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Russian Orthodox Church condemns Muslim leader's call to legalise polygamy

by Tola Mbakwe

A legal advisor in Islamic law, known as a mufti, has said specifically allowing men to have more than one wife would "help women" in the absence of Sharia law and address the issue of "fornication".

Ildar Alyautdinov told Russian state-owned news agency RIA Novosti: "It's important to create a legal mechanism of protection so that women could be fully-fledged second wives, helping solve many social problems," he said.

"In addition, there would be a lot less of the sinfulness and fornication which is spreading so swiftly now."

The comment comes after an interview on state television in which Ravil Gainutdin, Russia's grand mufti, also urged for polygyny, which is men having more than one wife, to be made legal.  

"You can put it on the scales," he said.

"Either having 40 lovers, taking absolutely no responsibility and having several abandoned children, or having two legal wives and taking responsibility for them both in terms of the law and of Islam."

The Russian Orthodox Church agreed extramarital affairs "jeopardise the dignity of man and woman, destroy families and devoid both spouses of happiness" but said polygyny is not the answer.

A spokesman told RIA Novosti: "For us monogamy is associated with respect for the roles of man and woman and the recognition of their equal dignity in marriage, the special gifts given by the creator to each of the spouses."

In March, the grand mufti said according to demographic trends, he predicts 30 per cent of Russia's population will be practising Islam within the next 15 years.

It's estimated the current Muslim population in Russia is between 14 million and 20 million of Russia's total population of 146.8 million.

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