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Muslim Polygamy in America

Betsy Newmark points to an article by Debbie Schlussel who writes that polygamy is practiced in the US by Muslims. And US law enforcement doesn't say anything.

This is shocking:

If you think men with four wives only happens in Utah, think again. If you think that, with Muslims, it only happens in some desert emirate over in the Middle East, also think again.


The fact is there are Muslim men with multiple wives living everywhere in America. But unlike the Mormons--most of whom don't practice polygamy anymore--Muslims with multiple wives aren't subject to ridicule, like HBO shows or Jay Leno jokes. And they aren't prosecuted, like Mormon Tom Green was.

There are Muslim polygamist men living not far from me in the Detroit area. They have one wife, to whom they were married in the eyes of the State, and several to whom they are married in the eyes of the mosque. While our government recognizes these marriages for Muslims, it enforces polygamy laws against everyone else. In Dearborn, Michigan--Islamic America' nucleus--statutory rape cases have been dismissed on the grounds that there was a marriage (of a 14-year-old girl! in one case) in the eyes of the mosque.

So, American law has become subjugated to Islamic law. And according to law enforcement, the free practice of Islam includes the statutory rape of little girls. I don't like where this is going.

The UK legal system is facing a push of Islamic law in the UK right now.


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Comments (30)

I wonder how the Mormons fe... (Below threshold)
Andy:

I wonder how the Mormons feel about sharing this ideal with others.

If these polygamists have a... (Below threshold)
virgo:

If these polygamists have all these wives, than are,nt they kind of like Captain Kirk , ie Space the final frontier.. these are the voyages of the starship jihad.. to boldly go where no jihadist has ever gone before. to Heaven

You *might* convince me to ... (Below threshold)

You *might* convince me to tolerate polygamy but not not not to underage girls. Not *ever*.

I know plenty of western-st... (Below threshold)
bryanD:

I know plenty of western-style casual polygamist by your definition. Mostly sustained on a rotating basis. And I'd venture the muslims keep their bastards under better control. (Not complaining about the pretty ones, though!(8oD))

I've been looking under my ... (Below threshold)
margaret king:

I've been looking under my bed but I haven't found any Muslims there so far. Luckily we got rid of those reds that were under our beds but now we've got to search for Muslims. Is paranoia and fear really so necessary for Western society to function? What is the role this plays? We always need a bogey man!

Like it or not, we have edg... (Below threshold)

Like it or not, we have edged up to legalized polygamy in these United States. Ask the mak who "maintains" two or more girlfriends at once. True, he's not "officially" married to them, but in the eyes of the law, he's as responsible for them and his progeny by them (cf. "palimony") as he would be if he were "officially" married to them.

No, I don't approve, for the record. But I would disapprove even more strongly of laws to ban the practice.

Margret King,You k... (Below threshold)
Cybrludite:

Margret King,

You know, that might have made more sense had the Soviets NOT been a threat and NOT active in attempts to destablize our government. I suppose for your next trick you'll claim that Hiss & the Rosenbergs were innocent, despite all the facts to the contrary that came out after the Soviet Union imploded. Must suck to be forever on the wrong side of history.

What I can't see is why peo... (Below threshold)
Anne Osman:

What I can't see is why people find plural marriage, which does involved commitment and legal responsibility, more shocking than casual fornication resulting in the births of innocent children who have no right to support or inheritance from the men who sired them.

Are we really surprised? I... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

Are we really surprised? If gay marriage is OK, then why not polygamy?

And who's to say what constitutes "underaged"? In the witches' brew of moral relativism that has been cooked up in our society over the past few decades, muslim standards of decency have equal value as our own traditional western standards of decency. Therefore, if sharia law allows marriage of girls as young as 14, then who are we to complain? In fact, such complaints are are a direct affront to the muslim religion and as such cannot be tolerated. Freedom of speech (a western concept not shared by other cultures) doesn't allow us to offend other people, you know.

What about cases where muslim fathers determine that their daughters have committed some dishonorable act? The father follows his obligations under sharia and beheads his daughter. Who are we to complain? After all, our society engages in capital punishment. Why, then, should we complain about muslim honor killing? In muslim culture, the father has just as much right to execute his daughter for certain crimes against sharia law as a judge does to order the execution of a criminal for certain crimes under our criminal law.

