Posted tagged ‘Fraud’

Full Measure A-Block 04/23/2017 Ghost Soldiers

April 24, 2017

Full Measure A-Block 04/23/2017 Ghost Soldiers via YouTube, April 24, 2017

 

Odeh Adds Israel-Hating Lawyer, Fights Psych Evaluation

July 29, 2016

Odeh Adds Israel-Hating Lawyer, Fights Psych Evaluation, Investigative Project on Terrorism, July 29, 2016

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Editor’s note: For details on the Rasmieh Odeh case and the intense support behind her, see our series, “Spinning a Terrorist Into a Victim,” here.

As she fights to block a psychological examination by a government expert, convicted Palestinian terrorist Rasmieh Odeh added a new member to her defense team, one who shares her intense hatred for Israel.

Huwaida Arraf helped organize the 2010 flotilla aimed at breaking Israel’s blockade of Gaza by delivering humanitarian supplies. The blockade was implemented to prevent the Hamas government and other terrorists from smuggling materials that can be used to make bombs and rockets. The flotilla, and similar convoys which claimed to be delivering aid to Palestinians in Gaza, worked closely with Hamas officials in Gaza.

The flotilla ended in a violent confrontation on one ship after passengers attacked Israeli soldiers with knives, pipes and other weapons. Arraf was on a separate ship, but still is suing the Israeli government claiming mistreatment when the flotilla was intercepted. Among the allegations, her handcuffs were too tight.

Odeh, meanwhile, is trying to persuade a federal judge in Detroit to grant her a new trial for naturalization fraud. She was convicted in 2014, but an appeals court ruling could lead to a new trial in which jurors would hear Odeh’s claim that she suffers from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), supported by her own psychologist’s testimony.

When applying for a visa to come to the United States, and later when she sought naturalization as an American citizen, Odeh failed to disclose her arrest, conviction and 10 year imprisonment in Israel for her role in a lethal 1969 Jerusalem supermarket bombing that killed two college students.

During her trial, immigration officials testified that Odeh never would have been allowed into the United States, let alone granted citizenship, had they been informed of her terrorist history.

Odeh claims the omission was unintentional, the result of PTSD she suffers from due to alleged torture while in Israeli custody. Her confession, she says, also was the result of the alleged torture.

There is no physical evidence for this claim, and it has been contradicted by records created at the time and by Odeh’s own testimony two years ago.

Such testimony was barred during the original trial, but the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals ruled in February that U.S. District Judge Gershwin A. Drain’s ruling was flawed. The appellate court remanded the case, saying there might be other reasons that are legally valid to exclude the PTSD testimony.

That will be determined at a hearing scheduled for Nov. 27. If Drain rules that the PTSD testimony should be heard, Odeh would get a new trial in January. If not, the conviction stands, pending another likely appeal.

But the judge who must decide whether such testimony is both relevant and valid should rely solely on the defense’s expert, Odeh’s attorneys argued in court papers last week.

Any additional mental evaluation carries “the grave risk … [of] a serious aggravation of her symptoms and the suffering they cause her,” the defense argued.

The government review is described as inherently hostile and “bent on” discrediting Odeh. This, the defense reply says, “will plunge [Odeh] to the depths of ghastly ‘flashback’ memories which have afflicted her life for all these years…”

The one opinion from their own psychologist, they argue, is sufficient.

A second opinion, prosecutors argued in requesting a second opinion, is necessary.

“At present,” they wrote, “the only information the Court has before it is the testimony of the defense expert herself based only on her own examination of the defendant. This Court cannot make an informed decision about the reliability and competence of the defense expert’s conclusions based on that expert’s word alone.”

Arraf is among the attorneys listed on the brief. She formally joined the defense team last week.

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She served as interim board chair for the Free Gaza Movement, which advocates for a Palestinian right of return “without delay to their homes in Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories.” Creating such a right would threaten to flood Israel demographically, challenging its existence as a Jewish state.

Arraf advocates boycotts against Israel and calls the right of return “a matter of time.”

The flotilla’s objectives and actions were rejected by a United Nations investigative panel. This is striking because of the UN’s willingness to condemn Israel often, while overlooking tremendous human rights abuses elsewhere in the Middle East and throughout the world, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Syria, China, Russia and more.

