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Alleged polygamy sparks Swiss mosque ruckus

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13:18 CET+01:00
A married religious leader at a Lausanne mosque is being accused of polygamy after tying the knot with another woman in a religious ceremony.

The imam of the Islamic centre near the city’s main train station has a relationship with a Swiss woman who converted to Islam and married him in a religious ceremony, 20 Minutes reported on Friday, citing several unnamed sources.

The woman however, is married, although separated, while the imam is also legally married.

The situation is being regard as a scandal by many members of the Islamic centre, 20 Minutes said.

“The people are very shocked,” one member told the newspaper.

“Some of them are no longer going to the centre because of these practices.”

The legitimate husband of the woman allegedly having a relationship with the imam said her regular visits to the Islamic centre tore apart their marriage, 20 Minutes reported.

Both the imam and the converted woman are separated but not divorced.

“She often went to the mosque without me,” the husband is quoted as saying.

“Each time she returned we had problems and the imam always returned to the discussion.”

The woman in question told 20 Minutes she did not want to discuss “details of my private life”.

She said, like others, she was a “student” of the imam.

“I cannot say any more than that.”

The Imam also declined to comment on his situation.

“I prefer not to speak about it,” he said.

“I am separated from my spouse — I already have enough problems with my marital life.”

Readers of 20 Minutes noted in comments that there is a difference in Switzerland between a religious and a civil marriage, with the civil form being the only one that is officially recognized.

The controversy emerges just as members of the religious centre are preparing to celebrate the Islamic new year on Saturday.

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