A website in the United Kingdom that assists Muslims with finding their second wives has 100,000 or so users, according to recent tabulations.
Thing is: Bigamy in the U.K. is illegal. It’s a crime that carries up to seven years in prison.
Apparently, Muslim men don’t care. They’re taking the chance — secure in the idea their religion will shelter them from legal retribution.
The Daily Mail has more:
A website designed to help Muslim men find ‘second wives’ in the UK has more than 100,000 users.
Polygamy, where a person has more than one spouse, is illegal in the UK, carrying a possible prison sentence of up to seven years.
Such marriages are only recognised if they took place in countries where they are legal.
However, there is no law to stop unregistered religious ceremonies taking place.
Currently, there are more than 25,000 British members using the site.
Azad Chaiwala, from Sunderland, who established SecondWife.com, said he was responding to a need.
But campaigners yesterday lambasted the site for encouraging women into abusive relationships that deny them rights given by the law of the land to women in registered marriages.
They say the practise opens women, often younger than their husbands, up to loneliness, physical abuse and even trafficking.
Yesterday, a Daily Mail reporter – who signed up to the site as an 18-year-old woman – was not asked for age verification.
They were immediately presented with profiles of local Muslim men aged from 30 to 60.
Yasmin Rehman, of the Centre for Secular Space, called the website ‘deeply dangerous’ and called on politicians to take action.
She said: ‘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.
Miss Rehman, a Muslim herself, said: ‘I don’t think he should be allowed to do it. I think he’s flouting the law – anyone else would become subject to polygamy laws. It sits alongside websites like brides from abroad.
‘I meet women who have been trafficked and prostituted. I’m fed up with this being accepted. There are Muslim women across the world fighting this, some at great risk to themselves.’
While there are no official figures, it is estimated that there may be as many as 20,000 polygamous marriages in the British Muslim community.
Gina Khan, of One Law For All, who herself has been a victim of polygamous marriage, said: ‘The website is disgusting. It’s a medieval practice for Muslim men who want to commit adultery and they are using religion, it’s an abusive practice.
‘It sends a shiver down my spine that this can happen to my daughter. This is an epidemic in Birmingham, and it was unheard of in the 1980s.
‘It’s impacting hundreds of British women and it’s being ignored by the state in this country.
‘You can bet your life they are vulnerable women. There are a lot of women who I have come across who have had no say in it.’
Mr Chaiwala claims his website does not break the law, and brazenly claims it ‘benefits women’.
But he also admitted that three quarters of its users are men.
He said:‘The second wife website came about from my need, and thinking there’ll be other people in my situation.
‘There are other deceiving ways of doing it – affairs, prostitution etc. – those are not necessarily good for relationships. Here it’s more honourable.
‘We’ve got so many successful marriages and so many women signed up themselves… they are opting to enter this kind of relationship.’
He has previously admitted: ‘There is not a woman on earth who would be totally comfortable with it.’
One man, a doctor from South Yorkshire, who found a second wife through the site, told BBC Inside Out North East and Cumbria (pls keep): ‘If I have the ability to manage more than one wife then I would like to have this opportunity.
‘It’s up to the man, as wise as he could be, to treat them fairly and kindly and caringly.’
His ‘second wife’ said she went into the marriage because she wants to have a degree of independence, but she has been left insecure by the ‘contract’.
She said: ‘I’ve found myself being more insecure… it’s really affecting me. I wouldn’t do it again, because it’s not easy emotionally, it really isn’t.
A spokesman for SecondWife.com said: ‘Currently we have 25,000+ active members in the UK. Over the three years we have been running the UK has often been in our top three countries.
Responding to campaigners’ comments he said: ‘Monogamous marriages currently have the largest proportion of abusers. Far more than those that occur in polygamous marriages. The marriage isn’t the cause of any abuse. The abuser is the cause of abuse.’
He denied the website flouts the law, adding: ‘It just takes a change in society to have an impact before legislation gets updated.’
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