Last year, UN Watch director Hillel Neuer tallied UN condemnations, finding 61 targeting Israel, while the rest of the world garnered only 55 such statements.

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In its report on the 2010 flotilla, the UN found that the six ships involved carried very little actual humanitarian aid supplies. “The number of journalists embarked on the ships gives further power to the conclusion that the flotilla’s primary purpose was to generate publicity,” it said.

In addition, “the flotilla rejected offers to unload any essential humanitarian supplies at other ports and have them delivered to Gaza by land. These offers were made even during the voyage.” Investigators found evidence that Hamas planned a reception for the flotilla.

In her lawsuit against the Israeli government, Arraf alleges she was “arbitrarily detained and forced to adopt a kneeling position while being hooded for an extended period of time and placed in handcuffs that were too tight.”

The UN report, however, called it “a dangerous and reckless act” to “deliberately seek to breach a blockade in a convoy with a large number of passengers.”

Worse for flotilla advocates, the UN acknowledged that “Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.”

That threat endures, as Hamas openly digs as many attack tunnels along its border with Israel as it can, at the cost of diverting materials that could be used to build housing for Palestinians and restore its crumbling infrastructure.

Arraf’s lawsuit claims the blockade is illegal despite the UN finding to the contrary.

Now she’s helping Odeh, convicted of killing two Israelis and more recently convicted of lying about it to U.S. immigration officials, argue that a wholly unsubstantiated claim – Odeh’s supposed torture in Israeli custody and resulting PTSD – should be accepted by the court and presented to a jury unchecked.

Prosecutors describe Odeh “as the principal architect” of the 1969 bombing which killed students Leon Kanner and Edward Joffe. And Odeh’s statements over time contradict the current defense claim that she is emotionally incapable of discussing it.

In her first trial, and in a 2004 documentary, Odeh presented dramatically different stories about the 1969 terrorist bombing, her role in it and her ability to remember it.

Naturalization forms ask whether the applicant has ever been arrested, convicted or imprisoned. The word “ever” is set off in bold, upper-cased letters. Barred by court rulings against invoking the PTSD claim, Odeh testified that she thought the word “ever” applied only to her life in the United States, and not before.  Had she understood the questions better, she would not have hesitated to mention her Israeli record.

“It’s not [a] secret that I have been in the jail,” she testified. “Everybody knows.”

And while she says she has difficulty thinking about that trauma, she claims specific memory of her naturalization interview more than a decade ago.

The immigration official who interviewed Odeh testified that she clarifies for all applicants that the question applies to “anywhere in the world.” Odeh insisted she remembered the interview and this did not happen in her case.

She is equally adamant in claiming she is not guilty of the terrorist bombing. But in the documentary, which came out the same year Odeh applied for naturalization and claimed to have no arrest record, she visited with a co-conspirator in the 1969 Supersol bombing. Odeh sat and listened as her friend said it was Rasmieh who “dragged me into military work” and who was more involved than I was” in the grocery store bombing.

She described scouting the targeted supermarket in terms that matched the confession given to Israeli authorities. That confession, Cornell University Law Professor William Jacobson first noted, came a day after her arrest, long before the abuse she now alleges took place. Odeh says she broke after 25 days of torture.

But given the chance to make a torture allegation in 1969, Odeh’s father had little to say. An American consulate official who met with him while she was in custody reported “uncomfortable, overcrowded jail conditions, but he apparently [is] receiving no rpt [repeat] no worse than standard treatment afforded majority detainees at Jerusalem jail.”

In addition, Odeh discussed her role in the Supersol bombing, and in a second bombing at the British Consulate that caused only property damage, in a 1980 Journal of Palestine Studies article that remains online.

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“Actually we placed two bombs,” she said, “the first was found before it went off so we placed another.”

Arraf posted on Twitter that she is “honored” to defend someone who killed two Israelis. That’s not surprising.

The Washington Post’s Chronic CAIRless Syndrome

June 30, 2016

The Washington Post’s Chronic CAIRless Syndrome, Camera.org, June 29, 2016

(Sad but hardly exceptional. The “legitimate” media rarely present facts to dispute the Obama administration’s propaganda machine. — DM)

Why do Washington Post reporters and editorial systematically keep relevant background about the Council on American Islamic Relations from readers?

