In 2008, the Toronto Sun reported that “hundreds of [Greater Toronto Area] Muslim men in polygamous marriages — some with a harem of wives — are receiving welfare and social benefits for each of their spouses, thanks to the city and province, Muslim leaders say.”
“Polygamy is a regular part of life for many Muslims,” Canadian Society of Muslims president Mumtaz Ali declared bluntly. “Ontario recognizes religious marriages for Muslims and others.”
Government officials quickly denied the Muslim leader’s claims about immigration law and social benefits regulations. Only one public servant seemed sufficiently concerned. “This is wrong,” said city councilor Rob Ford. “They should put a stop to this immediately.”
Instead, welfare abuse by Muslims appears to have metastasized across the Western world. Almost three years later, news stories about radical Muslims — often immigrants — engaged in social benefits scams emerge regularly from Europe, Canada, and Australia. Even when they are not involved in fraud, Muslims frequently are overrepresented on welfare rolls, compared with other communities. The statistics from around the globe are jaw-dropping, especially in economically uncertain times.
According to one 2007 source, immigration, of which Muslims comprise a significant part, “costs Sweden at least 40 to 50 billion Swedish kroner [approximately $7 billion] every year … and has greatly contributed to bringing the Swedish welfare state to the brink of bankruptcy.” Yet two years earlier, the country’s finance minister declared counterintuitively that “more immigrants should be allowed into Sweden in order to safeguard the welfare system.”
One Iranian immigrant to Sweden expressed astonishment at his new country’s policies: “In Sweden my family encountered a political system that seemed very strange. The interpreter told us that Sweden is a country where the government will put a check into your mailbox each month if you don’t work. She explained that there was no reason to get a job.”
The statistics from Norway are even more shocking. According to a University of Oslo study, “non-Western immigrants” are ten times as likely to be on social assistance as native Norwegians.
In Germany, Muslims are four times as likely to be receiving welfare as non-Muslims. However, unlike his counterpart in Sweden, Berlin’s former finance senator Thilo Sarrazin is speaking out against the benefits system and has penned a bestselling book condemning the nation’s immigration policies. Sarrazin stated while in office that welfare recipients could feed themselves on four Euros per day, adding that “losing weight is the least of their problems.”
Research by Daniel Pipes and Lars Hedegaard from 2002 reveals that mostly Muslim immigrants in Denmark “constitute five percent of the population but consume upwards of 40 percent of the welfare spending.” In that country, numerous “single” women who receive social assistance are really the wives of polygamous Muslim men.
Polygamy and benefits fraud go hand in hand across the continent. Last year in France, a polygamous Muslim and father of 17 children was charged with welfare fraud when authorities discovered that “two of his companions lived in Dubai for a year while continuing to receive welfare benefits worth 10,000 Euros.” The man did not exactly have a low profile, as he made news previously when one of his wives was fined for driving while wearing a niqab that restricted her vision.
In one instance, a former minister in the British government, which has been known to grant additional welfare benefits to cover a man’s additional wives, openly promoted welfare use and abuse among her Muslim constituents. Last December, deputy Labour Party leader Harriet Harman labeled Muslim immigrants who send a portion of their welfare payments to families back home “heroic.” She even “called for tax refunds to encourage more immigrants to follow suit.”
However, ordinary Muslims are not the only ones exploiting generous Western welfare systems for personal gain. In 2005, the UK Telegraph reported that the governor of Pakistan’s Sindh province had received British state benefits of around £1,000 a month for ten months, plus the rent for a northwest London house.