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Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Sharia law scores a bulls-eye, again

Well, here’s a pretty pickle: a man (Arif) goes off to war, is taken prisoner, and nothing is heard of him for five years. Meanwhile, his ‘new’ bride (Gudiya) gives up waiting for him and remarries (Taufiq). Not such an unusual story.
Arif was captured and held in prison for half a decade. What happened when he returned last month, to find his wife not only eight months' pregnant but married to another man, has gripped India and cast a harsh light on hitherto private affairs.

Filling television screens and newspaper columns, the travails of the Mohammed family have been picked over and consumed by an Indian public rarely exposed to the intimacies of married life, let alone those of a poor, conservative Muslim couple.
You can read the thing in detail here. What happens when Arif returns? What should happen? How should the matter be resolved?

The most interesting bit is that this happened in an Islamic part of India. It would be possible to predict what would happen if, by some mischance, the bride had disappeared for five years, only to find on her return that her husband had remarried. Since men are allowed up to four wives, there wouldn’t be a problem, but in the actual case, it’s not a sauce for goose/sauce for gander answer. This is the sort of story that could be given to a feminist class to highlight the number of sexist incidents, assumptions, reports, and assertions in the piece.

I can’t remember who ‘wins’ the bride – there are further complications. Josh has often argued with Muslims that their religion is unacceptably sexist in that it allows men more than one wife, while women are allowed only one husband.

The reasons for polygyny are long lost in history (like most of the justification for idiot religions). One day, some ‘advanced’ Islamic ‘thinker’ will recognise that polygamy is quite inappropriate today, and s/he will speak out against the practice.

Someone missed a clear chance to make a judgement of Solomon in this sad little case. Why didn’t the imam/mullah or what ever the idiot was called, rule that if polygyny is OK then so is polyandry? The woman should have both husbands. By missing this opportunity, Sharia law is shown, yet again, to be irredeemably sexist.

It’s a bit like boxing, really. Boxing is a terrible sport that ought to be banned (it is uncivilised, and physically and mentally damaging). However, while it is legal, women ought to be allowed to participate. Men shouldn’t be the only ones given the opportunity to beat the shit out of each other. Besides, allowing women to do the same could hasten the end of this hideous practice.

And what better way to end polygamy than by sanctioning polyandry?

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