Archive for the ‘Rights of women’ category

United Nations Elects Saudi Arabia to Women’s Rights Commission

April 23, 2017

United Nations Elects Saudi Arabia to Women’s Rights Commission, Breitbart, Joel B. Pollak, April 23, 2017

(Please see also, Sharia-Advocate Sarsour to Give Graduation Address at CUNY. — DM)

Reuters/Stringer

The United Nations Economic and Social Council voted late last week to place Saudi Arabia on the Commission on the Status of Women for a four-year term beginning in 2018, despite that country’s appalling record on the treatment of women.

Hillel Neuer, director of the Geneva-based UN Watch, expressed his outrage in a statement Friday:

“Electing Saudi Arabia to protect women’s rights is like making an arsonist into the town fire chief,” said Hillel Neuer, executive director of UN Watch. “It’s absurd.”

“Every Saudi woman,” said Neuer, “must have a male guardian who makes all critical decisions on her behalf, controlling a woman’s life from her birth until death. Saudi Arabia also bans women from driving cars.”

According to UN Watch, the United States forced a formal vote, against China’s wishes, instead of allowing the normal practice of allowing regional groupings to select the nations on the commission by themselves, in secret.

However, the vote was still held behind closed doors, meaning it is not yet clear precisely which countries voted to honor one of the world’s foremost abusers of women’s rights. Neuer calculates, based on the voting math, that at least five European Union member states would have had to vote for Saudi Arabia for it to win a seat on the commission.

The U.S. State Department’s most recent human rights report on Saudi Arabia (largely prepared by the outgoing Obama administration) notes that despite being allowed to participate in municipal elections in 2015, the state of women’s rights in the kingdom remains generally abysmal:

Women continued to face significant discrimination under law and custom, and many remained uninformed about their rights. …

The law does not provide for the same legal status and rights for women as for men, and since there is no codified personal-status law, judges made decisions regarding family matters based on their interpretations of Islamic law. Although they may legally own property and are entitled to financial support from their guardian, women have fewer political or social rights than men, and society treated them as unequal members in the political and social spheres. The guardianship system requires that every woman have a close male relative as her “guardian” with the legal authority to approve her travel outside of the country. A guardian also has authority to approve some types of business licenses and study at a university or college. Women can make their own determinations concerning hospital care. Women can work without their guardian’s permission, but most employers required women to have such permission. A husband who verbally (rather than through a court process) divorces his wife or refuses to sign final divorce papers continues to be her legal guardian.

In 2015, Saudi Arabia reduced a Sri Lankan woman’s sentence for adultery from execution by stoning to three years in prison.

Not Satire | Will Hamas place benches to help female IDF soldiers?

March 11, 2017

Will Hamas place benches to help female IDF soldiers? Israel National News, Gil Ronen, March 11, 2017

IDF lowers standards after realizing women can’t keep up, provides benches to help climbing. Will Hamas do the same?

An IDF officers’ training base added benches to help female soldiers climb over walls during fitness exercises. The “unfair” fitness test was videotaped and shown on Channel 10 during the summer of 2016.

The Forum for IDF Strength explained, “The IDF discovered that women in combat units suffered many physiological injuries, failed the entrance tests and fitness routines, and fell behind during any strenuous physical activities.

“Therefore, we have adapted the training and courses, and lowered the bar to enable more women to participate.

“For example, during officer training, we reduced the entrance exam in navigation from 10-12 kilometers to six kilometers for women. Distance in a later exam was reduced from 18 kilometers to 10 kilometers for women. The way we measure effort in the course takes physical and navigational abilities into account, and adapts them according to gender.

“In this video, the women are running with one canteen and two magazines, and they climb over a wall using a bench. Men run with two canteens, five magazines, and must climb the wall without help. The maximum time given to men is seven minutes; the women have nine minutes.

“In the tests before they enter officer school, men’s and women’s abilities are measured differently. As a result, men who have higher abilities are not accepted to the course, and women take their places.”

Arutz Sheva asked the IDF if they have spoken to Hamas about adding benches near Gaza walls, to make it easier for women to climb over them during warfare and to prove their gender equality standards.

