Friday, September 26, 2014
Strolling in a park, a London businessman and his THREE wives - just one of up to 20,000 such multi-wife marriages in POLYGAMY BRITAIN
As a bright, eager student at Cambridge University, with one degree already under her belt, Nabilah Phillips could look forward to a successful career and comfortable future.
After completing her engineering PhD she would, perhaps, take up a coveted, highly-paid job in industry, or stay on as an academic lecturing the next generation.
Instead, however, Nabilah, now 35, took an extremely unexpected path. She abandoned her studies, forfeiting her hard-won university place and entered a polygamous marriage, becoming the second wife of London businessman Hasan Phillips, 32 — who has since acquired a third wife.
Nabilah, her husband and his two other wives are part of a growing number of polygamous marriages taking place in Britain. They are rubber-stamped under Sharia law, which considers polygamy completely legitimate as Muslim men are permitted to take up to four wives.
It is, of course, in complete contradiction to UK law, under which bigamy is illegal and can result in a prison sentence of up to seven years.
But as such marriages are not recognised by English courts — and around 70 to 75 per cent of Muslim weddings go unregistered — those who marry under the system are not subject to prosecution.
As a result, the practice is becoming increasingly commonplace across Britain, with 20,000 polygamous marriages now estimated to have taken place here.
So what does Nabilah have to say about a marriage that would be anathema to most British women?
‘I really enjoy being in a polygamous relationship,’ she insists, her face covered with a Muslim veil, known as a niqab, at the request of her husband. ‘We are not stupid people who are forced into this type of relationship,’ she adds, laughing.
‘I was looking for someone who had been married or was already in a marriage. I was married before, and having gone through one divorce, you kind of know what you want in marriage. So I wanted someone who already knows how to be a husband.’
Indeed, Nabilah met Hasan after signing up to a Muslim dating service — her first husband having left just days after their marriage — with the specific intention of trying to find a married man so she could become a ‘co-wife’, as such women are called.
Such is the popularity of polygamy among British Muslims that the East London-based company Muslim Marriage Event, which united Nabilah and her husband, is receiving a growing number of requests for such unions. Owner Mizan Raja says the number of people looking for such arrangements has soared in recent years.
The rise of polygamous marriage in Britain is the controversial subject of a new Channel 4 TV series, The Men With Many Wives, which shines a new light on the controversial practice.
In it, Nabilah, who has two children with Hasan — who runs an Arabic clothing business and works in a mosque in Brixton, South London — explains that she was introduced to his first wife, City worker Sakinah, 33, before they married. ‘We had tea and all that, so she was OK with the marriage. After the wedding, our relationship started developing slowly,’ says Nabilah.
Then several years later, Hasan took a third wife, Somali-born driving instructor Anub, 41, whom he honeymooned with alone. His other wives were not invited to the wedding, though they gave it their blessing.
For much of the time the wives live largely separate lives in separate houses across London, though they occasionally meet for organised family outings with their assorted children.
‘If any problem happens between co‑wives it’s usually his fault,’ says Nabilah, who now works from home running a website selling Arabic perfumes and clothing. ‘Like if he’s praising somebody too much — “Why don’t you be more like her? She’s this, she’s that.” 'If he didn’t say that, we would all be happy.’
Hasan spends three nights with each wife before moving on to the next, as he interprets treating each wife equally — a stipulation of polygamy in Islam — as meaning spending equal amounts of time with each.
One of the conditions of polygamy is that you have to be fair and just with your wives,’ says Hasan. ‘If I buy her two roses, I don’t have to buy her two roses as well; it means in terms of time.’
Having so many wives, he admits, can be as precarious ‘as balancing three spinning plates’, especially when they are all together. ‘You have to be really careful you don’t over-show your emotion to one of them. So you can’t really relax and cuddle one of your wives.’
Polygamous marriages are a hardline interpretation of Islam not practised by all Muslims (it is estimated around 3 per cent of Muslim men worldwide take more than one wife). Yet Hasan is a convert, having switched to Islam from Christianity at the age of 16.
He now insists on his wives covering their faces with the traditional veil. ‘My wives are something to be covered and protected for me,’ he says. ‘Some people put sheets over their cars, they cover their valuables and keep them away from people seeing and desiring the things that they have.’
But it is not just religion which is apparently driving the practice. Matchmaker Mizan says women seeking a polygamous marriage usually contact him because they want security and are prepared to share a husband to achieve that. The men’s motives are — surprise, surprise — usually down to ‘high libidos’.
‘For most men who want to do polygamy, probably 80 per cent, it’s a sexually-driven thing,’ he says. ‘The number one request is for a woman with a good body, in good proportion.’
