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Wednesday, Oct 22 , 2014 ( Thul-Hijjah, 1435)

Updated:10:00 PM GMT

In Indonesia: Pay to Get Second Wife

OnIslam & News Agencies
15-10-14_In-Indonesia-Pay-to-Get-Second-Wife
According to the new regulation, a male civil servant will have to pay one million rupiah, $80, if he wanted a second wife.

MATARAM, In a bid to curb polygamy in the county, an Indonesian district has ordered civil servants to pay one million rupiah fee  if they wanted to get a second wife, the decision has sparked criticism and is condemned as “crazy”.

"The regulation was issued to make polygamy more difficult for those working in the civil service," Kharul Rizal, head of the local parliament in the southern Indonesian West Nusa Tenggara district, which passed the law, told Agence France Presse (AFP).

According to the new regulation, a male civil servant will have to pay one million rupiah, $80, if he wanted a second wife.

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The new rule is not the first in the country of 250 million people, where polygamy is legal.

A law proposed in 2007 made it obligatory for men seeking a second, third or fourth marriage would have to get written consent from their existent wife or wives.

The law led to the increase of the number of men having secret, second marriages in recent years, which accordingly led to a jump in women divorcing polygamous husbands and sparking concern among officials.

Islam sees polygamy as a realistic answer to some social woes like adulterous affairs and lamentable living conditions of a widow or a divorced woman.

A Muslim man who seeks a second or a third wife should, however, make sure that he would treat them all on an equal footing.

The Noble Qur'an says that though polygamy is lawful it is very hard for a man to guarantee such fairness.

Criticism

Though it was seen as cutting number of polygamous marriages, women's rights groups reacted angrily to the law, saying it gives polygamy an official approval.

Moreover, they accused that the local government of trying to profit from the practice.

"It's crazy polygamy has been turned into a source of government revenue," Baiq Zulhiatina, head of the local branch of the Women's Solidarity group, told AFP.

District head Mochamad Ali bin Dahlan, who pushed the idea, insisted the move would help the local community.

"If a man has to contribute one million rupiah, that's for residents here not for me. It's a donation towards the development of our people," he said.

Though not widely practiced, polygamy has long been a source of controversy in Indonesia, where Muslims make up some 90 percent of the 225-million population.

Opinions are strongly divided on the issue in the South Asian country.

Related Links:
Indonesia Tightens Polygamy Rules
Polygamy Ruling Divides India Muslims
No Easing on Indonesian Polygamy
Indonesia Youth Conservative, Democratic
Indonesia's Halal Law Stirs Debate

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