According to a British member of the House of Lords, polygamy has become "commonplace" among the country's Muslim communities, with some families producing as many as 20 children by four wives.
The practice has resulted in both women and children becoming dependent on state welfare, since many of the Muslim fathers have made no efforts to provide financial support for their multiple families, a problem that House of Lords cross-bench member Baroness Cox has said needs to end.
In a statement delivered to a U.K. conference last week, Cox detailed that the problem stemmed from the Islamic wedding ceremonies bearing no legal status in British law, leaving the many largely ignorant women without rights. She also testified that British "Sharia councils" have helped an enable it, which she referred to as a "parallel legal system."
"Under sharia law, a husband is entitled to up to four wives providing he takes responsibility for making appropriate provision for all," she explained. "In many Muslim communities in this country, polygamy is commonplace although as a nation bigamy is legally forbidden."
"Many [women] in polygamous marriages have said their husbands failed to provide financial support. Some were not even aware they were being married into polygamous relationships. Many are desperately unhappy."
The situation has created a multi-pronged problem for the U.K. on multiple fronts, including national security, since many of the destitute are at risk of becoming radicalized.
"Several Muslim women have told me that men in their communities may each have up to 20 children," she said. "This clearly paves the way for children growing up in dysfunctional families, who may become very vulnerable to marginalization and potential radicalisation."
A study done in 2014 asked 50 women living in Muslim communities in the West Midlands about their experiences, and their answers were jaw-dropping. Breitbart has the story:
Of the 50 women interviewed, 46 were in current marriages. Of those, the report states, 'two thirds of those who identified as being married (31 of 46) said their husband has more than one wife.'
Four of the women said their husband has three wives in total, and three women said their husband has four wives in total.
The report continues: 'Islamic law requires that a man who chooses to have more than one wife must be able to support all of his wives. However, of the women who said their husband has more than one wife, nearly all (27 of 31) said their husband does not support them financially. Of these women, three quarters (21 of 27) rely on state benefits.'
The report includes anonymous testimonies, including from a 32-year-old woman who told the researcher: '…I found out afterwards that he had three more wives and he is still married to them. He lives with me but refuses to pay for anything. I live in his house that he bought but I claim benefits on it to pay his mortgage.'
Cox had introduced a Private Members Bill to British pPrliament hoping to amend the law to prevent discrimination against Muslim women in Sharia courts, but it "was opposed by the government on the grounds that every citizen has full and free access to the laws of the land."
"As I have already said, this is manifestly untrue as many vulnerable Muslim women are ignorant of their legal rights and may live in very close communities with tremendous pressure from families not to seek outside professional help, which would bring shame on the community."
She added: “All my concerns are based on first-hand testimonies from Muslim women, and those committed to try and help them."
"One woman told me 'I feel betrayed by Britain. I came here to get away from this and the situation is worse here than in the country I came from.'"