Monday, August 13, 2007

For these Muslims, polygamy is an option

Clad in his Sunday sweatpants and a long blue Pakistani-style shirt, Ali, a 59-year old African American Muslim elder, popped in a DVD of "Big Love" - the HBO series about Mormon polygamists in Utah.

"Dude's not handling this well at all," he says as he watches Bill Paxton play an overburdened husband with three wives. "You know, I feel sorry for dude."

Ali - who prefers to only use his first name - faces the challenges of polygamy every day. For 10 years, he's been religiously married to two women, and lives with them under one roof in a working-class neighborhood of San Diego. Tuesday through Thursday he sleeps with his wife Hasanah on the first floor, then Saturday through Monday it's upstairs with his second wife Asiila. That leaves his office, cluttered with photocopies of Quranic sayings and dusty pictures of relatives in hijab, as his only private room in the house.

"We get our time off, we got a sisterhood thing going on," chuckles Asiila, 50, Ali's wife of 15 years. She crosses her ankles underneath her overhead khimar, a black dress that covers her from head to toe. "To me, polygyny (polygamy) is for the woman. It's really for the woman."

Entire article here.

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