Medlin showed Regan the assignment brought home by his 13-year-old daughter. The assignment consisted of a letter from Ahlima, a 20-year-old Muslim woman, and touts the advantage of a wearing a Burqa and finds the way western women dress to be "horribly immodest," according to the assignment.
The assignment shows Ahlima saying she doesn't mind if her future husband takes more wives. "I understand that some Westerners condemn our practice of polygamy, but I also know they are wrong," the assignment said...
Another page of the assignment lists the seven conditions for women's dress in Islam, including:
-It cannot resemble the clothing of nonbelieving women
-It must protect women from the lustful gaze of men
It also states, "Islam liberated woman over 1,400 years ago. Is it better to dress according to man or God?”My favorite part of this story is the school's explanation for the assignment: 'to help students put the school dress code into context.'
Once I met a playwright from Al Kut who claimed he was going to seek asylum in America -- not from the Ba'athists, but from his two wives. Apparently they were fine when they were alone together, but as soon as he walked in the door the jealousy and sniping began.
That said, it strikes me that there is a feminist argument for (as well as the more familiar feminist argument against) polygamy. Naturally a woman wants to marry a man who has good bloodlines and who can provide for her and her children during the times when she is unable to do so. Under monogamy, most women must settle for a man who is only average or below; but the richest men could more readily afford ten children than a poor man can afford one. Since wealth is often correlated with self-control, hard work, and intelligence, one could argue that these men would also be better quality mates.
Why should a woman have to select an unmarried loser, just to preserve a level playing field for the men who are seeking wives?
Elise said a while ago -- I can't recall the exact context -- that it should matter to men who proclaim that they love the women in their lives that the women prefer monogamy. Fair enough; but what if they didn't? What if the woman, like Ahlima, happened to prefer to marry the best man even if he had another wife? Polygamy at least preserves what marriage is for: it binds families into new kinship bonds, and provides for the generations. (Actually, one might put it the other way, and say that monogamy preserves what marriage is for, since polygamy may be the older and historically more-common form.)
Is it just Islam? Apparently not, because people were just as upset when the Mormons proclaimed that polygamy was acceptable. The Jews practiced it in the old days, and Christ used a polygamous bridegroom as the explanatory model for his church. It can't be said to be un-Christian or irreligious, then; it's just, so to speak, un-American.
Or so it has been. Is there some fundamental reason to prefer monogamy, or is it just what we're used to seeing?