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Islamic (Sharia) Law in Germany, Holland and Britain

By EMERSON VERMAAT

October 3, 2011 - San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - "Their courtrooms are mosques, their law is the Sharia: Islamic peace judges undermine the rule of law," the influential German weekly Der Spiegel reported last August. "The legal authorities do not know how to defend themselves against it." European crime statistics show a proportionally higher crime rate amongst populations of non-Western origin. (Drug smuggling, migrant trafficking, document forgery, violent robberies, rape, prostitution, honor crimes, etc.)

So-called Islamic "peace judges" or arbiters are settling criminal cases, not just in Germany but in other European countries as well. Muslim immigrants prefer their own judges and do not trust secular Western legal systems. Thus, Islamic shadow justice systems are making inroads into Western societies. "Under Sharia law to settle disputes can be innocent, but it can also undermine Western ideas of fairness," Der Spiegel reports. Journalist Joachim Wagner, author of a new German study on parallel justice, says that the world of the Islamic shadow justice system is "very foreign, and for a German lawyer completely incomprehensible. It follows its own rules. The Islamic arbitrators aren't interested in evidence when they deliver a judgment, and unlike in German criminal law, the question of who is at fault doesn't play much of a role." The arbitrators "talk with the perpetrator's family who are generally the ones who have called the arbitrator, and with the victim's family," Wagner says. "They ask: Why did this happen? How bad is the damage? How serious is the injury? But for them, a solution of the conflict, a compromise, is the most important thing."

"The problem starts when the arbitrators force the justice system out of the picture, especially in the case of criminal offenses," Wagner says. "At that point they undermine the state monopoly on violence. Islamic conflict resolution in particular, as I've experienced it, is often achieved through violence and threats. It's often a dictate of power on the part of the stronger family." "These arbitrators try to resolve conflicts according to Islamic law and to sideline German criminal law. We see witness testimony withdrawn (from German courts) and accusations trivialized to the point where an entire case runs aground. The justice system is 'powerless,' partly because it hasn't tackled the problem vigorously enough." Judges and prosecutors "are overwhelmed, because they don't know how to react," Wagner claims "They are in the middle of a legal case, and suddenly there's no evidence. Eighty-seven percent of the cases I researched either were dismissed or ended with an acquittal when Islamic arbitrators are involved." "Decisions by Islamic arbitrators, so I noticed, are often implemented by force and making threats."

"Certain defense lawyers," Wagner says, "need to stop behaving as if they were mere servants to a parallel justice system. They allow themselves to be directed by their clients' desires, regardless of truth and justice."

Der Spiegel discusses the case of Fuat S. who was beaten up so badly by a Palestinian named Mustafa O. and his three brothers, that he ended up in a Berlin hospital. S., a notorious gambler who is on welfare, owed Mustafa O. 150,000 euros. They threatened to kill him if he failed to pay Mustafa. Mustafa O. was a frequent violent offender and Berlin prosecutors now hoped they could finally bring him to justice. However, during the trial key witness Fuat S. unexpectely withdrew his previous statement, claiming it was not Mustafa O. who tortured him but a Albanian man he didn't know. An obvious lie, but the court had to acquit the suspect. What had happened? The families of both the victim and the perpetrators had agreed to follow the decision of an Islamic peace judge or arbitrator. Fuat would not blame Mustafa in court, and for his part, Mustafa would let off part of Fuat's debt.

Judges and prosecutors complain that witnesses are subjected to systematic intimidation, and that even they, too, are intimated. Serious crimes committed by an increasing number of Muslim immigrants are no longer cleared up. A Munich Imam named Sheikh Abu Adam, dresssed as a fundamentalist Muslim, told Der Spiegel: "My ruling is more just than the one proclaimed by the state." "I tell my people, don't go to the police. We solve these conflicts among ourselves."

Islamic mediators also play an important role in "solving" cases of honor crimes and forced marriages. Der Spiegel reported last year that German courts apply Sharia law, especially concerning cases of family law and the law of inheritance. (Under Sharia law female heirs inherit half of what male heirs in a similar position would inherit.) Jordanian immigrants in Germany are married and divorced in accordance with Jordanian law. Even polygamous marriages are recognized. A Jordanian woman who enters into a polygamous marriage in her home country with a Jordanian immigrant in Germany is entitled to welfare in Germany.

A Moroccan man living in Germany was married to two Moroccan women. One of the women refused to share her husband's pension with his second wife. However, a German court applied Morrocan Sharia law and ruled that both wives were entitled to receive the same amount of money.

It was during a visit to Germany in February 2008 that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan called on the Turkish immigrant community not a assimilate into German society. Peter Struck, a prominent social democratic politician, then critized Erdogan saying he gave the impression that he endorsed the creation of "parallel societies."

