Polygamy no threat to Aussie way of life, claim Muslim leaders

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Melbourne, June 26 : Australia's Islamic community members have said that a small number of Victorian Muslims are living in polygamist relationships, but shouldn't be seen as a threat to country's way of life.

Some Muslim men, mainly from Sudan, Jordan or Egypt, have immigrated with two or more wives, but their multiple marriages are not recognised by the Australian law.

A handful of them have also approached local imams seeking permission for a second marriage, but are generally informed that polygamy is illegal in Australia.

Islamic community leader Yasser Soliman said polygamist marriages were rare in Australia but it did occur, news.com.au reported.

"I have heard of some occasions where women have been asked to become a second wife," Soliman said.

"While the issue should be discussed in an open democracy like Australia, I don't think it should be discussed in terms of any threat to the Australian way of life," he added.

Soliman said polygamy was also seen in Christian and secular communities overseas.

Earlier, Sydney cleric Sheik Khalil Chami has questioned whether the law should be changed to allow polygamist marriages on cultural or religious grounds.

Islamic community spokesman Keysar Trad had said that he once considered taking a second wife, but decided against it.

Trad said Australia should look at British laws that gave legal protection to women in a polygamist relationship.

Attorney-General Robert McClelland had said that the law would not change.

"Polygamous relationships are and will remain unlawful," he added.

ANI

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