Myra Morton surrenders to authorities
It is never easy for the first wives. Adile Sultan, the daughter of the 19th century Ottoman reformer Mahmud II, was married to Mehmed Ali Pasha, an army officer. One day Adile Sultan traveled to a mosque far from her home. She stopped for a rest at a mansion that was on the way. The hostess, who was unknown to her, offered her coffee and sherbet — and introduced herself proudly as the wife of Mehmed Ali Pasha.
Adile Sultan was shocked. And her life was never the same. “Thereafter,” says historian Phillip Mansel, “she lived in seclusion, writing poems of increasing sadness. When she died in 1898, she was buried beside her husband. They never referred to his infidelity.”
This is the story of just one woman, but it doesn’t take much knowledge of human nature to recognize that it’s a story that has been repeated and is still being repeated the world over. Whenever women in the Islamic world have dared to speak about polygamy, the story is the same. Halide Elib, a proto-feminist in the waning days of the Ottoman Empire, said flatly that polygamy “was a curse, a poison which our unhappy household could not get out of its system…The constant tension in our home made every simple ceremony seem like physical pain, and the consequences hardly ever left me. The rooms of the wives were opposite each other and my father visited them in turn…”
A twenty-first century American Muslim wife felt the same way. April Ray El-Hage, wife of convicted Al-Qaeda terrorist Wadih El-Hage, successfully resisted her husband’s attempts to take a second wife. She couldn’t, of course, deny that he had a right to marry again “” to do so would have been by her own account “un-Islamic.” But here again, her heart was greater than her religion. With an innate sense that polygamy was wrong, she fought back the only way she could: “I made his life hell…I was becoming a real b—-.” It took six months for Wadih El-Hage to relent, but April Ray ultimately won: her husband broke off his engagement to his second wife.
Myra Morton was not so fortunate.
From AP (thanks to all who sent this in):
NORRISTOWN, Pa. “” A woman killed her longtime husband hours before he was to leave on a trip to Morocco to try to impregnate his new second wife, prosecutors said in murder charges filed Thursday.
Myra Morton, 47, turned herself in Thursday to face murder and related charges in the death of Jereleigh Morton, 47, who was shot in his bed early Sunday morning in his million-dollar home outside Philadelphia.
The killing happened just hours before Jereleigh Morton was to travel to Africa to try to conceive a baby with his second wife, prosecutors said.
Myra Morton had reluctantly agreed to the second marriage and even traveled to Morocco to sanction it under Islamic law, authorities have said. She told police that an intruder had come into the bedroom and shot her husband, but police found no signs of a break-in.
Prosecutors charged Morton with first-degree murder, third-degree murder and related counts. She turned herself in Thursday, dressed in traditional Muslim garb with a full black cloak and a face veil that left only her eyes showing.
Morton met his second wife, Zahra Toural, 35, on the Internet in December 2006, investigators said. She lives in Morocco “” authorities didn’t specify where “” and married Morton there on March 19, prosecutors said.
Myra was reluctant to accept the second marriage and she told friends that she was upset her husband was “no longer paying attention to her,” First Assistant District Attorney Risa Vetri Ferman said.
Morton wrote in her diary “” portions of which were filed in court papers earlier this week “” that she went to Morocco to approve the marriage and get paperwork in order.
“I go give him the permission, because he argues with me when I protest this marriage,” the diary reads.
Shortly after her husband married Toural, Myra Morton sent a letter to the U.S. State Department in which she said her husband was trying to bring Toural over on a tourist visa. She urged the government to keep Toural out of the United States, going so far as to accuse the other woman of having connections to terrorists.
“She was really trying to protect her turf,” Ferman said.