Oh, this opens up whole new vistas for satire and sarcasm!

Maybe NAMBLA can get in on this action. If gay marriage is OK, then polygamy is OK. If marriage to "underage" girls is OK, then sex with "underaged" boys is also OK. It's their culture, after all, and we have no right to judge whether that culture is any better or worse than our own.

It isn't the polygamy that ... (Below threshold)
Luncy:

It isn't the polygamy that is shocking. It is the laws of the land being casually subordinated to the laws of some religious folk within the land.

docjim505 is correct: This ... (Below threshold)
kevino:

docjim505 is correct: This has nothing to do with religious law over US Law. US Law cannot make polygamy illegal anymore.

Lawrence v. Texas overturned Bowers v. Hardwick, making social hygiene laws unconstitutional. As Justice Scalia says in his dissenting opinion in Lawrence:

State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity are likewise sustainable only in light of Bowers' validation of laws based on moral choices. Every single one of these laws is called into question by today's decision; the Court makes no effort to cabin the scope of its decision to exclude them from its holding.

Hmmmm... (as ed would say).... (Below threshold)

Hmmmm... (as ed would say).

First gay marriage, and now polygamy. Wasn't Rick Santorum recently pilloried up one side and down the other in the MSM for saying this in public?

And p.s. The Mormons "prope... (Below threshold)
Fred:

And p.s. The Mormons "proper", the Church of LDS, has not aspproved of the practice since 1895 or something.
Give them a break.

How about the "call to pray... (Below threshold)
lakestate:

How about the "call to prayer" in Hamtramic too, Kim. A traditionaly Polish Catholic community is now a Muslim enclave. US Muslims have their own set of rules and laws apart from non-Muslim Americans - but don't draw a cartoon of Mohamad, Nooooooo! They'll take your life for that.

Many of us couldn't care le... (Below threshold)
Jancis M. Andrews:

Many of us couldn't care less if one man shacks up with 10 women, or if one woman shacks up with 10 men. But if polygamy is legalized, it means the State is saying that the State approves of men treating women as sexual collectibles, making them into concubines and putting them in harems. Polygamy comes down to us from Third-World countries that regarded women as property. Is this what Americans want? What happened to equality between men and women? Modern-day polygamists, like their pre-Biblical ancestors, regard women as booty. As for the women in such situations -- most of them are born into polygamy, and know no other way of life.

Lastly, don't forget "Polygamy Maths." If rich heterosexual males collect 5, 6, 7 women, that means poorer heterosexual males have to go without a sexual partner and the chance to have a family of their own. And THAT could be a very dangerous social situation.

Thanks Margaret. ... (Below threshold)

Thanks Margaret.

Might I ask you... do you consider yourself a feminist?

Oh, and considering polygam... (Below threshold)

Oh, and considering polygamy math...

Polygamy itself wouldn't bother me so badly (or be so destructive in practice) if it involved adult people making adult choices. (And I ask you... how many women prefer to have a co-wife and share a husband? Not be primary in my own home? Oh, sure, I'd pick that... NOT.)

But polygamy seems frequently to involve marrying young girls to old men. Why? Because young men don't have the social standing to rate a marriage at all. They get married later and the only girls unmarried are *girls*.

And oh *sure* the young girls *like* getting married to the old men. This is totally a situation of equality. That 14 year old is totally equal to that 40 year old man... sure.

No. Our laws should not tolerate this. Not even in the interest of religious freedom because, as far as I know, polygamy is not *required* by any religion. Allowed, yes. Required, no.

An argument could be made for respecting marriages performed in other countries but there is no reason at all to sanction the polygamous marriage of underage girls in the US.

One of the problems that po... (Below threshold)

One of the problems that polygamous societies have is what to do with the males who get left out when all all the women get taken? Normally, they'd be able to find a wife. However, if polygamy is widespread, many if not most of the women would be taken by higher-status males, and this creates serious shortages of available wives which makes life tough for the second- and third-tier males.

