Around the world, Islamic enclaves are attempting to utilize Sharia law as a parallel court system, claiming that they have every right to do so. In many European countries, Islamic minorities are even turning to the government to enforce decisions handed down in Sharia courts concerning civil cases.
However, some countries in the European Union are beginning to fight back, looking to limit the power of Sharia courts to act as a parallel court to the government’s courts. Greece, looking to turn back a law that they wrote into existence nearly a century ago, is seeking to limit the cases that Sharia courts can hear, as well as giving Greek courts priority in all cases.
The changes, which many legal experts in Greece and around the world believe to be long overdue, arose from an inheritance dispute brought forward by a Muslim woman in the Greek city of Komotini. This Muslim woman complained to the European Court of Human Rights concerning the case, prompting the Greek government to review their laws.
The complaint, relating to the case Molla Sali v. Greece, is an interesting one. Chatitze Molla Sali, upon the death of her husband, inherited her husband’s entire estate, as a will he had drawn up and notarized stipulated. Obviously, he wished his wife to inherit the entirety of his worldly wealth.
Her husband’s sisters contested the will, and claiming that their brother was a member of Thrace’s Islamic community, demanded that an Islamic course hear the case. Due to laws written in the 1920’s, the Greek courts relented, and the Islamic court took 75 percent of Chatitze Molla Sali’s inheritance from her.
Obviously, this creates a problem and one that the Greek government hopes to fix. A government cannot allow multiple parallel courts to exist, and to arbitrarily undermine their laws whenever they want.
In Molla Sali’s case, her late husband’s sisters managed to essentially rob her of her due inheritance and to undermine her husband’s last wishes. Her husband had drawn up a will and had notarized it, and the will was written in accordance with Greek law, not Islamic.
However, because Greece agreed to subvert their legal system to Islamic law nearly a century ago, all that didn’t matter a bit. An Islamic court and a Greek court of Cassation robbed her of her inheritance.
In the United States, the government does not acknowledge the rights of Islamic courts to make decisions that have any binding authority or right of law. In general, the United States only recognizes the right of religious courts to handle religious issues, such as divorce, marriage, and election to religious leadership roles.
For example, there are religious communities in the United States that have religious courts, but they are not allowed to decide the actual law. Within forty miles of each other in the Detroit area in Michigan, there are both multiple beis din and Sharia courts. Neither of them is allowed to decide anything of consequence outside of their respective religions of Judaism and Islam, though.
However, there are nations in Europe, such as Greece and England, where religious courts have or recently had the power to make actual legal decisions. It’s strange that governments in Europe, with their recent history of feigning concern about equality, would opt to allow religious courts to operate, however, especially Islamic courts.
Islamic courts, as with Islam in general, tend to favor the rights of men over those of women. Because of this, it could be argued that it is essentially impossible for women to get a fair trial in front of an Islamic court. Look at what happened with Molla Sali’s case; an Islamic court that neither she nor her husband was currently part of awarded locals with an inheritance in spite of the deceased’s wishes. Surely, the local Mufti who decided the case did not stand to benefit at all.
The United States should be careful not to follow in Europe’s footprints as they continue to prop up religious courts in the name of ‘inclusivity.’ The United States is a nation of laws, laws which are supposed to apply to all people evenly, regardless of wealth, sex, race, age, religion, or fame. Religious courts do not have similar standards, and should not be given the rule of law, nor given authority to make legally binding decisions.
As a general rule, anything that gives religions more rights to govern the lives of the general populace should be avoided. Sharia law is a terrible thing, and cooperating with it is unwise for any government that hopes to see real justice.