A controversial Muslim entrepreneur has created a dating site to help men find a second wife with close to 35,000 Britons signing up.
Azad Chaiwala, 33, is the brains behind SecondWife.com and Polygamy.com, with the former aimed at Muslim men and the latter catering for those of all faiths.
Bigamy is illegal in Britain and carries a jail sentence of up to seven years, but Mr Chaiwala insists that his service is promoting fidelity and stopping women from being lonely.
His sites, he claims, are about old fashioned values.
Mr Chaiwala explains: ‘Users police each other and every picture is vetted for decency. We do not allow cleavage.’
However, not all are convinced by his progressive romantic vision.
Leading Muslim MP Khalid Mahmood has branded the venture ‘stupid’ and warned that women entering a polygamous relationship are waving away financial rights usually attached to a marriage.
He said: ‘It puts a person in huge peril because they are not allowed to claim, as a partner, on his estate. It is not acceptable and puts individuals very much at risk, it puts them at a huge disadvantage.
‘They think they are doing the right thing, but it does put them at risk in terms of the financial situation.’
While Mariam Khan, councillor for Washwood Heath in Birmingham said: ‘It is the women who suffer.
‘The modern-day version of looking for a second wife is disrespectful to women, and it is not using the Islamic teaching in a fair way. It ends up in a deteriorating relationship between the husband and first wife.’
SecondWife has 35,000 members, mostly from the West Midlands, while Polygamy has 7,000 since its launch last year.
Visitors first click on a verse from the Quran, that reads: ‘Then marry women of your choice, two or three, or four, but if you fear that you will not be able to deal justly, then only one.’
Mr Chaiwala said that polygamy, across all religions, is more popular than it has ever been.
The East Midlands businessman intends to use SecondWife.com to find two more partners – but admits his Leicester wife has concerns.
‘There is not a woman on earth who would be totally comfortable with it,’ he said. ‘Even the Prophet Muhammad’s wives showed signs of jealousy. I’m quite picky.’
Mr Chaiwala stresses that he is not promoting a criminal act with his websites. His religion allows a man to have up to four wives, as long as they are in agreement with the arrangement.
Those tangled relationships can be celebrated through a civil-style ceremony in mosques but cannot be cemented through a legal service.
Mr Chaiwala, who is convinced that polygamy will eventually be made legal in the UK, said: ‘This is my wedding, I do not need to have a piece of paper. Is it illegal to have a mistress?’
He added: ‘People go to a nightclub and have a one-night stand and that’s the end of it. Men go with prostitutes; people look for swingers’ clubs.
‘A man wants to get married to multiple partners in an honourable manner, he wants to share his love and resources – why do you have an issue with that?
‘It is not for everyone – some men are not physically, or financially, capable of taking care of other women.’
Mr Chaiwala stressed that polygamy is not confined to the Muslim faith.
He said: ‘Two hundred years ago, there were British viceroys who had seven or eight wives.
‘Islam puts a limit on the number of wives, while with other religions there is no limit. If it is good for me and acceptable in the eyes of God, it must be fine.’
The growing popularity of Polygamy.com, underlines the broad appeal of having multiple partners, the father-of-two claims.
He said: ‘The response has been amazing. It has changed all previous notions.
‘Polygamy is still a taboo. How many have the guts to say, ‘I want to partake in it’?
‘But if people do want to partake in it, I am giving them that service.
‘Those who protest about what I’m doing are mistaken. It’s hypocritical to say it’s wrong.
‘I am not saying I hate women, I am saying, ‘Love women, provide for them, be faithful to them’.
‘I am saying, ‘Be a good husband, be a caring husband’. ‘