Perhaps we shouldn't be surprised that most terrorists are young males from polygamous societies.

It also helps to explain wh... (Below threshold)

It also helps to explain why the marriage of *very young* girls also seems so typical, OregonMuse. If you don't snap a new wife up when she's 14, you'll miss out.

synova wrote (March 21, 200... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

synova wrote (March 21, 2006 12:40 PM):

No. Our laws should not tolerate this. Not even in the interest of religious freedom because, as far as I know, polygamy is not *required* by any religion. Allowed, yes. Required, no.

Not that I disagree with you, but I'd like to point out that this can be a VERY slippery slope. Who's to say what is "required" in any religion? The government? Isn't this exactly what the free establishment clause of the First Amendment was written to prevent?

I don't know what the structure of the islamic "church" is like, or whether they have some governing body like the Missouri Synod, the Vatican, or the Southern Baptist Convention, but what will we say if a recognized muslim authority declares that polygamy IS required of true believers?

It interests me to see the reactions here to the concept of polygamy. I would also be interested in seeing the results of a survey taken along the following lines:

1. Do you believe that marriage between two people of the same gender should be legalized?

2. Do you believe that marriage between more than two people should be legalized?

3. Do you believe that a minor child should be allowed to have an abortion without the knowledge or consent of her parents / guardians?

4. Do you believe that a minor child should be allowed to marry with knowledge or consent of her parents / guardians?

5. Do you believe that "hate speech" (i.e. speech insulting to others on the basis of their race, sex, gender identity, national origin, etc) should be banned in the United States?

6. Do you believe that newspaper editors who publish cartoon depictions of the muslim prophet Mohammed should be punished?

Think about it...

In the case of homeschooler... (Below threshold)

In the case of homeschoolers in the 1980's who claimed religious conviction to homeschool (and won), it did not require a denomonation to hold the veiw that homeschooling was required but that the individuals believed (with scriptural evidence, though obviously not all people interpret those passages the same way), that the individuals had a religious conviction, that the Bible *required* them to homeschool. The legitimate interest of the State isn't entirely superceded by that, but the State has to show that their interest is being met in the least oppressive way.

So, two points. The State doesn't *have* to give a blank check to religions, but has to at least attempt to accomodate them. And it's the individual religious conviction that matters and if they can support that in court. (Flying bunnies from outer space told me so, would probably not work.)

Your poll...

1. I believe that the State shouldn't be in the "marriage" business, but should legitimize cooperative domestic partnerships and that those partnerships should not assume a sexual relationship.

2. At some point it would count as a "commune." Marriage is primarily an economic and legal inter-dependance. I don't see a problem with a "commune" other than that they don't have a reputation for working long term.

3. No.

4. Not under age 17, which is technically a "minor." I think I would happily agree that a "second wife" has to be at least 21.

5. No.

6. No.

I don't know what you think these things have in common.

Synova,Thanks for ... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

Synova,

Thanks for your answers.

1. I have great health insurance and bennies at my job. So, could I enter into a "partnership" with a friend of mine (or a commune with more than one) to get them enrolled along with me? Could a two or more soldiers enter into a similar partnership to get better housing and higher allowances?

2. Don't hedge. People in polygamous marriages don't refer to them as "communes", so why should anybody else? Further, "commune" and "marriage" have VERY different historical, legal, moral and religious frameworks.

4. So, you have no problem foisting your religious / moral principles on other people? Not that I disagree...

I don't know what you think these things have in common.

Oh, come now! Your answers to the questions (except #2) have been very rational and fair, but I strongly believe that there are many people who would not be so fair. For example, what do you suppose would happen if somebody published a cartoon in an American newspaper that was derogatory to Martin Luther King? Can you say "you're fired"? Colleges routinely set up rules forbidding "hate speech". Rush Limbaugh lost his position as an ESPN commentator because he dared to suggest that sportswriters were going easy on (as I recall) Terell Owens because he's black. Etc, etc, etc.

There are also plenty of people who think that a minor child should be allowed to get an abortion without knowledge / consent of her parents, but I suspect that they would be outraged if the same minor child entered into polygamous marriage.