The Netherlands and Britain

The liberal Dutch newspaper NRC Next recently reported that Dutch courts sometimes apply Sharia law, too, provided, so the paper finds, it does not conflict with legal, social and moral principles deemed essential by these courts. A Dutch woman went to Iran and married an Iranian man. In doing so she automatically acquired Iranian nationality. When she applied for a divorce in Holland, Dutch judges decided not to apply Dutch but Iranian law, as both spouses were Iranians. Iran does not recognize community of property in marriages, so this woman did not receive anything from her former husband. This, in my view, was not a very wise decision by the Dutch court, even though this Iranian marriage was concluded before the fall of the Shah of Iran in 1979. The woman in question was Dutch originally.

In 676 cases, Dutch courts even applied primitive Somali law. Such are the blessings of "multiculturalism." A court in the Dutch city of The Hague ruled on June 29, 2009 that Somali law was applicable in the case of a Somali man who denied that he was the father of a child of his former wife. The court further ruled that "under Somali law" the man in question is not the legal father of the child. (Some Somali asylum seekers have more than ten children.)

Polygamous marriages are recognized under Sharia law and it is even possible to recognize ("register") such marriages under Dutch law. Back in May 2008, Dutch Labor Party politician Jeroen Dijsselbloem sounded the alarm about polygamous marriages. "More and more young Muslims opt for Islamic marriages," he said. "They don't marry at city halls, so from a legal point of view such marriages are illegitimate. In doing so Muslims indicate that that to them Islamic marriage laws are more important than Dutch law."

In 2008, a Dutch-Turkish woman was raped by her nephew. But the Dutch-Turkish Imam Bahauddin (Bahaeddin) Budak advised her not to inform her relatives about it. If she would go pulic about the crime and sue her nephew in court, her life might be in danger. He also advised her to forgive the perpetrator. Such crimes are very common among Turkish, Moroccan, Pakistani, Iraqi and Iranian immigrants in Europe many of whom still regard women as sex objects. There is also a strong tendency to cover up crimes such as rape. Women who dare to talk about it in public, or who report such crimes to the police, very often face serious repercussions, since the so-called "honor of the family" is at stake. In too many cases, these defenseless victims are subsequently even killed by family members. Budak was also a Muslim religious teacher at the "Inholland university of applied sciences" in Amsterdam. Inholland's director Cor de Raadt had Budak temporarily suspended, but a lot of Dutch Muslims complained about De Raadt's decision and showed solidarity with Imam Budak.

Islamic courts and fundamentalist Muslim clerics who introduce Sharia law to the Muslim community in Britain are having a greater impact on Britain's 1.6 million strong Muslim community than is often assumed. While the traditional churches are on the decline and are loosing members every day, the Muslim community is thriving, and many young Brits are converting to Islam. Christian symbols are outlawed, and the British Mail on Sunday reported recently that the BBC "has stopped using the terms BC and AD, in case they offend non-Christians." "The BBC has replaced 'Anno Domini' and 'Before Christ' with 'Common Era' and 'Before Common Era.'" In February 2008, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr. Rowan Williams, an outspoken leftist, gave a lecture "that sparked controversy for advocating the adoption of parts of Sharia, or Islamic law, in Britain." Quoting Muslim Brotherhood sympathizer Tariq Ramadan, Williams wanted to "dispell myths about Sharia." He argued, the London Times reported, "for a 'plural jurisdiction' that would allow Muslims to choose whether some legal disputes were resolved in secular or Sharia courts. He called for 'constructive accomodation' over such issues as resolving marriage disputes." "I seems unavoidable and, as a matter of fact, certain conditions of Sharia are already recognized in our society." He also said that there was no place for "extreme punishments" and discrimination against women. Obviously, the most senior British cleric does not want Britain to return to the harsh human rights record of the Middle Ages (killing "heretics" and the burning of so-called "witches", etc.)

Dr. Michael Nazir-Ali, the Anglican Bishop of Rochester and a Pakistani by birth, strongly disagrees with the Archbishop of Canterbury. He claimed recently that parts of Britain were no-go areas for non-Muslims. He also said: "English law is rooted in the Judaeo-Christian tradition and our notions of human freedoms derive from that tradition. It would be impossible to introduce a tradition like Sharia into this corpus without fundamentally affecting its integrity."

Sharia law allows a Muslim man "to conclude multiple marriages with up to four wives, without the need for permission of the first wife." Thus, polygamy is justified and "a growing number young British Muslims are taking second or third wives in an unexpected revival," The Australian recently reported. "The new wave of polygamy is revealed in a special report by the BBC Asian Network using findings from the Islamic Sharia Council." "These wives are not recognized by British law, but are considered legitimate within many Muslim communities." Khola Hasan, lecturer and advisor to the Islamic Sharia Council said: "Young men who have come under a more radical understanding of faith know it is illegal to marry more than once (under British law), but do it to spite the system."

