On the lengthy register of Western accommodations to Shari'a law, none is more striking than the de facto acceptance of polygamy. A story from Toronto vividly demonstrates the human cost of this practice, the brazen efforts to transplant it to the West, and the limp-wristed response of government officials.
Two years ago Safa Rigby and her four children were enjoying an extended stay in Egypt when a phone call shattered her once-happy life with Hossny Ismail:
"You think you know your husband. You don't know him at all," said the man, a friend of her husband's. "His car is parked outside my house right now. He is with my ex-wife. They just got married last week," the man said.
Actually, Fouad Boutaya and his wife were still in the process of separating when he came home one night to surprise his children and found Ismail comfortably ensconced at the dinner table. "You should not be here alone with my wife when I am not here," said Boutaya to his friend. "What's the problem?" Ismail replied. "She is my wife."
The marriage was performed by Aly Hindy, a controversial Toronto imam who has "blessed" over thirty polygamous unions. Hindy offers only defiance:
"This is in our religion and nobody can force us to do anything against our religion," he said. "If the laws of the country conflict with Islamic law, if one goes against the other, then I am going to follow Islamic law, simple as that."
Unfortunately, Ontario exhibits no such enthusiasm for upholding Canadian law. Local police told Boutaya that he did not have much of a case because his wife's marriage to Ismail failed to generate the requisite paperwork. Ontario legislator Ted McMeekin used similar hairsplitting logic to deny the existence of polygamy altogether:
Our registrar general and our official reporting mechanisms have no evidence that that's happening. As you know, Mr. Speaker, marriage is a contract. A contract requires a license, and once a marriage occurs, it has to be registered. There are no multiple marriages being registered in the province of Ontario.
McMeekin should familiarize himself with the Criminal Code, which plainly states that anyone officiating or entering "any kind of conjugal union with more than one person at the same time, whether or not it is by law recognized as a binding form of marriage," is guilty of an indictable offense. That description would seem to fit the Rigby saga to a tee.
Why should Islamists respect laws that enshrine Western values when governments show so little interest in enforcing them?