Ghazia A. (49) was a self-employed cars salesman in Syria, where he provided for himself and his large family.
But in 2015 he traveled to Germany, and that was the end of self- sustaining.
In Germany, he does not lift a finger. He lives on social welfare paid by German taxpayers. And he does so with his four wives and 22 children. He also has an adult daughter who is married in Saudi Arabia.
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.
Under some Islamic traditions, the 49-year-old can have up to four wives – as long as he can support them financially.
Ghazia A. is one of the many Muslim men who has used this right in Syria.
Ghazia A. admittedly was asked to make one of the four wives his official wife, and he chose Twasif with five children as his official wife.
The three other women now live three other places, with the other 17 children.
But in reality, his polygamy remains largely unchanged !
Authorities have designated the three other wives, as his ‘partners’. They also live nearby.
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”.