"Our law maintains the best virtues of our society," writes Minette Marrin, an excellent British columnist, in The Sunday Times of Febuari 2, 2008. "Anybody who does not accept it does not belong here." She is right. If Muslims want to force medieval Sharia law practices on our secular societies, which they hate so much, why don't they go back to Pakistan or the Middle East? Why don't all those women wearing Burqas or Niqabs just emigrate to Saudi Arabia, Iran or Afghanistan?

"There is a lot to be said against Sharia and the desire of 40% of British Muslims to live under it," writes Minette Marrin. "Sharia is rightly feared here: it is disputed, sometimes primitive, grievously in need of reform and wholly unacceptable in Britain." She accuses the Archbishop of Canterbury of seeking "to undermine our legal system and the values on which it rests." That is an "unnecessary appeasement to an alien set of values." "It is a betrayal of all those who struggled and died here, over the centuries, for freedom and equality under the rule of law and of their courage in the face of injustice and unreason."

Emerson Vermaat is an investigative reporter in the Netherlands. Website: emersonvermaat.com

Sources:

Der Spiegel (Germany), August 29, 2001, p. 57-59 ("Allahs Richter"); Spiegelonline, September 1, 2011 ("Islamic Justice in Europe: 'It's Often a Dictate of Power'"). Quotes from Joachim Wagner and Abu Adam.

Jocham Wagner, Richter ohne Gesetz. Islamischen Paralleljustiz gefährdet unseren Rechtsstaat (Berlin: Econ Verlag, 2011). "Friedensrichter klinkt nach einen ehrbaren Beruf. Doch unbemerkt von der öffentlichkeit und sogar der Justiz hat sich in muslimisch geprägten Einwanderervierteln eine islamische Paralleljustiz etabliert."

Spiegelonline, October 9, 2010 ("Deutsche Gerichte wenden Scharia an").

For more examples of German courts applying Sharia law, see, inter alia, "Ehrenmord," http//de.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ehrenmord.

Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Frankfurt, Germany), February 13, 2008, p. 1 ("Struck: Erdogan fördert Entwicklung von Parallelgesellschaften").

Der Spiegel, November 15, 2004, p. 60-88 ("Für uns gelten keine Gesetze"). A lengthy and well documented article on the Turkish immigrant community, the practice of forced marriages, wifebeating and the existence of parallel societies in Germany.

NRC Next September 29, 2011, p. 3 ("Sharia in Nederland: onzin of realiteit").

Imam Bahaeddin Budak en verkrachting, Leugens.nl, May 30, 2008; Trouw (Amsterdam), June 11, 2008, p. 7 ("Protest moslims tegen ontslag imam InHolland").

Rechtspraak.nl, Zoek (Search): "Somalisch recht" (Somali law), 676 uitspraken (676 Dutch court decisions). "Rechtspraak.nl" is the official website of the Dutch courts. Spits (Netherlands), May 22, 2008, p. 1, 3 ("Rem op islamhuwelijken"). Quote from Jeroen Dijsselbloem; NRC Handelsblad (Amsterdam/Rotterdam), August 9, 2008, p. 3 ("Jaarlijks vele polygame huwelijken"). "Ambtenaren van de burgerlijke stand in met name de grote steden registreren jaarlijks tientallen bigame of polygame huwelijken. Deze huwelijken zijn in Nederland verboden en strafbaar." 'Het valt nu buiten onze statistieken,' zegt Jan Latten van het CBS. 'Zo boeken we ook huwelijken af waarbij veertienjarigen ingeschreven staan.'"

Rechtspraak.nl, LJN BK 1042, Rechtbank 's-Gravenhage, 321366/FARK 08- 7981, June 29, 2009. (Decision by the court of The Hague).

Jan Harris, BBC in AD/BC controversy, Interfaith.org., September 27, 2011.

Timesonline (London), February 8, 2008 ("Archbishop of Canterbury argues for Islamic law in Britain"). Also the quotes from Dr. Michael Nazir Ali, the Bishop of Rochester, as well as the "Full text of Archbishop's Lecture – Civil and Religious Law in England: a religious perspective."

Jan Michiel Otto, Sharia Incorporated. A Comparative Overview of the Legal Systems of Twelve Muslim Countries in Past and Present (Leiden, Netherlands: Leiden University Press, 2010), p. 631 (polygamy), p. 632 (inheritance).

The Australian, September 27, 2011 ("British Muslims reviving polygamy").

Minette Marrin, Archbishop, you've committed treason, The Sunday Times, February 10, 2008, p. 16.

© 2011 Emerson Vermaat. All rights reserved.

 
 
 


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