A 32-year-old Syrian man appeared on German media this week thanking German Chancellor Angela Merkel for allowing him to reunite with his other wife and children despite polygamy being illegal in Germany.
Ahmad A., 32, opened up to German media about his lifestyle, living with his two wives, one of which he married while she was only 13, and how he lives off of benefits provided by the German government, Der Spiegel reports.
Ahmad made it clear he was thankful to Merkel for opening the country’s borders in 2015, saying: “I thank you very, very, very much, Mama Merkel. She is the only person who has felt the suffering of the Syrians. I also thank the Germans. Even if there are racists among them. But the Germans have experienced war and show great compassion for the Syrians.”
The entire family has qualified for asylum status but Ahmad made it clear he is not interested in getting a job and would rather stay at home with his six children.
Many Germans have been outraged at the fact that Ahmad’s second wife, who did not come with him initially in 2015, was allowed to join him through chain migration as part of the ‘family reunification’ programme.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) June 5, 2016
Ahmad’s case is not unique as other Syrians have used the family reunification programme to reunite with their other wives.
Polygamy, like child marriage, is illegal in Germany and other western European countries, but is permitted under sharia law. Cases of both child marriage and polygamy (where a man has more than one wife) have risen in the wake of the 2015 migrant crisis.
Despite it being illegal, some pro-migrant activists have advocated the practice. Last year, a Dutch documentary called Allah in Europe filmed a Swedish migrant helper advocating for polygamy, saying: “In the tradition they come from, the woman has to do a lot. They have to serve the man. And it is very difficult. If you have more children you have to wash, cook, and shop. So there are actually women who tell their men to get a second wife.”
“I can feel like that. I am married to one man,” she added.