We will report on the IDF’s response when it arrives.

 

The Lessons of Roosevelt’s Failures

February 1, 2017

The Lessons of Roosevelt’s Failures, Front Page MagazineCaroline Glick, February 1, 2017

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Is US President Donald Trump the new Franklin Delano Roosevelt? Does his immigration policy mimic Roosevelt’s by adopting a callous, bigoted position on would-be asylum seekers from the Muslim world? At a press conference on June 5, 1940, Roosevelt gave an unspeakably cynical justification for his administration’s refusal to permit the desperate Jews of Nazi Germany to enter the US.

In Roosevelt’s words, “Among the refugees [from Germany], there are some spies… And not all of them are voluntary spies – it is rather a horrible story but in some of the other countries that refugees out of Germany have gone to, especially Jewish refugees, they found a number of definitely proven spies.”

The current media and left-wing uproar over the executive order US President Donald Trump signed on Saturday which enacts a temporary ban on entry to the US of nationals from seven Muslim majority countries is extraordinary on many levels. But one that stands out is the fact that opponents of Trump’s move insist that Trump is reenacting the bigoted immigration policies the US maintained throughout the Holocaust.

The first thing that is important to understand about Trump’s order is that it did not come out of nowhere. It is based on the policies of his predecessor Barack Obama. Trump’s move is an attempt to correct the strategic and moral deficiencies of Obama’s policies – deficiencies that empower bigots and fascists while disenfranchising and imperiling their victims.

Trump’s order is based on the 2015 Terrorist Travel Prevention Act. As White House spokesman Sean Spicer noted in an interview with ABC News’ Martha Raddatz Sunday, the seven states targeted by Trump’s temporary ban – Syria, Iraq, Sudan, Iran, Libya, Yemen and Somalia – were not chosen by Trump.

They were identified as uniquely problematic and in need of specific, harsher vetting policies for refugee applications by former US president Barack Obama.

In Iraq, Syria, Libya and Yemen, the recognized governments lack control over large swaths of territory.

As a consequence, they are unable to conclude immigration vetting protocols with the US. As others have noted, unlike these governments, Turkish, Saudi Arabian and Egyptian officials have concluded and implement severe and detailed visa vetting protocols with US immigration officials.

Immigrants from Somalia have carried out terrorist attacks in the US. Clearly there is a problem with vetting procedures in relation to that jihad-plagued failed state.

Finally, the regimes in Sudan and Iran are state sponsors of terrorism. As such, the regimes clearly cannot be trusted to properly report the status of visa applicants.

In other words, the one thing that the seven states have in common is that the US has no official counterpart in any of them as it seeks to vet nationals from those states seeking to enter its territory. So the US must adopt specific, unilateral vetting policies for each of them.

Now that we know the reason the Obama administration concluded that visa applicants from these seven states require specific vetting, we arrive at the question of whether Trump’s order will improve the outcome of that vetting from both a strategic and moral perspective.

The new executive order requires the relevant federal agencies and departments to review the current immigration practices in order to ensure two things.

First, that immigrants from these and other states are not enemies of the US. And second, to ensure that those that do enter the US are people who need protection.

Trump’s order requires the secretary of state and the secretary of homeland security to ensure that the new vetting processes “prioritize refugee claims made by individuals on the basis of religious-based persecution, provided that the religion of the individual is a minority in the individual’s country of nationality.”

Under the Obama administration, the opposite occurred. Christians and Yazidis in Syria for instance, have been targeted specifically for annihilation by Islamic State and related groups. And yet, they have made up a tiny minority of visa recipients. According to Christian News Service, during 2016, the number of refugees from Syria to the US increased by 675%. But among the 13,210 Syrian refugees admitted to the US, only 77, or 0.5% were Christians and only 24, or 0.18%, were Yazidis.

Similar percentages held in previous years.

On the second issue, of blocking potential terrorists from entering the US, Trump’s order calls for measures to be taken to ensure that those who ascribe to creeds that would endanger the lives of US citizens are barred from entering.

