“… the Taxpayers’ Alliance, a lobby group, has complained: ‘Polygamy is not officially condoned here, so why should British taxpayers have to pay for extra benefits for men to have two, three or four wives?’”
For that matter, how many traditional, monogamous couples and their children in Britain are suffering because of the recession while their government hemorrhages money to reward illegal behavior?
“Polygamy UK: This special Mail investigation reveals how thousands of men are milking the benefits system to support several wives,” by Sue Reid for the Daily Mail, February 24 (thanks to all who sent this in):
He cut a smart figure in his grey suit and crisply ironed shirt. The 6ft tall Somalian bowed to the judge, calling him ‘Sir’, before begging for his wife, Fatima, and their teenage son to be allowed to stay in Britain.
Fatima, with a black khimar veil covering her hair and shoulders, sat quietly next to her husband.
In her late 30s and wearing open sandals, she lowered her dark eyes as the details of the unconventional life she and her husband, Abdi, led in the West London suburb of Shepherd’s Bush unfolded at a busy immigration court.
The judge listened in silence. Perhaps he knew from past experience what was coming next. Abdi went on to reveal that Fatima was not his only wife.
Indeed, he was a self-confessed bigamist who had a second, much younger wife and a 13-year-old daughter by her. They both lived nearby.
‘I visit them regularly,’ said Abdi, 51, who arrived in Britain in the 1990s and works in an old people’s home. ‘I have done nothing wrong. In Somalia, it is normal to have two wives – even three or four. Fatima is still my wife and she should not be deported.’
Exhibit A: The world map. Where are you now? It’s still not “normal” in Britain.
He was unable to produce wedding certificates or valid official documents to prove where, or when, he had married both women, therefore raising questions over the validity of the unions, under either Somali or British law.
Yet his story, unravelling at an ordinary weekday hearing at Taylor House, an asylum appeals’ centre in North London, is just one example of the growing phenomenon of multiple marriage in Britain.
Officially, such unions are punishable by up to seven years in prison. They were first declared illegal in England and Wales in 1604, when the Parliament of James I took action to restrain ‘evil persons’ marrying more than one wife. Parliament ruled that anyone found guilty of the crime would be sentenced to death.
In the four centuries since, bigamy (having two wives) and polygamy (more than two) has been frowned on by the state, the Church of England and the Roman Catholic Church.
Yet it is clear that officialdom is turning a blind eye to such marriages.
A recent review by four Government departments – the Treasury, the Work and Pensions Department, the Inland Revenue and the Home Office – has concluded that 1,000 men in the United Kingdom are now polygamists, although some say the figure is higher.
And crime pays:
What is more, the review found, a Muslim man can claim state support of more than Â£10,000 a year to keep his wives, if the wedding took place in one of those countries where polygamy is commonplace, such as Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Saudi Arabia and across huge tracts of Africa.
That’s right. The U.K. does recognize polygamous unions if the wedding was performed in a country where polygamy is legal.
For example, a man can receive &Â£92.80 a week in income support for wife number one, and a further Â£33.65p for each of his subsequent spouses.
Therefore, if he has four wives – the maximum permitted under Islamic teachings – he can claim nearly Â£800 a month from the British taxpayer.
Controversially, a polygamist is also entitled to more generous housing benefits and bigger council houses to reflect the large size of his family. He is also able to claim Â£1,000 a year in child benefit for each of his growing brood.
The Government insists that polygamy has declined in Britain since the 1988 Immigration Act, which made it harder for men to bring second, third or fourth wives to the UK.
However, it’s little wonder that critics claim our generosity simply encourages more Muslim men to keep several spouses. Supporters of polygamy claim the Koran states unequivocally that a Muslim man can marry up to four women so long as he treats them equally.
But the Taxpayers’ Alliance, a lobby group, has complained: ‘Polygamy is not officially condoned here, so why should British taxpayers have to pay for extra benefits for men to have two, three or four wives?’ …
Read it all.