Hundreds of divorced couples are being forced to ‘reunite’ in Chechnya, under a new government program which the country’s president claims will help defeat ISIS.
President Ramzan Kadyrov claims children of divorced parents are more likely to become Islamist terrorists, and so ordered a programme of ‘family reconciliation’.
The reconciliations have been pushed through even in cases where the ex-husband has remarried, forcing former spouses to become their second wife.
Some 948 couples have got back together following government-ordered talks with religious leaders, which some indications that not all reunions had been voluntary.
A woman living in the capital Grozny said that refusing would mean going against Islam and the president, putting pressure on those brought in for ‘talks’.
‘If you refuse, it means you are going against not only religion and customs, but also against his will,’ she told the BBC.
‘It is clear that, when you are pressed from all sides, you have to agree.’
A representative for the so called ‘headquarters for harmonising marital and family relations’, told BBC that the arrangements were for the benefit of children – even when it meant that a woman became her ex-husband’s second wife.
‘After our commission’s work, a man got his first wife back, and now lives with two wives, because under Islam a man can have four wives,’ he said.