One wife is enough in Indonesia

Polygamy has become passé -- at least for young people in Indonesia and Malaysia.

86.5 percent of Indonesians between the ages of 15 and 25, and 72.7 percent of young Malaysians, disagree with the practice, according to a new survey. Of course, in and of itself that isn't earth-shattering news, but given that the countries are overwhelmingly Muslim and generally quite conservative, the number is interesting.

The same survey also found that 90.1 percent of young people in Indonesia wouldn't marry outside their religion (the survey only included young Muslims, a religion that makes up 88 percent of the population) and 98.2 percent said premarital sex was not okay.

So why the negative attitudes toward polygamy -- which is after all permitted under Islamic law?

It may be a generational shift based on years of vocal opposition from women's groups -- especially in Indonesia.

In both countries, polygamy is legal and has strong backers. Supporters have set up clubs that preach the virtues of polygamy and encourage women to be obedient to their husbands, according to the AP. Young people clearly aren't buying the message.

Only about 5 percent of recent marriages in Malaysia are estimated to be polygamous, according to activists there the AP talked to. In Indonesia, it's more widespread and often performed without official state recognition in mosques.

Polygamy remains a hot button issue throughout the globe -- and certainly crosses religious boundaries. Sects of Christians and Jews back the practice.

Among majority-Muslim countries, besides Indonesia and Malaysia, polygamy is recognized and practiced widely in Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and Sudan. Egypt and Jordan permit it but tightly regulate the practice (written permission needs to be granted from the wife beforehand). Turkey, Tunisia, and Morocco ban the practice.


Suspect in Bibi Aisha's mutilation goes free

The case of Bibi Aisha, the young girl who graced the cover of TIME Magazine after her nose and ears were cut off, has been dropped. The only arrested suspect, Aisha's father-in-law, was released in Afghanistan, according to government officials. Aisha has been living in the United States for the past two years following her dramatic recovery, so there is no one available to press charges against Haji Suleiman. The provincial attorney, Ghulam Farouq, maintained that the suspect was innocent since he did not actually cut the young girl. But Suleiman is far from innocent -- he was accused of holding a gun to 18-year-old Aisha while several other men mutilated and left her for dead. He then marched around the village with the young girl's nose in hand. Aisha's father, Mohammedzai, relayed his anger, saying:

"We don't know who released him. We don't know at all. It's either government weakness or our weakness. We don't have money to pay the government and we don't have someone in the government to support us."

Aisha won the hearts of readers around the world with her horrifying tale of survival. She was a servant, a child bride fleeing the brutal abuse of her in-laws who would make her sleep with the animals as if she was an animal herself.

Aisha's father feared what the Taliban would do if Aisha spoke out. But she ignored his advice to keep quiet:

"My father told me not to tell anyone the full truth, that I was given away, that I went to jail for two or three months, not to tell anyone anything. But I will tell them all these things because I am not such a person to lie. I will tell them because I think my story must be told."

Aisha quickly became the face of the Afghan woman's plight -- the United Nations estimates nearly 90 percent of women in Afghanistan suffer from domestic abuse. The haunting photograph of beautiful, but disfigured Aisha draped in a purple scarf, won the 2010 World Press Photo of the Year.

Her attackers may never be brought to justice, but Aisha continues to recover. She is currently studying English in New York City.

Nisa Yeh via Flickr Creative Commons