Another co-wife on the show is pretty 44-year-old Briton Shaheen Qureshi, who looks, on the surface at least, like any other married British mother. She wears glamorous clothes, costume jewellery and heavy eye make-up, and spends her time caring for her eight children and keeping up her modest home in Bradford, West Yorkshire.
Yet while she dotes on her husband (they attended the same primary school and got married ten years ago), he also has another wife.
His bigamy is something Shaheen has willingly embraced. ‘I know it’s not for everybody,’ she says, speaking to the Mail at her semi-detached Bradford home this week. ‘But men are naturally polygamous, so they will probably be having a fling just to survive their marriages.
‘Women are a lot more loyal, but men have more of a roving eye, so if they’re allowed to have three or four wives, they will.
‘I’m not a jealous person, I am confident in myself. I can be a good wife. I know what it’s like to be on my own, so I don’t mind if I don’t see my husband every day.’
Her wedding was performed through a nikah — an Islamic ceremony conducted in the presence of two Muslim witnesses. While these are unregistered and unregulated by UK authorities, the ‘marriage’ is considered a binding legal contract by Muslims. But her protestations to the Mail this week that she is happy in her polygamous marriage contrast sharply with what she shows on the programme.
On the show, there is one heartbreaking moment when she breaks down in tears when talking about the sense of loneliness and abandonment she often feels when home alone with her eight children, before exclaiming she feels she has no choice but to ask for a divorce.
She continues that she is tired of living as a ‘single mum’. Hardly surprising when she has so many children.
Six of her offspring were born during her first marriage, which took place when she was just 16. She was sent to Pakistan by her strict Muslim parents to marry her first cousin in an arranged marriage. It lasted 18 years but was largely unhappy, she says. Shaheen divorced her first husband ten years ago and married her current polygamous spouse — an ‘old friend’ — very soon afterwards.
She was reluctant to name her second husband when we spoke to her this week, suffice to say he is a ‘respected’ businessman.
Naively, Shaheen says she thought this marriage would be a chance to find ‘true love’ and that she and the first wife would be friends. She even imagined jovially bickering about whose turn it was to do the washing-up and ‘hanging out like Carrie and her friends in Sex And The City.’ The reality, however, was markedly different, for her new husband’s first wife became furiously jealous.
In the ten years since her marriage, the two women have barely spoken. Relations deteriorated further when Shaheen bore two children to her husband — daughters now aged eight and two — and the situation recently reached a stand-off. ‘She has now given him an ultimatum: it’s either me or her,’ says Shaheen.
Not that Shaheen sees much of her husband anyway. She estimates that the two have spent no more than six months together throughout their decade of marriage.
And it is not only family relations which are tough. Shaheen also struggles financially, as she does not work and it is unclear what financial support, if any, she receives from her husband or the State. Many such women, who say they don’t receive enough support from their so-called husbands, happily choose to claim benefits instead. Is this legal? Apparently yes.
Even if a polygamous husband has countless wives and an abundance of children, the women are treated just like any other single mother. In other words, they are entitled to Child Support, housing benefit, council tax benefit and any other benefits her individual situation might entitle her to.
Under British housing rules, the husband cannot possibly be registered in all the households, so he most probably can claim separate benefits, too.
If the women become unhappy and wish to divorce, they have no rights under UK law so would be entitled to no financial settlement.
But Shaheen, unbelievably, has nothing but sympathy for her husband who is, she says, under intolerable pressure from wife number one. ‘Basically, he is a broken man. People will think he is having his cake and eating it. That isn’t the case. He is caught between a rock and a hard place. She knows he loves me. It’s really hard.’
When multiple marriages do break down, any divorce and mediation must go through a Sharia court — an estimated 85 such now operate in Britain — which often penalise women.
‘I know of Muslim women being subjected to savage domestic violence, and then refused a divorce, while their husbands are free to enter into further marriages to women from overseas,’ says Baroness Cox, a cross-bench peer and campaigner for Muslim women.
‘Sharia treats women as second-class citizens, whether in inheritance rights or divorce. A woman’s word counts for only half the value of that of a man.’
Shaheen has decided to give her husband another chance — but says that if they do divorce, she would happily enter another polygamous marriage, though next time she ‘will make sure the other women are happy for me to come on board’.
If that seems a somewhat incredible prospect, it is made all the more so for the fact that it will be facilitated and tolerated in Britain.
Rush Limbaugh’s Call Screener: ‘What Liberalism Has Done To Black Communities Is Horrific’
Rush and "Snerdley"
James Golden considers his 26 years working with Rush Limbaugh to be the greatest professional blessing he could ever imagine. Originally from Queens, New York, James met Rush while working for a major media network and hasn’t looked back since.
Most Rush listeners know James as either “Snerdley,” the call screener, or the “Official Obama Criticizer.” Golden was in Washington recently for a CURE meeting and that’s where we got the chance to sit down with him for this exclusive 30 minute video interview.
