France: Report denounces 'destructive' polygamy

France: Report denounces 'destructive' polygamy

According to a survey of French Muslims, 70% think polygamy should be banned in France. 22% think it should be permitted for those people whose religion allows it.


Sonia Imloul, the author of the report, estimates there are 40,000-50,000 polygamous families in France today, totaling at least 400,000 children.

These children, she says, live in crowded apartments and do not get the same opportunities for success. They suffer psychological troubles, no special support from their parents. There are also many cases of domestic violence in such families, particularly between the wives. The climate is destructive.

Imloul says that these women are often illegal and therefore do not exist. Some live confined, and then there's the issue of the language barrier and the fact that they have no money because the husband is in charge of the family allowances. This poses problems for plans for 'decohabitation'.

She wants a parliamentary inquiry into the matter.


A report on polygamy in France denounced its 'destructive' character for the women and children who are subjected to it. The study makes ten proposals to end the practice, which is officially prohibited.

The phenomenon undermines equality between men and women, a pillar of our Republic, writes the author of the report, an official of an association for preventing crime in the Paris suburbs and a member of the Economic and social Council, a consultative assembly.

Polygamy makes the family home into a 'prison for the wives', where the lack of privacy causes very strong internal tensions between the occupants, she wrote in the report, published by the Institut Montaigne, a think-tank focusing on issues of internal cohesion.

The National Advisory Commission for Human Rights estimated in 2006 that there were 16,000-20,000 polygamous families in France, or 200,000 people, mostly in the Paris region.

The practice mostly concerns families from Black Africa. It's one of the social issues linked to immigration and regularly debated in France, such as the full veil worn by some Muslim women, which is now the topic of a parliamentary commission.

The main proposal of the author: reviving the policy of 'decohabitation', permitting co-wives to live elsewhere with their children. She suggests various incentives: obtaining a residence permit, citizenship, French classes and opening a bank account.

Sources: Romandie, TF1 (French), h/t le blog laiciste

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