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Cherchez La Femme (Follow the Woman) Wearing the Islamic Veil: Polygamy and Lawsuits in France, Part 2

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Posted on May 4 2010 10:00 am
Phyllis Chesler is an Emerita Professor of Psychology and Women's Studies at City University of New York. For extended biography visit The Phyllis Chesler Organization.

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In the Qu’ran’s Sura 4, verse 3, it is written:

And if you fear that you cannot act equitably towards orphans, then marry such women as seem good to you, two and three and four; but if you fear that you will not do justice (between them), then (marry) only one or what your right hands possess; this is more proper, that you may not deviate from the right course.

I have been told that polygamy is actually very hard to practice in “the right way” because a man must treat each wife equally—exactly equally. Since this is impossible, polygamy, by definition, may never have been practiced in “the right way.” Also, mainly wealthy men can afford to practice polygamy, a fact which dooms young, poor men to unmarried lives of enormous envy and resentment. In an age of jihad we know where this may lead: They will sexually harass and rape infidel women and kidnap Muslim girls and women as sexual slaves. This was done by Islamist paramilitary gangs in Algeria and by the Taliban in Afghanistan. Such resentful young men will also become fundamentalists and terrorists. Trust me: Polygamy makes women and children quite miserable too—but that is the subject for another piece.

Historically, the “right course” among Muslim men has included taking concubines—many, many concubines, both Jewish and Christian, African and European. Muhammed himself did so and this practice has not stopped. Obscenely large harems have existed among Muslim rulers for centuries, although many non-Muslim Africans have “lived large” in terms of multiple wives as well. Jews outlawed polygamy in the eleventh century. Prostitution has always flourished in the world; sexual trafficking is at an all-time high today. Neither Muslim nor African countries are immune to this practice.

Today, the Saudis alone are known to fly in new planeloads full of European prostitutes each and every week. Are they considered to be “temporary concubines” or even “temporary wives,” a practice which is now common in Iran? Female domestic workers in Saudi Arabia are routinely raped by their employers as well as held hostage, underpaid, or never paid.

In other words, poor Rachida Benamed has scarcely a fig leaf to cover the enormous nakedness of Muslim men when it comes to the subject of polygamy, concubinage, and prostitution. I would not recommend trying to justify such misogyny no matter what religion the john may practice.

As I have said: Follow the Islamic veil and you will find many other improprieties and immoralities in the West.

I wish to acknowledge the fine work of Esther’s Islam in Europe blog.

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