Bangladesh city introduces polygamy tax

DHAKA, June 5, 2006 (AFP) – A Bangladesh city will impose taxes on polygamists to deter the “outdated” practice of marrying more than one wife, an official said Monday. The tax will come into force from July 1 in northern Rajshahi, Bangladesh’s fourth-largest city, mayor Mijanur Rahman Minu told AFP.

As part of the city’s 2006-2007 budget, any man marrying a second wife will face a one-time tax of 10,000 taka (142 dollars).

The tax will rise to 30,000 taka for a third marriage and 40,000 taka for a fourth, Minu added.

Under Islamic laws, Muslim men can have up to four wives provided the husband obtains permission to marry again from his existing wives.

Polygamy continues in many parts of Bangladesh although it has become a rarity in the bigger cities where literacy rates are higher.

Minu said city officials had agreed to introduce the tax to try to discourage the practice.

“Polygamy is a disrespectful and outdated act in this modern age. We have imposed the taxes to prevent such acts and for the welfare of the families,” he said. Bangladesh is the world third-largest Muslim majority country with a population of 140 million.