Politicians ‘ignoring’ polygamy

British politician Baroness Warsi has called for restrictions to prevent polygamy in the UK. A Muslim herself she claims that cultural sensitivity has prevented politicians from discussing the issue of polygamy. She is a member of the Conservative Party and Shadow Minister for Community Cohesion and Social Action and urges the government to consider the mandatory registration of all religious marriages to stop men in Britain from marrying more than one woman.

Her postulation has stirred a wide-spread debate about polygamy in the UK and the role of the state in religious matters. The government denied the issue had been ignored and said its policy was to prevent polygamous households forming. The Muslim Forum claims that polygamy is often a question of misunderstanding, e.g. alluding to the fact that all wives are to be treated equitably, and relies on freedom of religion.

A Ministry of Justice spokesperson confirmed that polygamous marriages are illegal in the UK. However, religious ceremonies are not controlled by the state and thus a religious marriage circumvents the law. This is where Baroness Warsi plans to take action. She claims religiously married couples should be made to register their marriage within a period of four weeks.

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