I am trying to raise two points. The first is explicitly political and has to do with what I perceive to be liberal double standards (gay marriage good / polygamy baaaad; abortion good / polygamy baaaad).

The second is to underscore just what a crisis this conflict is between traditional western values and muslim values. We've been taught to respect an accomodate other cultures' values, but what do we do when those values run directly counter to our own?

One point.The mino... (Below threshold)

One point.

The minor child entering a polygamous marriage is almost always from a polygamous sub-culture. She isn't doing this contrary to her parents wishes, she's being given in an arranged marriage approved by her parents.

Would *you* chose freely to be a sub-wife? Always and forever to be subordinate, not just to your husband but to senior wives?

Nothing about the situation is about equality in a relationship.

Now, I know polyamorists, and while I think that two is hard and three is nearly impossibly complicated, they are adults who believe that it's possible to form stable multiple-person unions. It *is* about equality in the relationship, even if people differ as leaders or followers. There may be more than one husband or more than one wife. How does a child bride fit into that? It really doesn't.

Would *you* chose freely... (Below threshold)
docjim505:

Would *you* chose freely to be a sub-wife? Always and forever to be subordinate, not just to your husband but to senior wives?

Of course not... but that isn't the culture I come from, either. I also don't come from a culture that allows me to divorce my (hypothetical) wife by simply saying "I divorce you!" three times, or stoning a woman because she goes out in public without a burqa.

In the not-so-distant past, American women were taught that their goal in life was to get married, have children, and live happily ever after. Even if such a life didn't appeal to them, there were few other choices available, and women who selected those other choices were regarded as somewhat unnatural.

In the present day, there are many other options available to American women, and a woman who chooses the life of a homemaker - the same life that was absolutely normal for her grandmother - is regarded as something of an oddity. The American girl who was taught to value "a good catch" for a husband in 1906 is now taught to value a degree from a good college so she can get a good job and earn her own way.

My point is this: a girl from a polygamous culture probably regards her fate as the fourth wife of a man twenty years her senior as perfectly normal and even desirable; it's what she's supposed to do. Our modern, western concept of "equality" doesn't enter her calculus.

"Our modern, western concep... (Below threshold)

"Our modern, western concept of "equality" doesn't enter her calculus."

If she lives here, it should.

Jancis: "Polygamy comes dow... (Below threshold)
pram:

Jancis: "Polygamy comes down to us from Third-World countries that regarded women as property". Which Third World ideologue influenced early Mormons who practised polygamy? Or do you consider early Mormons Third World precisely because they practise polygamy?

Kim: The date on the BBC link in your post dates back to "18 June, 2000". How does that translate to push to enforce Muslim law now?

Old TestamentIn Ex... (Below threshold)
John Michael:

Old Testament

In Exodus 21:10, a man can marry an infinite amount of women without any limits to how many he can marry.

In 2 Samuel 5:13; 1 Chronicles 3:1-9, 14:3, King David had six wives and numerous concubines.

In 1 Kings 11:3, King Solomon had 700 wives and 300 concubines.

Jesus said in New Testament: "Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law (the Old Testament) or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. I tell you the truth, until heaven and earth disappear, not the smallest letter, not the least stroke or a pen, will by any means disappear from the Law (the Old Testament) until everything is accomplished. (Matthew 5:17-18)"


In Matthew 19: 1-12 -- Jesus is approached by men asking him about divorce. He quotes the Old Testament in answer to this man in regards to if it is allowed to divorce; but never once says that having several wives --- which was lawful in Old Testament --- was unlawful now. One of the arguements

Now read Matthew 22: 23 - 32 --- in it; the Jews come to Jesus, asking him what to do when a man dies before he can give her a child. Jesus directly quotes Deuteronomy 25:5 from Moses -- saying that the woman must marry her dead husband's brother --- and if the same were to happen to the next oldest brother -- then she should marry the next. In those times, in that Abrahamic culture; if this happened --- even if the brother was married; it was considered better if she still married him.

Don't make this a Muslim issue. This is a cultural issue. Leave religion out of it. Don't you think we've kicked it around enough?