Specifically, the order states, “The United States cannot, and should not, admit those who do not support the Constitution, or those who would place violent ideologies over American law. In addition, the United States should not admit those who engage in acts of bigotry or hatred (including ‘honor’ killings, other forms of violence against women, or the persecution of those who practice religions different from their own) or those who would oppress Americans of any race, gender, or sexual orientation.”

Whether or not the Obama administration’s failure to give top priority to Christian and Yazidi refugees being targeted for genocide, enslavement and rape was driven by political considerations, the fact is that the current US refugee system makes it all but impossible for US officials to give priority to vulnerable minorities.

As Nina Shea, director of the Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom pointed out in an article in National Review in November 2015, the US has relied on the UN High Commissioner on Refugees to vet potential immigrants from these countries. The UNHCR accepts applications for resettlement primarily from people who reside in its refugee camps. Members of the Christian and Yazidi avoid UN camps because UN officials do not protect them.

As Shea noted, human rights groups and media reports have shown that at UN camps, “ISIS, militias and gangs traffic in women and threaten men who refuse to swear allegiance to the caliphate.”

The situation repeats itself in European refugee centers. Shea noted that in Germany, for instance, due to Muslim persecution of non-Muslim refugees at refugee centers, “the German police union recommended separate shelters for Christian and Muslim groups.”

The UNHCR itself has not been an innocent bystander in all of this. To the contrary. It appears that the institution colludes with jihadists to keep persecuted Christians and other minorities out of the UN refugee system, thus dooming them to remain in areas were they are subjected to forms of persecution unseen since the Holocaust.

Questioned by Shea, the UN High Commissioner for Refugees António Guterres said that he opposes the resettlement of persecuted Christians from Syria. Despite the fact that in 2011 Pope Francis acknowledged that Syrian Christians were being targeted for genocide, Guterres told Shea that he doesn’t want Christians to leave Syria, because they are part of the “DNA of the Middle East.” He added that Lebanon’s former president asked him not to resettle the Christians.

Invoking the Holocaust, in recent days US Jews have been among the most outspoken critics of Trump’s executive order. Speaking to Britain’s Independent, for instance, Mark Hetfield, the executive director of HIAS, the Hebrew Immigrant Aid Society, slammed Trump’s executive order as the “lowest point we’ve seen since the 1920s.”

Forward editor Jane Eisner wrote that Trump’s move is immoral and un-American and that all Jewish organizations are morally required to stand up to his “anti-Muslim” policies.

Writing at Vox.com, Dara Lind drew a direct connection between Trump’s executive order and the Roosevelt administration’s refusal to permit the Jews of Europe to flee to the US to escape annihilation in the Holocaust.

This then brings us back to Roosevelt’s immoral policies toward the Jews of Europe and to the question of who has learned the lessons of his bigotry.

The American Jewish uproar at Trump’s actions shows first and foremost the cynicism of the leftist Jewish leadership.

It isn’t simply that left-wing activists like Hetfield and Eisner cynically ignore that Trump’s order is based on Obama’s policies, which they didn’t oppose.

It is that in their expressed concerned for would-be Muslim refugees to the US they refuse to recognize that the plight of Muslims as Muslims in places like Syria and Iraq is not the same as the plight of Christians and Yazidis as Christians and Yazidis in these lands.

The “Jews” in the present circumstances are not the Muslims, who are nowhere targeted for genocide.

The “Jews” in the present circumstances are the Christians and Yazidis and other religious minorities, whom Trump’s impassioned Jewish opponents and Obama’s impassioned Jewish champions fail to defend.

Trump’s executive order is far from perfect. But in making the distinction between the hunters and the hunted and siding with the latter against the former, Trump is showing that he is not a bigot.

Unlike his critics, he has learned the lessons of Roosevelt’s moral failure and is working to ensure that the US acts differently today.

France’s New Sharia Police

September 29, 2016

France’s New Sharia Police, Gatestone InstituteYves Mamou, September 29, 2016

Are French institutions sacrificing one freedom for another? Is equality between men and women being sacrificed to freedom of religion (Islam) to impose its diktats on French society?

If someone still does not realize that the Islamic dress code is the Trojan horse of Islamist jihad, he will learn it fast.

