The First Sharia Judge of Damascus is a religious authority who presides over the six Islamic courts at the Palace of Justice. Recently, he became the talk of the town overnight when he ruled that Syrian men should take a second wife in order to help unmarried women make ends meet in times of war. “A second marriage is one of the ways to deal with spinsterhood,” said Judge Mahmud Maarawi. A six-year civil war has seen hundreds of thousands of men die, thousands languishing in jail and millions fleeing the country in order to secure jobs abroad or avoid the military draft. Syria’s population is now estimated at around 18 million, down from its pre-war population of 24 million, although no official figures have been released. Woman now make up approximately 65 percent of the population and millions of women are finding it increasingly difficult to find a husband.