Germany does not legally recognise polygamy, meaning that Ghazia A was forced to choose a “main wife” so the rest of the family could claim benefits. The other three wives are categorised as “friends” of the Syrian migrant.
But a local official in the town of Montabaur described the situation as an “exemption”.
Ghazia A now lives with his “main” wife Twasif and their five children in Montabaur, in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate – while the other three wives and children have been moved into neighboring communities up to 31 miles away.
The man used to work in a garage and car hire service in his homeland but has not worked since resettling in Germany.
He expressed an interest in working again but noted his commitments to his family made this difficult.
He told German newspaper Bild: “In our religion it is my duty to visit every family and to be with them.”
Social media users vented their frustrations, with one claiming “the Syrian with 4 women and 23 children is now being sold to us as a new normality”.