For years, “big brothers” have been obliging their mothers and sisters to wear a veil when they go out. Now that this job is done, they have begun to fight non-Muslim women who wear shorts and skirts — no longer just in the sensitive Muslim “no-go zones” of the suburbs, where women no longer dare to wear skirts — but now also in the heart of big cities.

“The law guarantees women, in all fields, same equal rights as men.”

What people do not seem to know is that in the heart of Paris, a Muslim man can insult a woman for drinking a cola in the street and is served in stores first, before women.

Many people evidently still do not know that Islam is a religion and a political movement at war with the West — and openly intent on subjugating the West. It must be responded to as such. The problem is, every time it is responded to as such, Muslim extremists run for cover under the claim of freedom of religion.

It is crucial for Western societies to start making a distinction between freedom of speech and incitement to violence, and to begin seriously penalizing attacks on innocents, as well as calls to attack innocents.

 

The Council of State, the highest administrative court in France, decided that, to allow freedom of religion, the burkini must not be banned. At first the ruling looked sound: why should people not be able to wear what they wish when they wish? What is not visible, however, is that the harm comes later.

If someone still does not realize that the Islamic dress code is the Trojan horse of Islamist jihad, he will learn it fast.

A few recent incidents include:

September 7. In Guingamp, Brittany, a 17-year-old girl in shorts was beaten by a man who considered her outfit “too provocative”. Although the attacker escaped, so that the police have no idea who he is or what his background might be, it is a taste of things to come.

September 7. In Toulon, southern France, two families were on a bicycle path when they were insulted by a gang of 10 “youths” (the French press uses “jeunes” [youths] in order not to say Arabs or Muslims). According to the local prosecutor, the “youths” shouted at the women, “whores!” and “strip naked!” When the women’s husbands protested, the “youths” approached and a fight began. One of the husbands was found unconscious with multiple facial fractures.

At first, the motive of the attack was reported to be linked to the women wearing shorts, but in fact the women were not wearing shorts; they were wearing leggings.

July 19. In a resort in Garde-Colombe (Alps), a Moroccan man stabbed a woman and her three daughters, apparently because they were scantily dressed. One of the girls was seriously injured. The attacker, Mohamed, says that he was the “victim,” because he claims the husband of the woman he stabbed scratched his own crotch in front of Mohamed’s wife. According to the prosecutor, “the husband of the victim does not remember having made such a gesture.”

July 7. A day-camp center in Reims, eastern France, circulated a note asking parents to avoid dressing their daughters in skirts because of the improper conduct of boys aged 10 to 12. A mother published the document on Twitter and commented on Facebook: “Obviously the idea did not occur to them that it is not for little girls to adapt their dress to big creeps, but for big creeps to get educated? ”

In early June, 18-year-old Maude Vallet was threatened and spat on by a group of girls on a bus in Toulon because she was wearing shorts. She posted a photo of herself on Facebook with the caption, “Hello, I’m a slut.” The posting was shared by more than 80,000 people. The attackers were Muslim girls, but Maude, according the “politically correct” who believe “thntdwi” (this has nothing to do with Islam), did not want to reveal their ethnic origin.

April 22. Nadia, a 16-year-old girl wearing a skirt, was severely beaten in Gennevilliers, a suburb of Paris, by three girls who were apparently Muslims.

1913Snapshots of France’s new sharia police. Left: In Toulon, 18-year-old Maude Vallet was threatened and spat on by a group of Muslim girls on a bus, because she was wearing shorts. She posted a photo of herself on Facebook with the caption, “Hello, I’m a slut.” Right: In a resort in Garde-Colombe, a Moroccan man stabbed a woman and her three daughters on July 19, apparently because they were scantily dressed.

These cases were dramatically publicized in all media, both official and social. Ironically, however, none of these incidents triggered the international attention and outrage that greeted a Burkini incident in Nice: A woman, apparently Muslim, was lying alone on a beach with no towel, no book, no parasol, no sunglasses, no husband (or brother, or father) to “protect” her, in the full glare of the midday sun near a police post — with a photographer nearby ready and waiting to take pictures of her surrounded by four policemen. Who alerted them? The woman was issued a fine and possibly ordered to remove some of her clothes on the beach. Pictures of the incident were first published on August 23 by the Daily Mail and within minutes went viral, provoking international indignation against these seemingly racist French people discriminating against innocent Arab women. A week later, however, the Daily Mail suggested that this incident may well have been “staged” and the “pictures may be SET UP.”

