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11 Aug, 2016 17:49

Legalizing polygamy: Ludicrous, dangerous or perfectly fine?

Should polygamy be recognized as a civil right just as same-sex unions are in some parts of Europe? Would it be an attempt to impose alien values on Europeans or, in fact, legalize something that is anyway practiced by thousands?

In response to the Italian city of Milan introducing same-sex civil unions, a prominent Muslim activist has called for polygamy to be legalized as well. Hamza Roberto Piccardo, the founder of the “Union of Islamic Communities and Organizations,” wrote on his Facebook page that polygamy should be recognized as a civil right, and that it should be accepted in the same way as same-sex unions. The idea sparked fury from local politicians and the city mayor rushed to distance himself from the Islamic activist.

RT discussed the clash of cultures with political commentator David Vance and Azad Chaiwala, founder of Secondwife.com and Polygamy.com.

David Vance described the situation as “ludicrous and dangerous” at the same time.

In Italy, he said, “less than 2 percent of the population is Muslim, less than 0 percentage would presumably support a call for polygamy.” In his opinion, there is absolutely no demand outside of this tiny group for polygamy.

“At another level it’s also quite worrying, because it does suggest that there are some within the Islamic community in Italy and perhaps beyond who wish to impose their values on us. Polygamy is part of their values – it is certainly not part of our values,” Vance said.

“The whole spurious comparison with same-sex civil partnership is again ludicrous. In Italy there is majority community support for that. There is no such thing in Italy, or indeed, and as far as I am aware, anywhere else in Europe, as majority support for polygamy,” he added.

Azad Chaiwala, however, argues that thousands of people actually practice polygamy – regardless of their religious or ethnic background.

“The thing is, when you’re saying ‘them’ and ‘us’ – who are you actually referring to? I, on the other hand, would bear witness that 90 percent of people practice polygamy anyway… Because I actually run these two websites: Secondwife.com, which is specifically for Muslims, [and] I also run polygamy.com, which is open to everybody. We are almost touching 100,000 users already. A lot of them are from the UK or Europe, but we do have some users, if not thousands, from Italy, and not necessarily all of them are Muslims,” he said.

READ MORE: Muslims demand polygamy after Italy allows same-sex unions

Vance responded by quoting English writer G. K. Chesterton, who said that before you take down a fence you should know the reason it was put up.

“Western liberals who have chosen to redefine marriage – historically one man, one woman – have in a sense left this open for opportunists – in this case this Muslim activist in Italy – to try and push this polygamy agenda,” he said. “I don’t believe there is any kind of demand for this outside that very small sect within Italy.”

Chaiwala fired back, insisting there is demand, given the number of active users who have signed up for his websites keeps increasing.

“It is a person’s choice. What has polygamy done wrong to you? What negative experience do you personally have with polygamy?”

Vance responded: “In the first instance, I don’t have any experience of polygamy, nor indeed along with the vast majority of other European people, do I? And the second thing that perhaps your website needs to take into consideration: polygamy is against the law across Europe – it is unlawful. Actually to practice polygamy is to practice a crime, for which I presume there would be in an offense. I think you should be careful before you promote things in countries that are unlawful. That is how it works in Western democracies.”

The statements, views and opinions expressed in this column are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of RT.