Muslims of Europe: Perspectives on Gender and Relgion 27-28 January 2011

International Conference
27-28 January 2011
Facoltà di Scienze Politiche
Sala Poeti, Strada Maggiore 45, Bologna
Gender, Migration and Intercultural Interactions
in the Mediterranean and South East Europe
(European Commission FP7 project)
Dipartimento di Politica, Istituzioni, Storia Swedish Research Council
Stefano Allievi, Schirin Amir-Moazami, Raffaella Baritono, Gaia Giuliani,
Nilüfer Göle, Jeanette Jouili, Helen Kambouri, Pia Karlsson Minganti,
Laura Lanzillo, Angela Liberatore, Mila Mancheva, Sandro Mezzadra,
Vincenzo Pace, Renata Pepicelli, Anne Sofie Roald,
Evgenia Troeva-Grigorova, Stefano Zan
Sandro Mezzadra, Pia Karlsson Minganti, Renata Pepicelli (University of Bologna)

Polygamous Muslim marriages ‘on the rise’

Though polygamous marriages are illegal in Italy, they are reportedly on the rise. While few Italian Muslims admit such unions, Muslim scholars put the number between 15,000-20,000 nationwide. Opinions in Italy are divided over the practice – “It’s a statistically irrelevant phenomenon that affects very few families, within which the presence of more than one wife doesn’t create problems,” said sociologist Stefano Allievi. However, Italy’s Moroccan Women’s Association president and parliamentary candidate for the centre-right People of Freedom Alliance, Souad Sbai, has a different view: There are thousands of cases of polygamy and in most instances, women suffer abuse. Husbands beat wives who don’t want to accept another wife… After a few years, polygamists sometimes abandon their second wives, who then find they are not entitled to benefits and have no rights – they cannot file for divorce, because in the eyes of the state, they were never married.”