So the real question is: Are Islamists in France now using photos and videos, the way the Palestinians are doing against Israel: to film and disseminate fake and staged situations in order to provoke global indignation about supposedly poor Muslim “victims” — especially women who are allegedly “discriminated against” in France?

If fabricated propaganda is allowed to persist, the defrauders will win a big war.

“In the war that Islamism is leading with determination against civilization, women are becoming a real issue,” said Berenice Levet, author and professor of philosophy at the École Polytechnique to the daily Le Figaro.

She added:

“Rather than produce figures that say everything and nothing, I want it recognized once and for all that if today the roles of the genders are forced to regress in France, if domination and patriarchy are spreading in our country, this fact is related exclusively to our having imported Muslim values.”

Ironically, at the same moment, France’s Minister for Family, Children and Women’s Rights, Laurence Rossignol, decided to spend public money on an ad campaign against “ordinary sexism” — the supposed sexism by all French men against supposedly eternally victimized women. But there was not a word in this campaign about the possible victimization or potential outcome from the increasing proliferation of the burqa, veil or burkinis on Muslim women.

Commenting the ad campaign, Berenice Levet added:

“Laurence Rossignol should read Géraldine Smith’s book, Rue Jean-Pierre Timbaud. Une vie de famille entre barbus et bobos (“Jean-Pierre Timbaud Street: The life of a family among bearded men [Islamists] and Bohemians”). She would learn — among other things — that in some stores or bakeries, men are served first, before women.”

In this book, we can learn also that in the heart of Paris, a Muslim can insult a woman for drinking a cola in the street. But for many, including Rossignol, it seems the only enemy is the white Frenchman.

Two serious questions are at stake:

  • Are sharia police emerging in France?
  • Are French institutions sacrificing one freedom for another? Is the principle of equality between men and women being sacrificed to freedom of religion (Islam) to impose its diktats on French society?

Sharia Police

In France, no organized Islamist brigades patrol the streets (as in Germany or Britain) to fight alcohol consumption or to beat women for the way they are dressed. Yet gangs of “youths”, again, both men and women, are increasingly doing just that in practice. For years now, “big brothers” have been obliging their mothers and sisters to wear a veil when they go out. And now that this job is done, they have begun to fight non-Muslim women who wear shorts and skirts — no longer just in the sensitive Muslim enclaves, the “no-go zones” of the suburbs, where women no longer dare to wear skirts — but now also in the heart of big cities.

More and more, the equivalent of “Islamist Virtue Police” try to impose those standards by violence. As Celine Pina, former regional councilor of Île-de-France, said in Le Figaro:

“In the last recorded attack [on the families in Toulon], with cries of “whores” and “strip naked”, the young men were behaving as a “virtue police” that we had thought impossible here in our parts…

“It cannot be expressed more clearly: it is a command to modesty as a social norm and self-censorship as a behavioral norm… [it]… illustrates the rejection of the female body, seen as inherently impure and dirty…

“The question of the burkini, the proliferation of full veils, assaults against women in shorts and the beating of their companions, share the same logic. Making body of the woman a social and political issue, a marker of the progress of an ideology within society.”

Laurent Bouvet, a professor of political science, noticed on his Facebook page that after the men were beaten in Toulon, so-called human rights organizations — supposedly “professionals” of “anti-racism” — remained silent in the debate.

The prosecutor of #Toulon said: “the fight was trigger by a women’s dress code. These women were not wearing shorts… Sexism is undeniable. Where are the professionals of public indignation?”

Laurence Rossignol, Minister for Women’s Rights, remained silent too. So a new rule has emerged in France: the more politicians and institutions do not want to criticize Islamists norms, the more violent the debate on social networks.

Equality between Men and Women or Freedom of (Islamic) Religion?

