Muslims: Polygamy irrelevant in Denmark
18. okt. 2011 11.38 English
The Islamic Society in Denmark (Det Islamiske Trossamfund) rejects criticism by Social Democrats. According to their spokesman Imran Shah, the Society does not support polygamy even though its website links to a Muslim dating site which says that a man has a right to four wives.
"Our stance on having more than one wife in Denmark is very clear. We follow Danish law. It is not something we encourage, because it is not relevant in Denmark," says Imran Shah.
Lars Aslan Rasmussen, social affairs spokesman for the Social Democrats at Copenhagen City Hall, wants the Minister of Justice to investigate the legality of the dating site www.zawaj.dk. He also wants to know whether The Islamic Society in Denmark receives public subsidies.
They do not, according to their spokesman.
Not subject to political pressure
"We are an independent organisation, because we do not want to be subject to any kind of political pressure; neither from Saudi Arabia nor from the Danish government," says Imran Shah.
Lars Aslan Rasmussen finds it completely unacceptable that The Islamic Society in Denmark encourages social control by linking to the dating site Zawaj.dk. Young people, who may later marry, are never permitted to meet alone. According to Islam, they must always be accompanied by a third party.
"It's just crazy that they can't meet without a chaperone when you know how strong the social control of women is in Muslim communities. Many young people in parallel societies are married off," says Lars Aslan Rasmussen.
To this Imran Shah responds: "There are certain social aspects of Islamic law that regulate social life."
Wants divorce council recognised
The Islamic Society in Denmark also encourages the authorities to recognise a Muslim "divorce council" and give it the right to mediate in divorce cases.
Danish legislation is not enough when a Muslim woman wants a divorce, because the husband often simply refuses and just leaves her, according to Imran Shah.
"Unfortunately, the reality is that a growing number of Muslim men simply refuse to be divorced even though they are required to do so according to Islamic law. This leaves the women in no-man's land," he explains.
The Islamic Society does not want a parallel system, but "complementary rules", according to Imran Shah.