Polygamy is against the law in the U.S. and Canada, and that’s a good thing: the practice devalues women, reducing them to the status of commodities, and stands as an affront to their equality with men as human beings. But now anti-polygamy laws are coming under stealthy and subtle challenge, as both governments bow before the god of multiculturalism and dare not confront the increasing number of Muslims who are practicing polygamy in both countries.
The QMI Agency reported on October 1 that “Canadian immigration officials are letting polygamous men into the country as long as they arrive with only their first wife and promise not to obtain a harem afterward.” The polygamous men are gaming the system, as immigration lawyer Richard Kurland explained: “Under Canadian law, all other marriages after the first are illegal. For this reason, the first spouse only may enter Canada on a permanent basis, which creates a monogamous marriage.”
But if a polygamist wants to bring his other wives into Canada, all he has to do is divorce the others and remarry them in turn, while promising not to practice polygamy. Kurland explains: “You can immigrate with one (wife) by divorcing the others — divorce the one in Canada, marry the second one, bring her in (and) repeat the loop, as long as you sign a paper promising that you are not living in a polygamous relationship in Canada. There is no enforcement, control, or monitoring.”
There isn’t any in the United States, either. In 2011, a Muslim named Abu Khalid Abdul-Latif was charged with plotting a jihad attack against the Military Entrance Processing Station in Seattle military recruiting station. His niqabbed wife, Binta Moussa-Davis, declared of her husband: “He just good Muslim. Perfect Muslim. He pray five times a day.” One feature of Abdul-Latif’s devout commitment to Islam was his desire to marry again – without divorcing Binta, of course.
Abdul-Latif posted on a Muslim dating site: “I am a very dedicated, strong, and intelligent Muslim, and I am looking for a second wife from in [sic] whom [sic] wouldn’t mind sharing me with my current wife being that we are in compliance with the sunnah, and want to make a life from the most oppressive place on this earth ‘America.’”
Nor was he singular. The New York Times reported in March 2007 that “immigration to New York and other American cities has soared from places where polygamy is lawful and widespread, especially from West African countries like Mali, where demographic surveys show that 43 percent of women are in polygamous marriages.”
This is not surprising, since polygamy is sanctioned in the Qur’an:
And if you fear that you will not deal justly with the orphan girls, then marry those that please you of [other] women, two or three or four. But if you fear that you will not be just, then [marry only] one or those your right hand possesses. That is more suitable that you may not incline [to injustice]. (4:3)
Muslims in America who practice polygamy don’t seem concerned about breaking “manmade” American law. Ibrahim Hooper of the Hamas-linked Islamic supremacist agitation group the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) stated: “Islamic scholars would differ on whether one could do so while living in the United States.” He was not reported as having said anything about working against this practice among American Muslims, despite its illegality. He may have calculated that the legalization of same-sex marriage would make it easier to change American law regarding polygamy – which is one reason why Muslims have allied with “progressives” with such alacrity.
Islamic supremacists make such alliances, of course, while simultaneously railing against Western decadence. Yet few realize that what they offer as an alternative is hardly the vision of moral uprightness that many assume. A few years ago then-President George W. Bush declared that we were fighting for “moms and dads in Iraq.” He might more accurately have said “moms and moms and moms and moms and dads in Iraq,” for his assumption that the Western model of the nuclear family would also be a universal in the Islamic world was not borne out either by Islamic law or the facts on the ground.
Yet the idea that a man can have as many as four wives, as well as enjoy sexual access to those his “right hand possesses,” as the Qur’an specifies, signifies that in Islam, women are worth less than men as human beings. A woman may not have four husbands and slave men, but from the standpoint of Islamic law she can do nothing if her husband decides to seek alternative female companionship.
At a certain point, the U.S. and Canada and all the countries of the Western world are going to have to deal with this. They’re going to have to make a choice as to whether they’re going to affirm the human dignity of women and maintain the illegality of polygamy, or whether they’re going to allow them to become mere possessions and playthings, denizens of de facto harems. Both countries are already making this choice, by failing to enforce existing laws against polygamy. It isn’t too late for a reversal. But it’s getting there.