The silence of politicians and human rights organizations, when non-Muslim women are violently assaulted because they wear shorts that are not compatible with sharia — as opposed to their thundering indignation against police for issuing a fine to a Muslim woman in a burkini — signals an immensely important political and institutional move: A fundamental and constitutional principle, equality between men and women, is being sacrificed in the name of freedom of religion, thereby enabling one religion (Islam) to impose its diktats on the rest of society.

Studying the burkini case in Nice, Blandine Kriegel, philosopher and former president of Haut Conseil à l’intégration (High Council of Integration) published an analysis in which she establishes that in the burkini case, secularism or individual freedom were not even in danger in the first place. But “fundamentally an openly, the principle of equality between men and women” was surrendered:

In its remarkable ordinance, the Council of State refers to the jurisprudence of 1909 concerning the wearing of a cassock and does not pay attention to more recent laws voted on by sovereign people, prohibiting the veil at school (2004) and burqa in public places (2010).

The Council of state did not feel inspired either by the constitutional commitment towards women: “the law guarantees women, in all fields, same equal rights as men.”

In the burkini affair, neither secularism nor individual freedom is at stake; but fundamentally and openly the principle of equality between men and women. … This term “burkini” integrates intentionally the word “burqa”; this word does not express the desire to go swimming at the beach (nothing prohibits this); or the affirmation of a religious freedom (no mayor has ever prohibited the exercise of the Muslim religion); the word burkini express only the essential inequality of women.

Contrary to their husbands, who feel free to exhibit their nudity, some women must be covered from head to toe. Not only because they are impure, but mostly because of the legal status conferred to them: they are under the private law of the husband, the father or the community.

The Republic cannot accept something opposed to its laws and values. Inequality of women cannot be defended on the ground of religious freedom… of freedom of conscience. This issue was addressed three centuries ago by our European philosophers, who are founding fathers of the Republic. To those who were legitimating oppression, slavery and inequality were merely the expression of free will, explained the French philosopher Jean-Jacques Rousseau, inspiring our 1789 Declaration [of the Rights of Man and of the Citizen], and that freedom and equality are inalienable possessions.

France’s socialist government and administrative judges have apparently found it politically useful to make concessions to Islamists. Perhaps they originally agreed to burkinis not only because they may think that people should wear what they like, but also in the vain hope of calming down the permanent pressure that increasingly appears to be a cultural jihad. It may not even have occurred to them that they were potentially sacrificing the principle of equality of women.

Many people evidently still do not know that Islam is a religion and a political movement at war with the West — and openly intent on subjugating the West. It must be responded to as such. The problem is, every time it is responded to as such, Muslim extremists run for cover under the claim of freedom of religion.

It is high time for French and European politicians to draw a hard line between where one person’s right to worship as they see fit ends, and where society’s right to freedom and security begins. And it is time to outlaw, not necessarily the burkini, but the very real problem of aggressive supremacism.

The root problem is incitement to violence. It is crucial for Western societies to start making a distinction between freedom of speech and incitement to violence, and to begin seriously penalizing attacks on innocents, as well as calls to attack innocents.

Polygamy: Europe’s Hidden Statistic

June 5, 2016

Polygamy: Europe’s Hidden Statistic, Gatestone InstituteJudith Bergman, June 5, 2016

♦ The sheer volume of polygamous marriages shows that such marriages are also entered into in Europe, in secret, through Islamic marriage ceremonies conducted by imams. In most European countries, imams are not required to report these marriages to the authorities.

♦ Daham Al Hasan fled from Syria to Denmark, leaving behind his three wives and 20 children. Under the Danish rules of family unification, one of his wives and eight of his children have joined him in Denmark. But Al Hasan wants all his children with him, as well as all his wives. Lawyers estimate that the remaining wives will be able to join their children in Denmark. The case has caused a shock not only because of what it will cost the Danish state just in child allowance, but because Al Hassan claims that he is too ill to work or even learn Danish. “I don’t only have mental problems, but also physical problems…” He has admitted that his “mental illness” consists of missing the children he voluntarily left behind.

