*Â The Australian tries dumbing down the ‘hysteria’
AUSTRALIA prides itself on its tolerance and its wide acceptance of different mores, but
polygamy appears to be a bridge too far for even the most ardent multiculturalists, Islamic and
Debate raged across the nation yesterday about whether a pluralistic and free society could happily
accommodate the practice of polygamous marriage.
Keysar Trad, president of the Islamic Friendship Association, spoke out this week, admitting he had once considered marrying another woman.
He also backed calls by another senior member of the Islamic community, Sheik Khalil Chami of the Islamic Welfare Centre, for polygamous relationships to be recognised.
Sheik Chami said polygamous marriages, although illegal, existed in Australia and he had been asked almost weekly to conduct polygamous religious ceremonies. Although he refused, other imams did not.
Attorney-General Robert McClelland was quick yesterday to rule polygamous relationships “entirely inconsistent with the culture and indeed with the law” of Australia. “Polygamous relationships are and will remain unlawful,” he said.
But for Hanifeh Trad, whose husband sparked the debate, society should just live and let live.
“I have no personal qualms about the situation, but I don’t criticise other people who do not wish it for themselves,” Mrs Trad told The Australian.
* Perhaps Hanifeh Trad should tell this to her co-religionists in Egypt who have different ideas about “just live and let live” like here:
*Â Attacks on Coptic Homes and Businesses in Al-Nazla
The 43-year-old mother of nine said her situation would not change if her husband had one wife or three. “If anything, it creates more responsibility for my husband, not for me, because he has to provide financially for her,” she said. “For me, I would have one more friend in the house supporting our partnership. At the moment, I don’t feel jealous, but if it does happen, I don’t know how my feelings will be.”
* But don’t let that deter you Hanifeh!
Sheik Chami said yesterday there was nothing wrong with having a number of marriages. “You allow the lesbians, you allow the gays – why not these people? What’s wrong with it?” he said.
But the greater Muslim community in Australia is not pushing for any cultural accommodation for polygamy, nor do most Muslims want the law changed to permit men to take more than one wife.
* Not yet. Wait and see.
Sydney University doctoral candidate Ghena Krayem, who is writing a thesis on Islamic marriage in Australia, said more than 90 per cent of the Muslims she interviewed did not want a change in Australian law to allow polygamous marriages. “Islam in certain circumstances permits polygamy, but it also enjoins Muslims to respect the laws of the nation they live in,” she said.
Ms Krayem interviewed most Muslim community leaders.
* BS from beginning to end: Muhammad worshipers seek to emulate their polygamous prophet:
Qur’an, 4:3:Â “Marry women of your choice, two or three or four; but if ye fear that ye shall not be able to deal justly (with them), then only one, or (a captive) that your right hands possess, that will be more suitable, to prevent you from doing injustice.
“Many of them said they would advise men who came to them seeking a second marriage that they wouldn’t bless this second marriage,” she said. “A lot of imams were of the view that if the men took a second wife as a de facto partner, it was not Islamically a legal marriage.”
* She lies.
She found no actual cases of polygamy in her research, but she was told of men who had taken second wives.
* She didn’t look…
* Now comes the red herring: The Mormons!
Elder David Osborn, of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Canberra, said polygamy had been banned by the Mormon church for 120 years. The breakaway Mormon fundamentalists who practised polygamy were based in Texas, he added, and none had settled in Australia as far as he knew.
Queensland Ethnic Communities Council honorary president Nick Xynian condemned the idea of legally tolerating polygamy. “Under no circumstances should we change the law,” he said. “I’ve got no problem with anybody who believes it, but we have our culture here, and people have to respect it. When in Rome, do as the Romans do. When I go to other countries, I respect their culture and I respect their laws.”
* Muhammad worshipers don’t respect infidel law. That’s againstÂ Islamic teachings. The soldiers of Allah are religiously obligated to conquer infidel lands and subject unbelievers to sharia.
* Wakademics and Aboriginees:
Yet academics pointed out that polygamy had been central to a number of traditional Aboriginal marriages in the Northern Territory – and these relationships were recognised in the form of welfare payments.
* Musulmaniacs are not Aborigines.
James Jupp, adjunct fellow at the Australian National University’s Centre for Immigration and Multicultural Studies, said the accommodation made for Aboriginal polygamy did not necessarily make the marriages legal.
* Indeed. They don’t.
He noted that the institution of marriage was under siege across the world, with gays and lesbians pushing for the recognition of same-sex unions. “(Polygamy and same-sex marriage) come in the same category, in that both of them have been condemned by all the Christian religions,” he said. “Australia is not a Christian country, but the majority of Australians regard themselves as Christian on issues like this.”
The hysteria engendered by Islam more generally would make it very difficult to legislate to permit polygamy, he added.
* Hmm. Its not hysteria. We face a real threat. Don’t try dumbing it down…
He said if Muslims could not get a school built in Camden, in Sydney’s southwest, it was unlikely the general community could be swayed on the issue of multiple-wife marriage.
“We’re not really a multicultural society in that sense,” he said. “We privilege one culture, the Western Christian culture, over all others.”
* Good on ya, mate. Sounds reassuring!