Friday, August 31, 2012

Tunisian Islamist Organization Wants To Legalize Polygamy

Polygamy is illegal in Tunisia, but Tunisian Islamists want to change that because one wife just isn't enough. Besides, it's un-Islamic not to allow polygamy.

Adel Elmi, who is head honcho of what used to be the Commission for the Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, and is now called Tunisian Moderate Association for Awareness and Reform claims:

“Sanctioning polygamy is a popular demand now in Tunisia.”

The "moderate" in the organization's new name is a major joke, considering there is nothing moderate about wanting to establish shariah law in what used to be a somewhat secular country. A country that in the mid-1950s banned polygamy, outlawed forced marriages for underage girls, raised the marriage age to 17, and made it easier for women to divorce. But not only does he want to legalize polygamy, he wants any laws that are not Islamic in nature to be abolished.

The ruling Islamist Ennahda Party has promised women will not lose their rights, but Tunisian women's rights activists are very concerned, and with good reason, even though Elmi has said that the first wife will have "to approve before her husband is allowed to remarry”. How progressive is that.

According to Radia al-Nasrawi, a lawyer and activist, there is already a member of the Ennahda party that has bucked the polygamy ban by having two wives.

"He had a wife in Tunisia then married another in exile and brought her with him when he got back,” Nasrawi said.

Nasrawi added that the first wife filed a lawsuit against him with the court of Nabeul in northeastern Tunisia, but no measures have been taken against him so far.

We'll see whether Ennahda keeps its promise, or whether Tunisia becomes the Islamic Republic of Tunisia, down the road.

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