♦ Even if theoretically women can go to the police or press charges, they run the risk of being beaten or possibly divorced. Women’s shelters are “full of Muslim women.”

♦ The spokeswoman of Germany’s Federal Employment Agency said that the establishment of a central registry of Islamic marriages would be helpful for investigating claims of fraud.

A few years ago, Sweden’s Center Party, one of the four parties in the center-right governing coalition at the time, proposed legalizing polygamy. The idea caused outrage; the proposal was dropped. The party’s youth division, however, refused to let go: “We think it is important for the individual to decide how many people he or she wants to marry,” said Hanna Wagenius, head of Center Youth, predicting that polygamy would be legal in ten years, when her generation would enter parliament and make sure of it.

Sweden is not the only place in Scandinavia where “idealistic” youths have advocated polygamy. In 2012, the youth division of Denmark’s Radikale Venstre Party (“Radical Left”), then part of the governing coalition in Denmark, also proposed that polygamy should be legalized in Denmark. The move came four years after an Iraqi asylum seeker, who had worked for the Danish military in Iraq as a translator and then fled to Denmark, arrived with two wives. As Denmark does not recognize bigamy and as he refused to divorce his second wife, he returned to Iraq. “It is unacceptable that we are so narrow-minded in Denmark, and will not help a man who has helped us. We want to do something about that,” Ditte Søndergaard, head of Radikale Venstre Youth, said at the time. The proposal, however, did not find favor with any of the other political parties.

As far-fetched as these proposals may sound, they signify the shifts taking place in the West regarding fundamental ethical issues of gender equality and the willingness to accommodate Islamic sharia law. They are also proof of an enduring willful blindness to the detrimental effects of the practice of polygamy, not only in terms of financial costs to the state, but also to the Muslim women and children, whose rights these young politicians purport to support.

Muslim polygamy is only rarely debated in the media. The practice, therefore, despite its spread across the European continent — spanning, among other countries, Sweden, Denmark, the UK, Germany, France and the Netherlands — continues largely to hide under the public radar. As the practice is illegal across the continent and therefore not supposed to exist, there are no official statistics of polygamous marriages anywhere in Europe.

Several countries, such as the UK, the Netherlands, Sweden and France, nevertheless recognize Muslim polygamous marriages if they were contracted abroad under certain circumstances, such as if polygamy is legal in the country where the marriage took place. It is estimated that as many as 20,000 polygamous Muslim marriages exist in Britain. In France, as polygamy was legal until 1993, the minimum estimate as early as 2006 was around 20,000 polygamous marriages. In Germany, it was estimated in 2012 that, in Berlin alone, 30% of all Arab men were married to more than one wife.

In April, Swedish professor Göran Lind argued that it was time to “put one’s foot down” regarding polygamy in Sweden, after it was disclosed that Sweden had recognized “hundreds” of polygamous marriages contracted abroad. Professor Lind pointed out that polygamy is not compatible with Swedish law, especially the principles of equal treatment of spouses, the equality of all human beings, and the prohibition against discrimination on the basis of gender, as codified in the European Convention on Human Rights. One might add to those the principles enshrined in the UN’s Convention on the Elimination of All Discrimination Against Women, article 16, according to which,

“States Parties shall take all appropriate measures to eliminate discrimination against women in all matters relating to marriage and family relations and in particular shall ensure, on a basis of equality of men and women:

“(a) The same right to enter into marriage;

“(b) The same right freely to choose a spouse and to enter into marriage only with their free and full consent.”

Considering how much time leading European politicians spend on assuring their electorates of their dedication to human rights, their tacit acceptance of these glaring violations of women’s rights, as enshrined in the above conventions, which polygamy constitutes, is rather peculiar.

The sheer volume of polygamous marriages, however, attests to the fact that such marriages are also entered into in Europe, in secret, through Islamic marriage ceremonies conducted by imams. In most European countries, imams are not required to report these marriages to the authorities. Therefore, despite the probable knowledge of the authorities, this illegal practice is basically allowed to flourish unhindered. As Islamic marriage does not legally exist in Europe, the woman entering into the union is left legally stranded and vulnerable with no means — other than the local imam or sharia council — of getting out of the marriage. Even if women can theoretically go to the police or press charges, they run the risk of being beaten or possibly divorced. Women’s shelters are “full of Muslim women,” as Ayaan Hirsi Ali, who worked in them, attests.

