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Excerpt:

A few miles from the Vatican, Najat Hadi kept house with her husband, his other wife and their assorted children, an unhappy home with a hateful woman 10 years her junior and a cruel spouse who left her with a jagged scar peeking from her collar.

Finally, she says, her Egyptian-born husband, who worked in Rome making pizzas, beat her so badly that she left him. But he kept her children.

Thousands of polygamous marriages like Hadi's have sprung up throughout Italy as a byproduct of a fast-paced and voluminous immigration by Muslims to this Roman Catholic country.

Despite the obvious culture clash, Italian authorities largely turn a blind eye, leaving women in a murky semi-clandestine world with few rights and no recourse when things go especially badly, as they did in Hadi's case.

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