The debate on legalizing polygamy has returned to Kyrgyzstan. The issue has come before the parliaments of all the Central Asian states -- Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, and Uzbekistan -- and has always been rejected.
Polygamy is practiced in all parts of Central Asia. For centuries Islamic law dictated how societies in this region behaved and polygamy was a traditional part of life for many.
Soviet authorities could not totally eradicate the practice during the Communist era and, since the fall of the USSR in 1991, polygamy has crept back into practice.
This is especially true -- though not exclusively -- about Central Asia's rural areas. The highest officials in Central Asia have at one time or another come out against the practice but the idea of legalizing polygamy still comes up.
Most recently the issue has appeared in Kyrgyzstan, and this time the legalization of polygamy has a strong advocate: Justice Minister Marat Kayipov.
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