A polygamy website for Muslim men has sparked outrage in the United Kingdom after hundreds of men subscribed it to find second wives. The website, secondwife.com with more than 100,000 users, has been slammed for "treating women like ornaments."
The website has more than 25,000 users in the UK and over 100,000 users worldwide. Azad Chaiwala established the website when he was searching a second wife for himself. According to Chaiwala, the website helps build a bigger family.
"The second wife website came about from my need, and thinking there'll be other people in my situation. There are other deceiving ways of doing it - affairs, prostitution etc. - those are not necessarily good for relationships. Here it's more honourable," he told BBC Inside Out.
"It takes two hands to clap; a guy can't do it on his own. We've got so many successful marriages and so many women signed up themselves…they are opting to enter this kind of relationship."
Chaiwala says his website helps people. But politicians and campaigners are not happy with it. They have demanded the website be pulled down as it leaves women with no legal rights.
Polygamy, the practice of having more than one spouse, is a criminal offence in the UK and carries a maximum sentence of seven years. But such practice is carried out in countries where it is legal.
Jess Phillips, a Labour member of the Commons women and equalities committee, said that the website should be shut down because it treats women like commodities.
"The popularity of this site worries me deeply. This site should be outlawed for UK use and follow the law in the UK which does not allow this. Women are not a commodity, they are not domestic slaves. People cannot be collected like ornaments," she said.
Shaista Gohir of the Muslim Women's Network told The Times that men exploit women through polygamous marriages.
"What is very concerning is that there will be men exploiting vulnerable women through polygamy. I have heard of situations where men marry women, have sex with them, and move on to the next woman," Gohir said.