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.