Italy: Top Muslim Leader Calls for Legalization of Polygamy

Palestinian brides celebrate during a mass wedding ceremony for 240 couples in Rafah in Gaza Strip, on August 5, 2010. Some 240 couples in need participated to this wedding organized by the Islamic Society, a group affiliated to Hamas. AFP PHOTO / SAID KHATIB (Photo credit should read SAID KHATIB/AFP/Getty …

The founder of Italy’s largest Islamic association has called for legal recognition for polygamy, insisting that if gay marriage is a civil right, then polygamy is as well.

“If it’s just a matter of civil rights, then polygamy is a civil right,” Hamza Roberto Piccardo wrote earlier this month on his Facebook page.

The founder of the Union of Italian Islamic communities (UCOII), Piccardo urged Italians not to “undervalue polygamy’s demographic effect,” which would help “rebalance” Italy’s low birthrate and the consequent need for foreign manpower.

“The state should regulate it as it does other unions, safeguarding the rights of all interested parties, including children,” Piccardo added.

Piccardo posted a photo of Mayor Giuseppe Sala at the Royal Palace together with one of the first gay couples united civilly in Milan. Under the picture, the Piccardo attached a meme saying “Polygamy is also a civil right.”

Arguing that polygamy has at least as big a place as homosexuality in revelation and tradition, Piccardo declared that polygamists may be a minority, but they deserve the same respect as gays.

“Along with millions of others, I do not participate in a homosexual relationship and yet it is legal and we respect those involved,” he said. “They are a minority, as polygamists would be as well. The whole society can accept all of them.”

Using the same rights language that has been so successful in changing public opinion toward homosexuality, Piccardo said that he is not looking for special treatment, simply equality.

“Nobody wants to dictate laws, but only to recognize a civil right,” he said. “It’s not a privilege, just a matter of equality of citizens before the law.”

“Rights are all on the same plane, but of course there can be different strategies and moments to acknowledge and implement them,” he said.

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