|Photo Inside Islam|
Repopulating the World
One Wife at a Time
(Balkan Insight) - After an influx of tourists and investors from Gulf countries in recent years, Bosnia faces a new issue - Arab men marrying local women as second or third wives, who remain in the country waiting for their husbands' occasional visits.
A thirty-six year old woman from Sarajevo, who has two children from her first marriage, told BIRN about how she married an Arab, to become his second wife.
She says her new husband, who is 51, originally came to Bosnia for business, to open a small company in Sarajevo. They met, the woman recalls, when he came to her place of work. She says they joked and she noticed him looking at her.
After a while, a mutual friend who is already married to an Arab introduced them. This friend explained that the man was looking for a Bosnian wife, to help her if he could.
She says it took her about two months to familiarize herself with his way of life and habits over the phone and through video messages. Her father gave his consent to their marriage, so they got married in Sarajevo.
“I deliberately consented to this kind of marriage, knowing I am not his only wife. Nobody tricked me”, she said.
The story from the woman from Sarajevo represents a new trend in which Bosnian women, usually with the consent of fathers or brothers, marry businessmen from Arab countries who are increasingly coming to Bosnia, either for business or for holidays which they spend in apartments or houses they rent or buy here.
Only in the past few years tens of thousands of visitors from Gulf countries came to Bosnia, because of its fair climate, pristine nature, culture, as well as the fact that at least half of the country's population practice Muslim religion and mosques are always close by.
Most of these men already have one or more wives, which is allowed by the Islamic Sharia law that is respected in these countries.
The wedding ceremonies which take place in Bosnia and Herzegovina are performed by members of the clergy, but marriage certificates they issue are invalid both according to the rules of the Islamic community in Bosnia, as well as by Bosnia's legislation.
Bosnian brides usually remain living in the country and are waiting for their husbands to visit them.
"We are married before Allah…” the woman from Sarajevo says, adding that she is aware of at least twenty other women, who have become the second wives to Arab men and one has even become the third wife.
She explained that this group of about 20 women, who have Arab husbands, prays together and meets regularly.
The Islamic Community in Bosnia and Herzegovina says they don’t have any data on this subject. In case an Imam would eventually perform such a ceremony, a disciplinary procedure would be initiated against him, because he would be violating the procedures applied within the Islamic Community.
Sharia wedding in Bosnia and Herzegovina is allowed but only symbolically and after the couple is married in accordance with the Family Law. According to that law, polygamy is not allowed, i.e. none of the spouses can be married to more than one person. Also, Sharia wedding alone is not legally recognized.
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