CAMERA has questioned Post coverage of CAIR—an unindicted co-conspirator in the United States’ biggest terrorism funding trial to date—for years. No answer has been forthcoming, not even after CAMERA provided the newspaper’s last three ombudsmen with public record information casting doubt on CAIR’s self-portrait as a civil rights advocate for Muslim Americans.

The late Deborah Howell, Post ombudsman from 2005 to 2008, told CAMERA’s Washington office she had brought its complaint to the newsroom’s attention but, in essence, staffers rebuffed discussion of it. And The Post has continued citing CAIR as a credible source, virtually never telling readers that, among other things:

*In that 2009 federal case, the Holy Land Foundation for Relief and Development retrial, five men were sentenced to prison for raising more than $12 million for Hamas. Hamas is the Palestinian Islamic Resistance Movement, a U.S.-government designated terrorist organization. Receiving a 65-year term was Ghassan Elashi, co-founder of CAIR’s Texas chapter;

*In an out-of-court settlement of a suit it brought, the council reduced libel claims to omit contesting assertions it was founded by Hamas members, founded by Islamic terrorists and funded by Hamas supporters;

*Including Elashi, at least five former CAIR lay leaders or staffers have been arrested, convicted and/or deported on weapons or terrorism charges; and

*A council “media guide” to proper reporting of Islamic issues was “pure propaganda,” according to Investor’s Business Daily.

All this and more can be found in CAMERA’s 2009 Special Report, “The Council on American Islamic Relations: Civil Rights, or Extremism?” copies of which have been provided to Post staffers on numerous occasions.

Giving CAIR a pass. And another. And another

CAMERA has not urged The Post, or other news outlets, to ignore CAIR. Rather, it repeatedly has recommended that the newspaper and other media provide the minimum context necessary. Readers reasonably ought to be able to determine for themselves whether the council is, as it implies, a Muslim American version of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) or the ADL (Anti-Defamation League), or, as its history indicates, a Muslim Brotherhood derivative.

But no. When it comes to CAIR, The Post has its back. Among recent examples:

*“How the Trump campaign decided to target Muslims; Influenced by 9/11, candidate and aides focused on ‘radical Islam,’” June 22, 2016. CAIR’s Corey Saylor, director of its “department to monitor and combat Islamophobia” is quoted. No information about CAIR is included;

“After Orlando, anxiety fills Muslim congregations; Worshipers in nightclub shooter’s town, already enduring epithets, worry about what might come next,” June 19. This Post report cites “Omar Saleh, a lawyer with the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Florida chapter, which has offered free legal assistance to the Muslim community in which [Omar] Mateen [who committed the Orlando nightclub massacre] lived.” Again, no background on CAIR;

*“Trump’s broadside after massacre shakes Islamic group,” June 15. The feature leads with, and follows uncritically, CAIR’s claims of rising anti-Muslim sentiments and actions across the United States. Yet again, nothing in the article would flag the organization’s credibility for readers;

*“‘It could get a lot worse for Muslims in America’,” a May 4 Op-Ed by Post columnist Dana Milbank. Writing “[Presumptive Republican Party presidential nominee Donald] Trump can’t be blamed for everything his followers do. But his ascent has coincided with a rise in the number of anti-Muslim incidents to the highest level the Council on American-Islamic Relations has ever found.” Readers are not told that CAIR has a history of exaggerated claims about anti-Muslim activity. Nor are they reminded that, the council’s old and new warnings of “Islamophobia” notwithstanding, according to FBI hate crime statistics Jews still are members of the religious group most likely to be targeted. In 2014, for example, of more than 1,100 reported hate crimes based on religion, nearly 57 percent aimed at Jews, 16 percent at Muslims.

Coincidentally, while The Post repeatedly presented CAIR as a credible source, including reporting its post-Orlando offer of legal assistance, the U.S. Appeals Court for the District of Columbia ruled that the council should be tried for fraud. The case involves hundreds of people who had relied on CAIR for legal aid. See “CAIR to Stand Trial for Massive Fraud; The Council on American Islamic Relations is now charged with fraud and cover-up perpetrated against hundreds of Muslims,” The Clarion Project, June 22. The project is a non-profit organization that describes itself as “fighting extremism, promoting dialogue.”