Polygamous Muslim marriages are bound to become an even bigger problem in the wake of the migrant crisis.

In Denmark these days, Daham Al Hasan is making headlines. He has twenty children with three wives, but two years ago fled alone from Syria to Denmark, and left his wives and children behind. Recently, under the Danish rules of family unification, one of his wives and eight of his children have joined him in Denmark. But Al Hasan wants all his children with him, as well as all his wives. He has been granted permission for nine additional children to join him, but as Denmark does not allow polygamy, the two remaining wives, under the same rules of family unification, are not permitted to join him. Lawyers, however, estimate that the remaining wives will also be able independently to join their children in Denmark, once they are there.

The case has caused rather a shock in Denmark, not only because of the extraordinary size of the family, and what it will cost the Danish state just in child allowance, but because Al Hassan claims that he is too ill to work or even to learn Danish. “I don’t only have mental problems, but also physical problems”, he says by way of explanation, “My back and my legs hurt.” He has admitted that his “mental illness” consists of missing the children he voluntarily left behind. This means that he and his family live exclusively off the Danish taxpayers’ money.

What is noteworthy about the current debate, however, is what is not being debated: namely that Al Hassan is a polygamist. While it is only natural that politicians and citizens feel violated and aggrieved about the financial costs to the Danish state, they should be equally concerned about the practice of polygamy. Yet not a single Danish feminist has spoken out about it.

In the television documentary, “Sharia in Denmark”, several imams recorded on a secret camera answered in the affirmative and without the least hesitation the question of whether a woman’s husband was allowed to take another wife against his first wife’s wish. For them, in fact, despite the fact that they live in a country where bigamy and polygamy are prohibited, for a man to take a second, third or fourth wife regardless of what any of them thought, seemed perfectly natural.

A qualitative study about Muslim women in Denmark from 2009, performed by Tina Magaard for the Danish Ministry of Welfare, documented the practice of polygamy among Danish Muslims. One Turkish woman told the interviewers:

“A growing group of women marries a man who is already married. They get married by an imam because then they become more accepted. Apparently, they have no alternative. They become ostracized if they were divorced and are on their own. Many would rather live a life where they get an identity — then they belong somewhere and then they are accepted. And it is sad that it exists in Denmark. I think if they could count the numbers, which is very difficult, they are probably much higher than we think.”

Another woman, a Muslim convert, said:

“This [polygamy] is something that I have really seen a lot of, there was a period when it became fashionable. I think it was five or six years ago, it was crazy, I think almost every second couple I knew, the man got himself an extra wife. But then, after a year or so, he regretted it or he divorced the first wife. I actually think there were twelve from my circle of friends where the husband got himself another wife.”

In a German documentary from 2013, the journalists found that Muslim men used polygamy as a means to commit fraud and obtain more welfare benefits. The tactic was to have their wives claim at the Employment Center that they were single women who did not know the father of their children. The story works because Germany, like other European countries, has no way of ascertaining the existence of an Islamic marriage, especially as German law does not obligate women to inform the authorities of their marital status.

In the film, the journalists asked the spokeswoman of the Federal Employment Agency — the supervisor of the local Employment Agencies responsible for paying out welfare benefits — whether the Federal Employment Agency was aware of the many instances of fraud. The woman said that they were indeed aware of the polygamy and the ensuing fraud and even enumerated the places where it was rife: large cities in Western Germany, such as Berlin, Cologne and Frankfurt. The journalist then asked the woman why nothing was being done about it. “I believe these cultural differences are very sensitive, we are a very tolerant country,” the woman said. Asked whether the Federal Employment Agency was perhaps too tolerant, the woman said that indeed she herself was wondering how it will all end.

The woman then said that the establishment of a central registry of Islamic marriages would be most helpful and desirable, as it would make possible investigating claims of fraud; but that this was a matter for the politicians.

“How will it all end?” Not well.

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