Survey says Malaysia wives, children in polygamous families unhappy because men too stretched

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Malaysian children and first wives in polygamous families overwhelmingly oppose the practice because the men seem too stretched to devote enough time and money to them, according to the country’s largest study on the effects of polygamy.

Though sanctioned by Islam, polygamy is a hot-button issue for Malaysia’s Muslims, who make up nearly two-thirds of the country’s 28 million people. Statements made by about 1,600 members of polygamous households to university researchers appear to bolster claims by women’s rights activists, who have long said the practice undermines the well-being of wives and children.

“We do not oppose polygamy, but we believe that monogamy is preferable,” Adibah Jodi, a representative of Sisters in Islam, a Malaysian women’s advocacy group, said Thursday.

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This post was last updated: Nov. 22, 2013