For the first half of the interview, Golden waxed passionate about race in America, and how America’s first black president has only harmed race relations in this country.
Recalling when strong, two parent families were the norm for blacks, when hard work and merit allowed blacks to rise in society, and when homicide wasn’t the major cause of the death for young black males, Golden said with genuine regret, “Isn’t it a shame that for most of black people, the good old days were the days when things were segregated legally in this country?”
He concludes, “What liberalism has done to black communities is horrific.”
Touching on the horrors of the Philadelphia black abortionist Kenneth Gosnell and the depravity in black music, Golden said that they are results of “people following the liberal ride down. They don’t care about values.”
“Al Sharpton and his bunch should be ashamed of themselves,” he said, as they have “let the issue of black life degenerate into a politically opportunistic issue.” His answer? Black people need to value their own lives and quit expecting political hustlers to solve their problems.
The Official Obama Criticizer said to listeners who are black, “There are no Republicans in your neighborhoods. The problem is the people in your neighborhood. Obama’s not coming to help you in your neighborhood unless you live in Martha’s Vineyard or have a golf course!”
On episodes such as those with Michael Brown or Trayvon Martin, Golden admits these stories touch a raw nerve for blacks who have seen police commit injustices in their neighborhoods for years. His advice for conservatives is not just to react when Sharpton or Jackson take advantage of these situations, but to build genuine relationships with black communities so that conservatives should be the first to arrive and see the truth for themselves.
Later on in the interview, Golden focuses on what brought Rush to the top of American broadcasting and how he rose from a 16 year old in music radio to media and political dominance, even with the loss of his hearing.
Golden reminded viewers that Rush came through AM radio when it was dead. He arrived on the scene before the internet, Drudge and Fox News. When Rush began, Golden recalls, “There were 125 stations with talk radio. Today, there are over 11,000.” Rush set the stage for the development of new media by fracturing the big media stronghold that used to control the news.
The threatened elites reacted by running a “campaign of hate” against Rush. Smearing him with lies and misrepresentations, one wire service even refused to correct a story when confronted with the facts, Golden said. Having plowed through these troubles, Limbaugh is now especially adept at defending others who get smeared and attacked when the left feels threatened by their message.
Explaining how Rush excels above all others, Golden said, “It’s his gift! It’s in his head. It’s down to the second. He’s a professional broadcaster like no other.”
Citing Rush’s innate ability to make the complex understandable, Golden went on to mention Limbaugh’s continuous preparation, immense intellect, voracious reading, and stunning work ethic. Beyond that, Golden said, “he’s a great businessman. But that’s another story.” On the personal side, Golden says Rush is selfless, generous and amazing. Snerdley hears firsthand the lives that are changing and the minds that are opening because of Limbaugh’s “talent on loan from God.”
France bans street prayers
A French ban on praying in the street came into force on Friday, driving thousands of Muslim worshippers in northern Paris into a makeshift prayer site in a disused fire brigade barracks, angering a small but vocal minority.
The street-prayer ban has highlighted France's problems assimilating its 5-million-strong Muslim community, which lacks prayer space, and follows a long-running controversy, fanned by far-right leader Marine Le Pen, over Muslims forced to lay their prayer mats on the streets in big cities.
Interior Minister Claude Gueant directed Muslims in Paris to temporary spaces made available pending the building of a huge new prayer space and warned that force would be used if necessary as police end their tolerance of street prayers.
Seven months before a presidential election, the ban has struck some in France as an attempt to rally far-right sympathizers to President Nicolas Sarkozy's center-right camp.
At the barracks, Cheik Mohammed Salah Hamza oversaw prayers for Muslims who had migrated from around the city. Worshippers streamed in, spreading their woven prayer mats over the floor of the hangar-like building and out into the courtyard.
"It's the beginning of a solution," Hamza told Reuters before the start of the service. "The faithful are very pleased to be here. The space, which holds 2,000, is full."
Many worshippers were also upbeat. "This will be better than rue Mryha," said one man, referring to a Paris street renowned for hosting street prayers. "Apparently, it shocked people."
Le Pen has described the growing phenomenon of praying on the streets and sidewalks as an "invasion."
In France, where a strict separation of church and state has been in force for a century, public displays of religious activity are frowned upon.
Yet efforts by Sarkozy's conservative government to restrict religious displays, such as a ban on full-face veils, have drawn criticism as empty measures that unfairly single out Muslims.
France counts the largest Muslim minority of any European country. But only a portion -- about 10 percent, or the same proportion as among Catholics -- are practicing, according to Muslim associations.
As a rule, radical Muslim voices in France are rare, but Friday's prayers in northern Paris drew a small but angry protest from a radical minority more often seen in online posts.
An hour before the first prayer young men with beards, green headbands and banners gathered on rue Myrha to discourage worshippers from moving to the new site.
