A Muslim businessman who runs a website that enables men to find ‘second wives’ has claimed that polygamy helps to build “bigger and better families”.
Azad Chaiwala is the founder of secondwife.com, a website aimed specifically at Muslims. He also founded polygamy.com – which states that “polygamy is a lifestyle choice”.
Since Chaiwala appeared on the BBC’s Inside Out, he has faced criticism for promoting the “abusive practice”.
Speaking about polygamy, he told the BBC: “There are other deceiving ways of doing it – affairs, prostitution etc. – those are not necessarily good for relationships. Here it’s more honourable because you are up front about it.”
And claiming that over 100,000 people have signed up to the websites, he also said that men are outnumbering women three to one.
Although polygamy is illegal in Britain, many Muslim communities believe it is legitimate for a man to have up to four wives. Under UK law only one marriage is legal, but Muslim men claim to acquire a ‘second wife’ through “nikhah” religious ceremonies.
Denying the website goes against the law, a spokesman for secondwife.com said: “It just takes a change in society to have an impact before legislation gets updated.”
‘Wouldn’t do it again’
The BBC programme also spoke to Tarek, who is a user of secondwife.com. He said, “if I have the ability to manage more than one wife then I would like to have this opportunity”.
Tarek’s “second wife” Tracy said she has found herself “more insecure” since entering into a polygamous union.
“As much as I really love Tarek, I wouldn’t do it again, because it’s not easy emotionally, it really isn’t”, she said.
Yasmin Rehman of the Centre for Secular Space criticised the website, telling the Daily Mail: “I think it’s deeply dangerous. He’s promoting inequality and exploitation of women and undermining what marriage is about, and he’s making money out of it.”
Rehman, who is a Muslim herself, added that she is “fed up” with polygamy being accepted in Muslim culture.
Anti-sharia law and children’s rights campaigner Gina Khan said polygamy is “an abusive practice” which is being “ignored by the state”.
During the debates on same-sex marriage in England and Wales, the Coalition for Marriage warned about such future redefinitions. It said: “If marriage is redefined once, what is to stop it being redefined to allow polygamy?”
The long-held Christian view of marriage is that it is between one man and one woman, and that it is a picture of Jesus’ relationship with the church.
For more on the biblical basis of marriage, read our publication.