Friday, December 29, 2006

Indonesian Parliament Deputy Speaker Sacked For Taking Second Wife. Should We Emulate Our Abang?

Showing intolerance for polygamy, Parti Bintang Reformasi (PBR) Thursday sacked Indonesian Parliament Deputy Speaker Zainal Maarif for taking a second wife a few days ago.

Zainal, who had served for two years as deputy speaker, had married Yenni Natalia Lodewijk.

The removal was decided by the PBR Central Leadership Committee at its meeting here Thursday, committee head Ade Daud Nasution and its Secretary Rusman Ali told the media.

Among the reasons cited for Zainal's removal was that PBR was protecting the interests of women and discouraged polygamy.

He was also vilified for unsatisfactory performance as party official, lack of coordination with the committee representatives and hardly visiting his constituency, Sumatera Utara I.(Bernama)

***** This to me is an interesting state of affairs. While our 'heroes' here merrily go about taking a second, third and fourth wives, all in the name of Islam, in Indonesia apparently they have taken a bold step to reconcile their faith with practicality and a strict observance of current standards of social expectation and mores.

****** An interesting report from AP, courtesy Malaysia Today.
Malaysian Activists to Study Polygamy.
Opponents of polygamy in Muslim-majority Malaysia said Thursday they will conduct a rare survey in an attempt to prove the practice throws families into emotional and economic turmoil.

Researchers hope to interview 6,000 members of polygamous households over the next 10 months in what could be the most comprehensive survey ever conducted on polygamy in a Muslim society, said Zainah Anwar, director of Sisters In Islam, a Malaysian women's rights group.

"We need evidence-based material to strengthen our advocacy for awareness and reforms, rather than merely use stories or assumptions about polygamy," Zainah said at a news conference.

Islam allows a man to have up to four wives. The practice of polygamy has sparked debate in Malaysia, where nearly 60 percent of the nation's 26 million people are Muslim, because activists say some polygamous husbands neglect their responsibilities to wives and children.

According to government statistics, there were about 13,500 polygamous marriages in Malaysia between 1995 and 2004, or about 1.4 percent of all Muslim marriages, said Norani Othman, a sociologist at the National University of Malaysia.

However, anti-polygamy activists believe the true number is higher because many men fail to report their second or third marriages in order to keep them a secret from their primary families.

Polygamy is illegal for Malaysia's non-Muslim minorities, who are mainly Buddhists, Christians and Hindus.

The new study is significant because recent surveys on polygamy in other Muslim countries have only included a small number of respondents and focused on legal issues, not the financial and social impact of the practice, Norani said.

Researchers plan to ask polygamous families a wide range of questions, including how their expenditure for clothes and other necessities is affected when the man marries another wife, and whether existing wives and children are forced to make financial sacrifices.

The survey will cover other everyday dilemmas, including how husbands divide their time among multiple wives, celebrate holidays and choose which wife to take to social functions. It will also consider whether current laws sufficiently safeguard wives from mistreatment.

Sisters in Islam is aiming to publish its findings in early 2008.
Image - Eric Lafforgue



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