Legalise polygamy, says Islamic leader

June 23, 2008

An Islamic leader in Australia is calling on the Federal Government to recognise polygamous marriages.

Keysar Trad from the Islamic Friendship Association of Australia says there are polygamists in the Muslim community in Australia who would like their relationships to be legal.

He has told triple j's Hack program that the women are left in a vulnerable financial position if the man dies.

"If this woman has wilfully chosen to enter into this relationship and make a lifelong commitment to this person to be married, it shouldn't matter," he said.

"If it was a business and the business had four partners we'd recognise that, but why don't we recognise it when it comes to consensual relationships amongst adults?",23599,23916410-2,00.html

Allow polygamous marriages - sheik

Sheikh Khalil Chami of the Islamic Welfare Centre in Sydney's Lakemba today said polygamous marriages, although illegal, existed in Australia and should be recognised.

"... Not an open door but in a way everyone will have control," he told Triple J radio's Hack program.

"It's a bit hard, very difficult, but unless we face it, how (do) we overcome it?

"If you know there is law that will help you, there is community will help you. Why not? Why not change the law?"

Sheikh Chami said he was asked almost weekly to conduct polygamous religious ceremonies.

While he declined to perform such ceremonies, he said, other sheikhs did not.

"There are a lot of sheikhs here without any qualifications, without any place," he said.

"They'll conduct that marriage no problem at all."