Efforts to Tackle Bride Kidnapping in Kyrgzstan Failed In Order to Protect Polgygamy

According to Eurasianet.org, a bill designed to curb the controversial practice of bride kidnapping did not pass in Kyrgyzstan’s parliament because a key provision in the bill might have been used to crack down on the illegal, yet tolerated, practice of polygamy.

According to the article, the bill “would have authorized fines for Islamic clerics (Mullahs) who bless marriages that are not already registered with the state.” Mullahs provide an avenue for people in rural areas to wed in customs that the state has deemed taboo, like bride kidnapping. Because bride kidnapping is illegal, most marriages are not initially registered with the state. But Mullahs can make a union recognized by the local community through an Islamic “nikkah” marriage ceremony.

These ceremonies can also be used to wed people who practice polygamy, which is an illegal practice, but is believed to be a common practice among men who can afford multiple wives.

The bill did not pass because parliament members, including at least one woman, wanted to protect polygamy.


About Haley Behre

I graduated from Syracuse University in December 2011 with majors in newspaper journalism and women and gender studies. Using these majors, I aspire to become a journalist who writes about human rights issues. I have held internships at the Syracuse New Times, Dash Media PR Firm, Syracuse Post-Standard and the Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press. I also had an internship at the Not For Sale Campaign Syracuse chapter, which is a non-profit organization dedicated to eradicating human trafficking. I was born in Seoul, Korea on September 30, 1990 and moved to the United States before I was one year old. When I was 8, my family and I moved to Norwich, England for three years. While I was here I was immersed into a new culture and got to experience many things other children my age do not get to. Over the three years, I visited Ireland, France and the Netherlands several times, and Belgium, Wales and Sweden once. In the winter of 2010, I got an amazing opportunity to visit Kenya for a month. This was by far the single most eye-opening experience of my life thus far. The natural beauty of the landscape and its people do not compare to anything I have seen. I currently intern for the Reporters Committee for the Freedom of the Press in the hopes of getting a full-time job at a newspaper or non-profit after.
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