If a tree falls on you in the forest

The Post does not appear to have covered the appeals verdict. A Nexis search indicates no U.S. newspapers did.

The Clarion Project, like CAMERA, like historian and publisher of Middle East Quarterly Daniel Pipes, The Investigative Project on Terrorism’s Steven Emerson and many others have been listed, or better, putatively black-listed, in a CAIR report. The council tars them as key players in an imagined national network fostering Islamophobia. The report, referred to obliquely by The Post in its June 15 article, is risible, slanderous and potentially libelous.

Asked about it by KPFA-FM radio, Berkeley, Cal., CAMERA replied, in part:

“CAIR’s self-described study of ‘Islamophobic networks’ alleges ‘CAMERA is pervasively inaccurate and disguises its anti-Muslim agenda by omitting important information.” ‘Pervasively inaccurate’ sweepingly implies a pattern of error. Yet the study appears to supply not one example. The allegation itself is not only pervasively inaccurate, it is slanderously and perhaps libelously so.

“As to our supposed camouflaged ‘anti-Muslim agenda,’ again, where are the examples? The one specific mention is of our ISNA [Islamic Society of North America] Special Report—but nothing in the report itself is quoted. Perhaps because it can’t be; CAIR attempts a weak smokescreen, confessing ‘unlike other Islamophobic organizations, CAMERA does not communicate obvious bigotry in their literature.’ (See CAMERA’s Special Report, “The Islamic Society of North America: Active, Influential and Rooted in the Muslim Brotherhood,” 2012)

“In fact, CAMERA does not communicate bigotry at all. But it’s our contention, which we believe the public record amply supports, that CAIR’s objective is not so much to fight anti-Muslim prejudice but to use the cry of ‘Islamophobia’ to censor discussion and analysis of Islamic extremism.”

FBI Director James Comey said that last year the bureau had more than 900 active cases, some in each of the 50 states, into suspected Islamic State sympathizers or other potential terrorists. George Washington University’s Program on Extremism noted the arrests in the United States in 2015 of 56 individuals on suspicion of plotting on behalf of or otherwise supporting the Islamic State. (See “Washington Times Notes Record Terror Levels,” CAMERA, Dec. 7, 2015.) Islamophobia, or newsworthy information?

Islamic extremism short of terrorist radicalization also would seem to be newsworthy, by definition. But not apparently to CAIR, which purports to find “Islamophobia” everywhere. As the Clarion Project notes, “CAIR wages an unrelenting campaign to discredit its critics as anti-Muslim bigots and moderate Muslims as puppets of an “Islamophobia network” (“Special Report: The Council on American Islamic Relations; Fact Sheet”. The paper covers some of the same material as CAMERA’s Special Report on CAIR, but extends the period under review through 2013.)

In relying uncritically on CAIR as a source, The Washington Post and other news media undercut themselves and short-change readers, listeners and viewers. The question is why? The answer would be newsworthy.

D.C. Circuit: CAIR Must Stand Trial for Massive Fraud

June 21, 2016

D.C. Circuit: CAIR Must Stand Trial for Massive Fraud, American Freedom Law Center, June 21, 2016

The United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit today unanimously reversed a trial court’s ruling dismissing a fraud case brought against the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).  The result of the appellate court’s ruling is that CAIR National, operating out of the District of Columbia, must stand trial and allow a jury to hear all of the evidence of the massive fraud and attempted cover up carried out by CAIR and perpetrated against hundreds of CAIR fraud victims.

In January of last year, Judge Paul Friedman, the federal judge presiding over a five-year old lawsuit alleging that CAIR defrauded hundreds of Muslim and non-Muslim clients, issued a shocking ruling when he summarily dismissed the lawsuit, which was brought in the U.S. District Court for the District of Columbia.

Immediately, the American Freedom Law Center (AFLC) and the Law Offices of David Yerushalmi appealed, asking the D.C. Circuit to reverse Judge Friedman and reinstate the plaintiffs’ claims against CAIR.