Oh; and also for DocJim up ... (Below threshold)
John Michael:

Oh; and also for DocJim up there:

From Qu'ran:
On Equality between each other:

"I shall not lose sight of the labor of any of you who labors in My way, be it man or woman; each of you is equal to the other (3:195)"

On equality in the eyes of God:

"Verily for all men and women who have surrendered themselves unto God, and all believing men and believing women, and all truly devout men and truly devout women, and all men and women who are true to their word, and all men and women who are patient in adversity, and all men and women who humble themselves before God, and all men and women who give in charity, and all self-denying men and self-denying women, and all men and women who are mindful of their chastity, and all men and women who remmber God unceasingly: for all of them has God readied forgiveness of sins and a mighty reward." (33:35)

The oppression of women has been going on in more cultures than only that of the Abrahamic people. Women in America were only allowed to vote; but 80 years ago. These are household issues. The male's need to feel superior -- this happens in smaller scales in some homes here in America.

Again; I only post to direct your attention away from the religions; and more towards the cultures.

Not just one culture; but all cultures.

Hi guys,many men e... (Below threshold)
Mojo:

Hi guys,

many men entertain several relations with more than one woman. think of all the super stars, business men, politicians. They have a wife and kids, and mistress, if not more.

Well, a muslim man goes straight to hell if he cheats on his wife. If he likes another woman, he can't just buy her champain, pay the hotel bill and have sex with her. He must publicly declare the relationship (the first wife needs to accept), be in charge of the woman financially (pays rent, forever), in charge of the kids.

Most importantly, the husband must be super fair to all women, if he buys one a flower, he must buy the same one to his other wives (think of TV, car, furniture). Failing to be fair, the muslim is sinning.

Also, part of being fair, is satisfying the wives emotionnaly and physically (think sex). Few men have a heart and Mojo big enough for more than one woman.

Another perspective, is that some woman feel tired of seeing their husband every day and taking care of him. This type of woman, know what they want from a man (love, home, kids, and support). And as long as they get their rights, they are ok if the man opens another home.

It amazes me how many peopl... (Below threshold)
D.niro:

It amazes me how many people blog on different sites and make wild acusations about islamic law. There were only two blogs on this whole site, where when they talked about religion they went to the scriptures and that is fair.
Those on here who start arguments are extremely ignorant because they have no knowledge of what they say. I can only imagine how humiliated they would be if they said the same things in public to someone of knowledge.
Freedom of opinion and speech is good.
But we should only wonder why people around the world think americans are so dumb.
Please get your facts right before you make an opinion.
Not only do you embarass your self but you also embarass every respectable american.
You people on here are so stupid that criticize polygany.
Why, when a woman has rights and the law on her side is it a crime?
You know what a crime is?
Women that have bastard children and can't get any support for them.
Children all across america that don't have fathers.
That women greatly outnumber men, in america and all over the world.
And that there is not a husband available for each woman that is born.
So what should they do choose lesbianism?
Or become a mistress and have no rights?
This whole society is totally sick and hypocritical.
The only thing that will save us is religous law and moral values.
Do you think that we would have so many people in jail?
Bad kids that grew up without fathers?
If adultery wasn't a crime under law?
If women were guaranteed support?
If man who is naturally inclined to be with more than one woman in his lifetime, were allowed to marry more than one?
Then women would have rights.
And not be prostitutes and sex objects.
With no rights.
Raising bastard children.
What a joke you are you people are who are against polygany.
Yet you support gay marraiage, you support free sex and the consequences of bastard children.
You support the violation of a womans rights to be taken care of.
You support teenage abortion with out parental consent.
Doesn't anyone in this society respect women?
Women are the life of us all.
Noone would be alive without a mother!
Doesn't anyone respect mothers?
The prophet Muhammad said;
Pardaise lies at the feet of mothers.
And when asked about who has the most rights.
He said your mother.
And agin after that?
He replied,
Your mother.
And again?
He replied your mother.
And again?
Then your father.
But noone in this society respects mothers or women anymore.
And they don't respect their selves either.
What ashame on all of us.
Peace.




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