06/28/2011, 00.00
INDONESIA
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"Obedient wives club", pretext for legalizing polygamy in Indonesia

by Mathias Hariyadi
The club, based on the original Malaysian model divides the country. The goal is to teach women total devotion to their husbands, even in the sexual sphere. For activists it is a pretext to justify marriage with several women. Islamic scholar: the relationship is like a car, the husband is the driver and the wife a "submissive and obedient" passenger.
Jakarta (AsiaNews) - Civil society is divided between those in favour and against, the ruling class has expressed concern, while the fundamentalist Islamic wing strongly supports the initiative. What is certain is that the birth in Indonesia - after Malaysia – of the Obedient Wives Club (OWC), an organization in which women are completely subject to their husbands, even regarding their sexual demands, has not passed unobserved. Critics point out that the foundation of the club is only a "pretext" to legitimize polygamy in the country, opposed by the majority of the population and outlawed by former President Suharto, in power from 1967 to 1998.

On 19 June KlubTaat Suam Global Ikhwan was born, under the leadership of President Gina Puspita. The group has 50 women members already, even though the association claims about 300 have joined. The purpose is to teach Indonesian women how to be "good wives" in the eyes of the family and husband and at the same time reinforce the principles of the Islamic faith in wives.

For Mrs. Puspita, head of the club, the real aim is to inculcate in women the desire to "accept" polygamy, if the case is decided by the husband. And to do that, the president uses the example of the car: the husband is the driver and the woman should assume the attitude of "good" a passenger, in short faithful, submissive and obedient.

The attempt to introduce Islamic law through the principle of polygamy in Indonesia - opposed by civil society and prohibited by law - is denounced by women's rights activists. They remember how the OWC is the fruit of the same “source” that in 2009, gave birth to the controversial Polygamy Club, which was founded by conservative and fundamentalist Islamic group with ties to Global Ikhwan in other countries including Thailand and Singapore.

The powerful Indonesian Ulema Council (MUI) has supported the establishment of the clubs and states that it is not contrary to the dictates of Sharia, or Islamic law. Gusrizal Gazahar, deputy head of the MUI of Padang in West Sumatra province, said that "it is the duty of every Muslim woman to obey her husband in everything."

Among the earliest critics of the association is Linda Agumar Gumelar, Indonesian Minister for the Empowerment of women, according to whom it represents "a backwards step" for society and the journey towards equality between the two sexes. The Indonesian National Commission for Women - better known as Komnas Perempuan – also points the finger at the mayor of Bogor Diani Budiarto (also the protagonist of the episode where he opposed the construction of the Catholic Church in Yasmin), in accordance with the principle of polygamy has recently married his fourth wife, a girl of only 18.
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