The appellate court heard oral arguments in February of this year.  Judge Sri Srinivasan, often mentioned as one of the judge’s on the President’s short list to fill a slot on the U.S. Supreme Court, sat as Chief Judge for the 3-judge panel that also included Judge Robert Wilkins, who authored the unanimous decision, and Judge Douglas Ginsburg.

David Yerushalmi, lead counsel for the five plaintiffs in the two consolidated cases alleging that CAIR hired a fake lawyer who defrauded the CAIR clients, explained the decisiveness of the appellate court’s ruling:

“The Court of Appeals not only reversed the trial court, sending the case back for a jury trial, but it carefully went through each fact we argued Judge Friedman either dismissed out-of-hand or ignored completely to justify his clearly erroneous ruling, explaining further why each fact supports our claims against CAIR.”

CAIR, a self-described Muslim public interest law firm, was previously named as a Muslim Brotherhood-Hamas front group by the FBI and the U.S. Attorney’s Office in the federal criminal trial and conviction of a terrorist funding cell organized around one of the largest Muslim charities, the Holy Land Foundation (HLF).  HLF raised funds for violent jihad on behalf of Hamas, and top CAIR officials were part of the conspiracy.  In addition, several of CAIR’s top executives have been convicted of terror-related crimes.  As a result, the FBI publicly announced that it has terminated any outreach activities with the national organization, which bills itself as “America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization.”

The two lawsuits dismissed by Judge Friedman, which were consolidated by the court because they arose out of the same facts, follow an earlier lawsuit that had also alleged that CAIR’s fraudulent conduct amounted to racketeering, a federal RICO crime.  In that case, the court dismissed the RICO counts, concluding that CAIR’s conduct as alleged was fraudulent but not a technical violation of RICO.

The pending lawsuits allege that Morris Days, the “Resident Attorney” and “Manager for Civil Rights” at the now defunct CAIR-MD/VA chapter in Herndon, Virginia, was in fact not an attorney and that he failed to provide legal services for clients who came to CAIR for legal representation.  As alleged, CAIR knew of this fraud and purposefully conspired with Days to keep the CAIR clients from discovering that their legal matters were being mishandled or not handled at all.  Furthermore, the complaints allege that according to CAIR internal documents, there were hundreds of victims of the CAIR fraud scheme.

According to court documents, CAIR knew or should have known that Days was not a lawyer when it hired him.  But, like many criminal organizations, things got worse when CAIR officials were confronted with clear evidence of Days’ fraudulent conduct.  Rather than come clean and attempt to rectify past wrongs, CAIR conspired with its Virginia Chapter to conceal and further the fraud.

To this end, CAIR officials purposefully concealed the truth about Days from their clients, law enforcement, the Virginia and D.C. state bar associations, and the media.  When CAIR did get irate calls from clients about Days’ failure to provide competent legal services, CAIR fraudulently deceived their clients about Days’ relationship to CAIR, suggesting he was never actually employed by CAIR, and even concealing the fact that CAIR had fired him once some of the victims began threatening to sue.

While Judge Friedman agreed that Days and CAIR’s Virginia chapter were liable for fraud, he concluded, after improperly weighing the evidence, that CAIR National in D.C., the named defendant in the lawsuit, was not responsible for Days’ fraudulent conduct.  The appeals court, however, found that Judge Friedman was wrong on each and every fact raised by the plaintiffs, concluding, contrary to Judge Friedman, that each fact supports finding a direct relationship between CAIR National and Days.

David Yerushalmi, who is also AFLC’s co-founder and senior counsel, remarked:

“CAIR engaged in a massive criminal fraud in which literally hundreds of CAIR clients have been victimized.  In his ruling, Judge Friedman inexplicably ignored material facts that establish CAIR National’s liability and then engaged in a transparently disingenuous ‘weighing’ of the factual evidence he did address, which is patently improper when evaluating cross-motions for summary judgment.  We are thankful that the appeals court has rectified the trial court’s errors.  Now, at long last, our clients will go before a jury and get their day in court.”

Robert Muise, co-founder and senior counsel of AFLC, added,

“This ruling is a significant victory.  Not only does it reinstate our claims against CAIR, but it makes plain that we have an incredibly strong case to present to a jury.  In short, CAIR has no way out.  It is a fraudulent organization, and we will get a chance to prove that to a jury.”

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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