Australian Islamist Monitor

Islam Under Scrutiny

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Is Australia ready for Polygamy?

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Amin Hady

 Why not? After all, we’ve accepted other aspects of sharia with barely a murmur. So why not go the whole hog?
(with all due respect to Muslim sensibilities about pigs.)

In neighbourhood Indonesia, women’s groups have called on the Government to abolish polygamy, legal under Indonesia's marital laws if a local court grants permission and the wife gives her consent.

Imam Amin Hady, religious adviser for the Australian Federation of Islamic Councils (AFIC), believes the marriage laws which permit polygamy cannot be abolished as they form part of the Koran, but says the courts ensure men do not abuse their rights, with permission is only granted if the man's first wife cannot fulfil her obligations, is disabled, ill, or cannot have children. (Inevitably though, many men provide false information to gain permission.)

Still it’s reassuring to know a man is only allowed a new model if the old one doesn’t work in some way, or maybe because the excitement has worn off – a bit like trading in your car for a brand new model with all the trimmings!

Professor Greg Barton from Monash University, claims to understand Indonesian women’s concern "I think mostGreg Barton people who look at these things would say it's scarcely ever a good thing, it's generally a bad thing and it's best if it's discouraged,"  he said.

Well, you can’t get more equivocal than that, can you? You can tell he’s a member of the cultural elite!

How about saying it’s NEVER a good thing, ALWAYS a bad thing and should be BANNED?

But maybe that would damage his PC credentials and “disrespect” Islam, strictly taboo in these culturally relativist times. (reference)

Talking of the cultural elite, let’s hear it from Sebastian De Brennan, who teaches at the University of Western Sydney and the University of Notre Dame Australia.

He observes that the average Australian equates sharia with sordid images - stoning, genital mutilation and subservient women. Well, he’s not wrong there! But it soon becomes obvious that we Aussies think this way because we don’t have the benefit of his superior intellect.
 Dead Brainian“Certainly, before I had the opportunity to study Islamic law as a structured academic discipline, I had some serious misgivings as to whether Sharia law could ever be reconciled with international human rights law, let alone western democracy as we know it today. I was also guilty of dismissing it as a rigid, ahistorical body of medieval rules of law, detached from underlying theories of discretion, historicism and legal change.”

Funny, I had these serious misgivings AFTER I studied Islamic law!
“Contrary to this assessment, Sharia is an incredibly diverse and fascinating legal system… encompassing a vast array of legal and theoretical literature, which when read collectively, suggest that the legal system at its fullest was not merely a body of rigid rules applied indiscriminately. Rather the operation of Sharia involved considerable juristic nuance and discretion that accounted for the need to balance individual expectations with commitments to the social good amid a constantly changing and developing society."

He cites polygamy as an example:
“Many Muslim countries permit polygamy, albeit with restrictions. However, Tunisia expressly bans polygamy by relying on a Koranic verse stipulating that men can never be just to multiple women - justice being a requirement for polygamous marriages. Here the substantive rights of marriage differ depending on which Islamic argument one makes”.

He feels it is only a matter of time before Sharia law becomes a legitimate means of resolving disputes between Islamic Australians.
“The presence of Koori courts …and the fact that much of the law in this land is predicated on the Judeo-Christian legal tradition remind us that there is nothing novel about the interplay and tension between religion, culture and law.”

He ends with the plea:Ibrahim Ali
“..after a 1,450-year long encounter between Islam and what is now known as the West, surely it's time that we tried to understand one another.” (source)
Sebastian, some of us understand Islam too well to want to go down the sharia path, with its cruelty, misogyny and hatred of non-Muslims. Maybe you do some serious reading so you understand the implications of Islam’s “commitment to the social good”.

In Malaysia, Muslim MP Ibrahim Ali recently discussed marital problems.
"Such problems happen because women cannot accept polygamy. From a preventive point of view, what about doing a big campaign so that women can accept polygamy?"  Ali said women who were pregnant or who have "problems" when they hit their 50s did not understand men still want to "have fun".

This in response to Opposition MP Fuziah Salleh, who complained that women were forced to take the blame for most marital problems.
 "If it is a family problem, they must be patient. If they are beaten up, they must also be patient," she said. (source)
Keysar Trad, ex-spokesman of cats-meat Mufti, and wife Hanifeh, a woman of 38 with nine children, know first hand about polygamy.
 
Keysar with his brood
Keysar Trad with some of his brood 

“In 1998 Trad fell in love with another woman. In desperation, Hanifeh proposed marriage on her husband's behalf to the other woman. As long as the arrangement was fair and had the consent of all involved, it would be acceptable. Aware that Australian law prohibits polygamy, they know a second wife could never be official. But their religion allows a man four wives and though a lot of what they say to each other about polygamy amounts to teasing, there is also a serious thread. It was Hanifeh who first raised it, approvingly, before they married.
Trad is the eldest son of his father's third wife, and arrived in Australia at 13 as part of a family reunion complicated by polygamy. His half-brother got permission to bring his mother and siblings from Lebanon. Because his mother was married, she was able to bring her husband. At the time her husband was married to two other women. One of them (Trad's mother) came along, too, with her children. The older wife divorced her husband in Australia and the patriarch lived with Trad's mother.”  (source)
Well, Trad’s family arrangements “complicated by polygamy” are certainly more interesting than our boring Mum, Dad and 2.3 kids! But are they good for our free and egalitarian society?

Ask yourselves: which values do you uphold?
If you support equal rights for all Australians, then you must SAY NO TO SHARIA!

Last Updated on Wednesday, 13 August 2008 03:22  

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