Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Polygamy is a valuable way of saving women from becoming "aged virgins", according to Malaysia's leading Islamist politician

Sebastien Berger:

Nik Abdul Aziz Nik Mat, the spiritual leader of the PAS Party, called on Muslim wives not to react violently if their husbands tell them that they want to take a second wife.

They should consider the plight of other women "who would become aged virgins until they die because the men who want them are blocked from marrying them".

Mr Nik Abdul Aziz is the chief minister of the northeastern state of Kelantan, which the PAS has ruled for 15 years. One of his sons is detained under Malaysia's internal security act as a suspected Islamic radical.

Under Malaysian law, polygamy is legal for Muslims, who make up a little over half of the population. But they must fulfil various conditions before being allowed to take extra wives, up to a maximum of four.

This month, after two Malaysian wives allegedly attacked their husbands with acid when they said that they wanted to marry again, Mr Nik Abdul Aziz said: "A man who wants to take a second wife must be sensitive to his first wife's feelings.

"He must be tender in his approach. A woman's heart is like a glass, very fragile and easily shattered. Husbands must learn how to take care of them."

He has also called for men to be whipped if they desert their wives without paying maintenance.

Similar punishment should apply to those who abused Islam's polygamous provisions: "In addition to being fined, these irresponsible men should be caned, preferably until they become impotent."

Wife 'mown down' over polygamy row

Malaysian Muslim fundamentalist leader says polygamy will help 'aged virgins'

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