"No system in the universe can control us aside from Allah," shouted one young man. "There is more dignity in praying in the grass than in their false mosque," said another.
As the prayers began, dozens of young men belonging to a group called Forsane Alizza disrupted the service with shouts of "Allahu akbar" -- "God is greatest" -- and jostled with security.
Stay-at-home mothers 'have the most worthwhile lives'
Mothers who have put their career aside to care for their children have a stronger sense that their lives are “worthwhile” than the rest of society, official figures suggest.
New findings from the UK’s national “well-being” index show that those classed as economically inactive because they are caring for a family or home are also among the happiest people in Britain.
The figures, published by the Office for National Statistics, also show that people across the UK have got progressively happier, less anxious and more satisfied with their lives in the past year.
The improvement is thought to be linked to the economic recovery and falling unemployment – even if people are not necessarily better off than a year ago.
The ONS said the improvement appeared to be linked to optimism and improvements in people’s personal situations even though typical household incomes are lower in real terms.
The latest figures also suggest that the 70s are the golden decade of life, with the highest proportion of people rating their personal happiness at the top of the scale.
Meanwhile, they confirm Northern Ireland as the happiest place in the UK topping the national league tables both on a regional and local level.
Four of the five happiest local authority areas in the UK are located in the province – Antrim, Fermanagh, Omagh and Dungannon – with Babergh in Suffolk the only place in mainland Britain making it into the top five.
As part of a programme backed by David Cameron to measure the nation’s well-being, people were asked to rate their lives on a scale of nought to 10.
They were asked to do this in relation to four separate questions: how satisfied they are with their lives overall; whether they feel that what they do is worthwhile; how happy they were the previous day and how anxious they were the previous day.
The average rating for life satisfaction across the UK was 7.5 out of 10 – up 0.06 points on last year while the typical rating for feeling worthwhile also edged upwards to 7.7.
Average scores for how happy people felt the previous day also rose steadily to 7.4 while anxiety ratings fell to 2.9 on average.
The ONS also analysed the findings on the basis of personal characteristics such as people’s marital status, health, or employment situation.
When the results are broken down by work status pensioners emerged as the happiest overall, with a rating of 7.73 out of 10, but students and stay-at-home mothers or carers also scored noticeably higher than average.
But when responses to the question on how “worthwhile” people consider what they do in life to be were analysed, those looking after home or family emerged well ahead of other groups, scoring 8.03 out of 10 on average.
Overall 83 per cent of full-time parents and carers rated their sense of worth as high or very high.
Laura Perrin, a barrister turned full-time mother who campaigns from the group Mothers At Home Matter said the figures showed that government policies designed to encourage more parents to work full time could be doing more harm than good.
“This just goes to show that the idea that we are all at home depressed and unhappy looking after our own children – which a lot of politicians would like to believe – is simply wrong,” she said.
“It is clearly a worthwhile vocation, should you choose to do it.”
The group campaigns for greater recognition of marriage and traditional family life in the tax system. It argues that the Coalition’s childcare tax breaks for couples in which both parents work, penalises families in which one parent has given up work to care for the children.
“David Cameron has set his face against the more traditional set-up with a mother at home caring for her children but his own figures show that not only are they happy but they recognise their lives are worthwhile," she said.
“They are not only making their own family happy but also making a contribution to society as a whole.
“They should stop their constant campaign against the more traditional set-up”.
Dawn Snape, co-author of the report, said the consistently high happiness and life satisfaction ratings from people in Northern Ireland could not be explained in purely economic terms.
"Aren't they great?” she said. “They're a real conundrum for us. "Unemployment is high yet they really buck the trend – at the moment we don't know the answer to this.
“It may be down to social connectivity, a great sense of community, maybe it is down to how life is going there now compared with 15 years ago.”
"It is not clear to us yet, we need to do more (research). But it seems quite consistent that people in Northern Ireland rate their wellbeing at a very high level. They have a positive outlook
Political correctness is most pervasive in universities and colleges but I rarely report the incidents concerned here as I have a separate blog for educational matters.
American "liberals" often deny being Leftists and say that they are very different from the Communist rulers of other countries. The only real difference, however, is how much power they have. In America, their power is limited by democracy. To see what they WOULD be like with more power, look at where they ARE already very powerful: in America's educational system -- particularly in the universities and colleges. They show there the same respect for free-speech and political diversity that Stalin did: None. So look to the colleges to see what the whole country would be like if "liberals" had their way. It would be a dictatorship.
For more postings from me, see TONGUE-TIED, GREENIE WATCH, EDUCATION WATCH INTERNATIONAL, FOOD & HEALTH SKEPTIC, AUSTRALIAN POLITICS and DISSECTING LEFTISM. My Home Pages are here or here or here. Email me (John Ray) here.