Clerics who oppose polygamy “have strayed from religion”

Cleric promotes polygamy in Kurdistan mosque

Mullah Omar Daratwye.
Mullah Omar Daratwye.

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – “Men who are against polygamy are physically incomplete and ill. They are incapable of it and cannot do it,” a Niqab-wearing woman said while alleging that clerics who oppose polygamy “have strayed from religion.” 

The fully-veiled woman who refused to mention her name is married to a polygamous man calling on organizations advocating for women rights not to speak on their behalf, alleging “they would marry polygamous men if they can.”

The woman, together with 30 other women, was gathering at a mosque. Some of them are married to men who already have three wives and some to monogamous men.

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Mullah Omar Daratwye had spoken about polygamy with them at the hall. The cleric had thanked God for being able to persuade some women to consent to their husband marrying another woman.

The cleric’s speech was aired by a local television channel. The mullah, men, and women at the hall previously have lashed out at women’s advocacy groups and clerics who oppose polygamy.

“We are implementing God’s decree and you implement Devil’s decrees,” Mullah Omar has said.

Mullah Omar is a cleric at Shifa mosque in the town of Daratu at the outskirts of Erbil. He spoke about the reason for the gathering.

“The program was not against any organization of cleric. I invited the women in order to defend ourselves. Women advocacy groups have often caused problems for polygamous couples by spotlighting the phenomenon. They shouldn’t interfere in the lives of women who are okay with their husband marrying another woman,” he argued.

According to the instructions of the Ministry of Religious Affairs and Endowments, mosques should not be used for community organizing, meetings, or politics.

“We haven’t received any instructions from the Ministry of Religious Affairs advising us not to hold meetings in mosques. After all, we gathered at the hall used to host events – a hall used for all occasions. We are committed to the decisions of the ministry of religious affairs,” Omar said.

Omar himself has three wives. He spoke about clerics who have preached against polygamy, saying they have strayed from religion and are hired by Israel

“People or clerics saying polygamy is against Sharia Law have strayed from religion. By doing so, they offend me and 25,000 other people in Erbil who have two, three or four wives,” he said.

Women’s advocacy groups say they will respond in time with reason.
“We will lodge a law suit against this mullah if he intended to defame. He is not in a position to speak about women’s advocacy groups and accuse them of doing nothing. We will answer him with evidence,” said Vian Sleman.

She is head of the Kurdistan Women’s Union.

“We have evidence documenting that the Women’s Union resolved nearly 2,257 social cases over the past eight years,” added Sleman.

She called on the Ministry of Religious Affairs to prevent clerics from using mosques to defame women advocacy groups.

The religious ministry says it will reply if a complaint is lodged.

“Broadcasting such a television program is a violation of the Ministry of Culture’s regulations. The Ministry of Culture should investigate this matter. We will ask for a Sharia committee to investigate the matter if a cleric or organization files a complaint against this mullah,” said Nabaz Ismael, the spokesperson for the religious ministry.

“The ministry of religious affairs prevents any activity or meeting to be held in mosques without prior approval of the ministry,” he added.

Omar has eight children with his three wives.

“I will get married to the fourth wife if God has set this as my fate,” said Omar.

An estimated 98 percent of the people in the Kurdistan Region are Sunni Muslim, although interpretations of the religion widely vary.
Reporting by Shkar Ahmed

 

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