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European Report

Polygamy All Over the Place

By Paul Belien

Thursday, November 17, 2005

The riots in France have made the world suddenly aware of a reality which city dwellers in Europe have known for some years: that there are no-go areas surrounding almost every major European town. These have become virtually self-ruling enclaves, abandoned by European authorities and police. A case in point is the Swedish town of Malm“, which is said to be unique because creeping anarchy has spread to almost the entire town.

Another thing which many people have known, but which has never been said aloud, is the spread of polygamy across Western Europe. Since yesterday, when French officials, including one government minister, cited polygamy as a possible factor of social breakdown in the suburbs, the media are suddenly devoting attention to a phenomenon which many people have known existed for years: Muslim immigrants going home for a holiday and returning with an additional wife.

Only last week (November 11) the Norwegian newspaper Aftenposten reported statements from Norway’s Directorate of Immigration (UDI) that there are an increasing number of men with multiple wives in Norway. "The reason is married men travel to countries where polygamy is legal and then add a wife." Though polygamy is illegal in Norway, "this is something that Norwegian authorities cannot prevent," said UDI spokesman Karl Erik Sjˇholt. The question is whether the authorities should encourage it. The Islamic Cultural Center Norway (ICCN), an immigrant organisation subsidised by the Norwegian state, advises Muslims in Norway to take several wives because polygamy "is advantageous and ought to be practiced where conditions lend themselves to such practice."

So far men have been allowed to bring their second wives into Norway. As the strain on the Norwegian welfare system increases, the Immigration Directorate suggests that the government should prevent married men who marry again without first divorcing in Norway from bringing their new wives to Norway.

Muslim immigrants who come to live in Europe often bring along their extended families, which may contain two, three and even four wives, and all of their offspring. Such families average up to 15 people, which means that up to half a million of France’s 60 million inhabitants, a significant section of the entire population, may be living in polygamous families. There are also hundreds of polygamous families in Britain, Germany, the Netherlands and other countries. According to Jacques Kossowki, the mayor of Courbevoie in France and an MP, "It’s a disaster. We don’t even have housing big enough for these people."

In Britain legislators have chosen to adopt a liberal approach, amending existing laws in an effort to accommodate the needs of the local Muslim population. Last year the Sunday Times reported that Muslim second wives will get a tax break: "The Inland Revenue is considering recognising polygamy for some religious groups for tax purposes. Officials have agreed to examine ‘family friendly’ representations from Muslims who take up to four wives under sharia, the laws derived from the Koran. Existing rules allow only one wife for inheritance tax purposes. The Revenue has been asked to relax this so that a husband’s estate can be divided tax-free between several wives."

The stealth with which the European authorities have for almost two decades now been accepting polygamy is a clear indication that Western Europe has lost all faith in its own traditional values, such as monogamous marriage. This also became clear recently when the Dutch authorities refused to annul the civil union which a Dutch man concluded with two women before a notary. The latter is morally distinct from the traditional polygamy of the Muslims because the two women involved also engage in a lesbian relationship (their "husband" said his wives were bisexual), making the case not only a trio-marriage but a homosexual relationship as well. At least the Muslims have never taken decadence that far. How can societies that accept such situations object to Muslims with multiple wives?

In fact the Muslims are not to blame for the collapse of Western Europe’s civilisation. The latter’s problems are entirely self-inflicted. The reality that the old continent is gradually, but ever more rapidly, becoming Islamic is a consequence of the suicide of its once Christian and now hedonist and secular culture. The attitude that everyone can do whatever he or she likes so long as it makes them happy, is leading us directly to Eurabia. However, those who care about happiness may find consolation in the words of Philander Johnson: "Cheer up, the worst is yet to come."

Paul Belien is the editor of the Flemish quarterly Secessie and the editor-in-chief of The Brussels Journal. He is a columnist at the Flemish weekly Pallieterke and at the Flemish monthly Doorbraak and a regular contributor to the Flemish conservative monthly Nucleus, which he co-founded in 1990. Paul can be reached at: letters@canadafreepress.com



Other articles by Paul Belien, Brussels Journal















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