable society is to have stable heterosexual families as the norm. Society has no need of homosexuality per se. It is biologically pointless and if anyone believes it confers benefits on society and personality then let them argue the case. I sense that there would be a stronger case for neurosis, after all, many creative people such as poets and artists have been neurotics.
    John Snowden

  • Greetings Bill. A Javanese woman brought her sick child to our home. I gave penicilin for her chest infection: and prayed for the Lord Jesus to heal the dear child.
    Then she blurted to my wife, ‘You madam have a husband who loves you and your children. I am only the fourth wife of a Muslim, who cares only for my body, and little for this dear child.’
    Only a loving Creator God could devise a ‘oneflesh’ union for man and woman – till death do us part. He’s my God.
    Your writing stirs depths in many.
    Harrold Steward

  • Tasman Walker has a good point worth adding to. In India and China there is a trend to abort female babies. If the trend continues long enough then these societies will end up with a surplus of males. How would such societies cope with a situation where men are entitled to have several wives? Never underestimate the power of envy in human affairs. The men most likely to support many wives would be the rich ones. That would be a very visible fact likely to aggravate class differences.

    I will also mention the view of a sociologist (Goldberg, I think) that in societies where men are in a majority the status of women tends to lower. Don’t know why, but if that is true then it would aggravate the status that comes from using them as chattels in polygamy.

    John Snowden

  • I come from a country where this is rpacticed “accorrding to the Qur’an”. They cheat on their wives, they go to thailand to be married secretly, so if there is deception in marriage what is left? – nothing. so they may as well just sleep around because they show no respect for women, only lust in their minds and no conduct of wanting to care for their wife/children. these egoistic moslem men have no idea what it is to be a decent human person. whatever hurt & pain has to be borne solely by the mother and all the broken pieces are picked up by her. if there is ever a revolt in the Islamic world it will be by the women. not to mention they care nothing for the families after their deed and many wives live in an outward numbness of pain. I have seen it. This man who wrote in the Age is typical of a moslem man who speaks without ever putting himself in another shoe they have no empathy and will only do what they want to regardless of whom they hurt and the consequences on their children. tasman walker is spot on, back home the minute they are rich this is what they do. they have no idea about humanity and respect and love. they should and must learn from the Christians who are in the majority full of responsibility in life and that is why the West is successful in the management of countries.
    Siti Khatijah

  • Just a quick comment that support what you have written. Some years ago, I visited a Muslim family who stayed in a wealthy neighbourhood in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. A couple of streets in that suburb is occupied by predominantly wealthy Muslims in bungalows. I remember a comment that the wife of this close Muslim friend of mine made at that time. She remarked that there are many frustrated wives in this neighbourhood refering to their wealthy Muslim husbands having other wives and girlfriends. The Islamic teachings can be very deceptive and they must continually be exposed. You have done well, Bill.
    Richard Chieng

  • I don’t think Polygamy is really part of the Australian culture in fact I suspect that the real reason why the radical Islamists are violent is that they are venting their frustration from the effects of their polygamy environment. As for me one is enough!
    Paul Hotchkin

  • In Canada the liberal government adopted legislation for same-sex-marriage a few years ago. During the debate I heard a good argument against such redefining of the marriage institution: If we define marriage on the basis of the sexual preference, we open the door to all sexual preferences and won’t have any reason to reject any without falling on the arbitrary.

    Just lately, the lobby for same-sex-marriage had to explain why we should refuse polygamy… Needless to say that there answer was very inconsistent and necessarily arbitrary. But it’s just a matter of time before we will be forced to recognise any sexual preference as a valid basis for a marriage (as long as it is voluntary)…

    Pascal Denault, Montreal

  • Keysar Trad had another platform for his ideas on ‘polygamy’ and Islam last weekend – he was one of the speakers at the
    Sydney Festival of Dangerous Ideas
    – with other speakers including Christopher Hitchens and Germaine Greer!
    Trad’s topic was ‘Polygamy and Other Islamic Values Are Good For Australia’….
    He has more than just polygamy in mind for Australia – more shari’a law!

    I’m not sure why Keysar Trad is still being given media space – a judge in NSW recently found that Keysar Trad was “racist”.
    Trad sued a radio station for ‘defamation’ but the judge said that Trad’s remarks were “offensive to Jewish persons and homosexuals” and that “many of his remarks are distasteful and appear to condone violence”.
    See report at the Daily Telegraph.

    Jenny Stokes

  • Bill,

    Could you simply define all the terms in this issue eg polygamy, bigamy, polyandry etc. I am not quite up with this terminology.

    Jane Petridge

  • Thanks Jane

    Sure, they are:

    Polygamy = having more than one spouse (at the same time)
    Polyandry = having more than one husband (at the same time)
    Polygyny = having more than one wife (at the same time)
    Bigamy = having two spouses (at the same time)
    Polyamory = having sexual relations with more than one person (at the same time) – group love, group sex, group marriage

    Bill Muehlenberg, CultureWatch

  • Thanks Bill

    While reading up on this issue, including the article from the Age all these words seem to blend into one (they are all very similar) however there is certainly distinction between them.

    As for me, one husband (or wife) is the ideal. I get sick of hearing the rant and rave about people being unfaithful in monogomous relationships. I know plenty of solid, strong and happy and fruitful marriage -most if not all Christian. Says something for having God at the centre of your marriage. It is beautiful, peaceful and lifegiving. It is the truth of human love. So many people are searching, and their eyes are blinded. Jesus said something about eyes being blinded to the truth (Can’t remember the Bible reference). But how true He is!!

    Jane Petridge

  • Bill,
    While Islam allows a man to have 4 wives, there many sensible muslims that prefer to remain faithful to their one and only wife. I know many of them and respect them for that.
    People from other cultures who desire to emigrate from their country to western societies should seriously evaluate the extent of cultural conflicts and inconveniences they would encounter before making the big move. If after migrating to the new country, they are unhappy and find difficulty in adjusting to the new environment and culture, they should consider returning to the familiarity of their country of origin. It’s a better arrangement for everyone. My advice is don’t burn your bridges until you are sure that your new adopted country is where you want to live in and raise your family. Otherwise, unhappy people stuck in a new and different cultural environment will not benefit anybody.
    Barry Koh

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