Polygamy not rampant in Egypt

CAIRO: Don’t believe what you see on TV: successful businessmen marry only one wife, the editor of a state-run newspaper said yesterday. Contrary to what one might think from watching The Family of Hag Metwalli, a popular mini-series about a kindly, wise, wealthy and happy husband of four, Egyptian polygamists are a small minority of the population, and not a particularly well-educated one at that, wrote Samir Ragab, editor of al-Gomhuriya.

Under Egyptian family law, based on the syariah, Muslim men are allowed up to four wives.

According to figures of the Central Agency for Population, however, only 3,242 men - 0.03% of all married men - have attained the legal maximum, Ragab wrote. Of these, only 37 had doctorates, he wrote.

Some 152,920 men - slightly over 1% - are married to two women, Ragab wrote, without specifying how many were married to three.

“The mini-series Hag Metwalli ... focused on a case that is not present in our Egyptian society,” Ragab wrote.

The mini-series was reported to be the most-watched of a number broadcast during Ramadan, but was attacked by critics for promoting a degrading view of women. -AFP