Discussion on admissibility of polygamy in Russia initiated by first deputy prime minister of Chechnya Ramzan Kadyrov provoked lively debates in the mass media and in the State Duma. Co-chairman of the Council of muftis of Russia Nafigullah Ashirov expressed his opinion on the problem in an interview to Interfax-Religion.
- Mufti-hazrat, did you like the initiative to permit polygamy?
- Certainly, I did. Such norms existed in the Tzarist Russia. Our country cannot be guided by the principles of one confession. If the state is built on this or that religious concept, introduction of certain norms of civil law of other religions that existed before the Bolshevists coup would not run contrary to our Constitution.
As a Muslim I believe it to be a human right if a woman does not want to be single and does not have an opportunity to get married, but agrees to become a second or a third wife, than the state has no right to deprive her of that. Today the state gives a woman the right to be a mistress deprived of rights. She can claim neither property nor support to her children born in civil marriage. But as a spouse her rights are limited. I do not think it reasonable. On the contrary, it would be more reasonable to allow people make the choice of their own.
- Don't you think that an Orthodox Christian not so strong in spirit may be tempted to take the second wife? Should we legally provoke people to do this?
- Suppose an Orthodox Christian would like to 'go astray'? All the more so, the law would allow for it to happen. Or else, a law prohibiting adultery should be passed.
I think that the Russian state, being a secular one, has no right to impose religious prejudices of this or that confession to its citizens. People should not feel hurt in their rights. Suppose a Muslim, or a communist, or just a Russian patriot would want to take four or five wives and live with them so that he can have twenty-five children. Why deprive him of the opportunity? The more so as the state cannot provide the country with the population at the moment.
Those who are afraid of demographic burst among the Muslim population are against the introduction of polygamy. However, if we begin to count people in our country and say that there are more Russians, or less Russians among them now, it will be - excuse me - racism. The state should not take the liberty of doing this. These maters should be forbidden to discuss, as they are fascist by their nature.
- How do you assess the percent of the ethnic Muslims in Russia who have the second wife?
- This practice has spread widely in the past years. Some ten percent of polygamists among male Muslims is a constant indicator. They have a dozen of children each by their second and third wives. This threatens the anti-Islamists. We believe that any child, be it a Tatar or a Bashkir, is a Russian child. In due time he will become a soldier of the Russian army and will defend the interests of Russia.
- Are there polygamists among the muftis of Russia?
- Certainly. The same percentage approximately.
- Will you personally agree to take the second wife?
- Why not?
- Will your first wife feel hurt?
- Well, well, well... In many cases that serves as a restriction.
- In other words, your wife keeps you within the current Russian legislation?
- The point is not in legislation, but rather in an opportunity or in a wish to keep Let us say straight that not all women are willing to marry polygamists, through some women make such proposals. There are unmarried women of 28-30. Why should they remain old maids who will never feel the warmth of their own home?
- When the initiative was discussed in State Duma, Lyubov Sliska said that as polygeny is proposed, polyandry should be allowed.
- You are welcome. We have many laws based neither on Christian, nor Muslim, or yet any human ethics. Therefore, if some women feel infringed in their rights, if one husband is not enough to them, let them introduce a certain legislation. The State Duma may even pass it. Of course, we shall never come forward with such initiative and will not support it.