Forward to Middle Ages
This article about Tajikistan by the New York Times may surprise many people who hail from the former Soviet Union.
Polygamy existed in this overwhelmingly Muslim and rural country in the 70 years when the Soviet Union enforced a fiercely secular governing ideology that continues to be the law of the land. But it was very rare, and occurred in secret arrangements by people living shadowy lives.
. . .
Tajiks say polygamous marriages can now be found in nearly every apartment block in Dushanbe, and few Tajik families seem to be without a recent example.
. . .
The revival in Tajikistan of polygamy — which has been outlawed by the government but is supported by many imams — underscores a surprisingly swift return to traditional cultural and religious practices in all the former Soviet republics of Central Asia.
. . .
Miriam Cooke, a professor of Arab culture at Duke University, said polygamy was an emerging trend across the Islamic world, including Indonesia, “where there is a huge controversy about the perceived growing trend in polygamous marriages.” But she warns against treating it as a black-and-white issue.
“It is complicated,” Ms. Cooke said. “There are some women who consider themselves to be feminists who think it’s perfectly acceptable to be a second or third wife and to be a professional woman, a good Muslim and to have all her rights. But I would say that I would agree with the majority of Islamic feminists who consider this to be a setback.”
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