World

Polygamy app stirs controversy in Indonesia

BOGOR Scrolling through dating websites a year ago, Indonesian app developer Lindu Pranayama realised there were a lot of married men looking for another wife - but few online services to meet their needs.

"When they go to regular dating sites, they don't see options for polygamy. They don't see options for finding second, third or fourth wives," he said.

Enter AyoPoligami - a smartphone app developed by Mr Lindu, which aims to "bring together male users with women who are willing to make 'big families".

Loosely translated as "Let's do polygamy", the Tinder-style dating app has already stirred up controversy since its April launch in Indonesia, where over 80 per cent of the 250 million population are Muslim and polygamy is legal.

Muslim men can take up to four wives in Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country, if permission is granted by a court and the first wife gives her consent.

Court officials could not provide figures of how many people in Indonesia are polygamous, but activists say cases of men giving false information to gain permission and manipulation of women are common.

The app has been downloaded over 10,000 times before it stopped registering new members following concerns that fake accounts were being set up, and men using the site without the knowledge of their first wives.

A new version is set to be launched on Oct 5, and will impose stricter rules on users - including requiring them to provide an identification card, marital status and a letter of permission from their first wives.

The majority of the app users were men, but there were also about 4,000 women who have registered, the app developer said.

But Indriyati Suparno, a commissioner from the government-backed National Commission on Violence Against Women, said: "The reality is women tend to be the victims of domestic violence in a polygamous marriage - polygamy is a form of violence against women," she said. - REUTERS

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