The princess and the MCB

A religion allows men to have multiple wives. What could possibly go wrong?

When Dr Zabina Shahian married Pervez Choudhry she thought he would be the man with whom she would settle down for the rest of her life and start a family.

But she did not know the former Conservative party leader on Slough Borough Council was still married.

Choudhry, 54, who claimed he did not realise the marriage in Pakistan was legally valid in the UK, was given a community order after admitting bigamy.

A “devastated” Dr Shahian now wants to help other women who are victims of polygamous marriages – a practice a leading family lawyer says is “rife” within the British Muslim community.

Jeez, what a princess. What’s her problem? Just because he gets two and she gets half? He’s a man. Men need more. More what? More everything. More sex, more rights, more freedom, more power, more ability to tell women to cover up and shut up. The prophet said so.

Dr Shahian, who did not want her picture published, realises she was lucky, as a career woman, to have been able to afford the detective fees and also to have support from her family to go through with the prosecution.

However she said some members of her local South Asian Muslim community were less understanding.

“When I go down to my parents I get all the neighbours looking at me. As a Muslim woman I’m supposed to keep a low profile. I feel like I’ve committed a crime here although I’m the victim. You’re supposed to keep your mouth shut and you’re supposed to just carry on. It is impregnated into our culture.”

Princess. Feminazi. Westernized spoiled demanding princessy biatch.

But combating a cultural pressure on some Muslim women is difficult, says Dr Siddiqui. Polygamy “is so widely spread they don’t blame men having a second wife or a third or fourth wife,” he said. “They accept this is their lot.”

Sheikh Ibrahim Mogra, of the Muslim Council of Britain and who is an imam, said in the Koran it stated men were allowed to take more than one wife, but only under strict rules that included obtaining consent from the first wife and treating all wives equally and fairly.

He did not think there were many polygamous marriages in the UK but “condemned” the actions of men who flout the polygamy rules. He also described as “sad” the “cultural pressures” that prevent women standing up for justice. “Whatever cultural norms there may be, what Islam does not allow is the mistreatment of women, full stop.”

Why does the BBC think it has to consult the MCB? Why does it act as a conduit for their bullshit?



  1. says

    I guess as long as they also make a point to consult the CEMB. Maybe we should try to organise a write-to-the-press alert system (I’m not sure if ‘pharyngulation’ is the right word if you’re not actually on Pharyngula) whenever they go to one and not the other.

  2. Robert B. says

    Religious leaders should really make clear whether they’re talking about “my understanding of correct religion” and “religion as it is actually practiced.” Because as it is actually practiced, Islam not only allows but encourages, promotes, and performs the mistreatment of women, on a huge scale. I’m glad that there are Muslims who aren’t a part of that, but it happens nonetheless.

    Also, the multiple marriages issue always feels so sticky to me. Because there’s the old-school, fundamentalist legalized-harem crap like this, which is completely sexist and needs to stop, and there’s also the conscientiously ethical modern ideas of polyamory, which I support and think ought to be given equal status with two-person love partnerships. It’s hard to think of how to condense that into a single position or policy proposal in words short enough for a legislator to understand.

  3. Didaktylos says

    What happens to first wives who don’t consent – and who determines what “treating all wives fairly and equally” actually consists of?

  4. Erp says

    If I’m reading correctly the MCB is condemning men taking second wives in Britain probably because it is not possible to treat them equally (British law only recognizing one wife). Though they also seem to be understating the problem.

    This also happens in the US. I’ve been reading a bit about the divorce case of Ghassemi vs. Ghassemi. The Ghassemis were married in Iran in 1976 and had one son. In 1977 the husband went to the US as a student leaving his family behind with the understanding that they would later reunite. The husband then married a US citizen but that marriage ended in divorce a few years later. He became a US citizen in 1989 and sponsored his son (but not his Iranian wife) to come to the US in 1995. In 2002 the husband married again in Louisiana. The son eventually sponsored his mother to come to the US in 2005. She discovered her husband had taken a second wife and filed for divorce. Her husband claimed his marriage to her was invalid since (a) it took place in Iran and the US shouldn’t recognize Iranian legal actions as it was an enemy state and (b) they were first cousins (their fathers had been step brothers) and first cousin marriages aren’t recognized in Louisiana. The district court ruled the first marriage as invalid for both reasons. Mrs. Ghassemi appealed and the Appeals court overruled both grounds and sent it back to the district court (which then ruled they were married). The case still seems to be wending its way through the courts (Mr. Ghassemi appealed the recognition of the marriage and just got slapped down by the Appeals court).

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