Category: ‘shariah councils’

Dutch court on Muslim divorce

19 February 2016 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

On 6 January 2016 the court of Rotterdam ruled it could not force a Muslim husband to cooperate with an Islamic divorce. The court argues that it is up to the woman to freely abide by Islamic rules, and that the issue in question does not relate to the Dutch legal order. The request of the woman (to order the man to perform a talaq or to cooperate with khula) is turned down.

See decision in Dutch: Sharia huwelijk – rb over weigering van de man om mee te werken aan ontbinding van het huwelijk

Of course the decision reached the media. Machteld Zee comments on the case (her recent PhD is shown), but also ‘Femmes for Freedom’ and lawyer Channa Samkalden who argues that ‘non-compliance with religious norms may have civil consequences for women’. The Clara Wichmann Institute will start a legal procedure (a so called ‘proefproces’) to secure that an Islamic divorce in the future can be secured. See, in Dutch:

Vids of the Religare seminar

10 October 2012 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

Via this link you can watch the video’s recorded at the Religare Expert seminar on Unregistered Marriages and Alternative Dispute Resolution in European Legal Systems, held on 4 September 2012 in London. You can see the programme and then select the sessions and speakers you would like to hear.

Commotion over Sharia councils in the Netherlands

13 July 2009 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

A news item on national television on 30 June 2009 (Netwerk, in Dutch/English/Arabic) has set in motion another media-political loop on Islam. This time it’s ‘Sharia Courts’ thanks to a very subjective and coloured television programme. Do we or don’t we have in the Dutch mosques imams who act as judges and issue fatwas in family cases? ‘Are there illegal sharia courts?” And are Muslims, especially women, forced to accept these rulings as binding? The show has people saying with indignation that some Muslim men have more than one wife! Illegally! No questions asked about Dutch men and women having more than one lover … while married! No, that’s different.
Minister of Justice Hirsch Ballin says ‘No!’ and ‘A parallel legal system would never be allowed’ in answer to questions in Parliament (guess who asked …). (And by the way, says Hirsch Ballin, ‘we will do research to find out if they do exist’.)
Maurits Berger of Leiden University addresses in NRC the ‘selective repugnancy outcry’ when the word ‘Sharia’ is mentioned. Of course, he says, there are limits to the freedom of religion, but since Catholic courts and the Jewish Beth Din are allowed to exist, as mediation and arbitration exist alongside state law, the outcry to ban ‘Sharia Courts’ is just another instance of Islam bashing and not a very good sign of Dutch society holding on to the value of treating equal things equal. And by the way,he says, sharia courts do not exist in the Netherlands.
Nahed Selim, interpretor and writer, who also performed in the Netwerk news item, argues in “Help Muslims escape the tyranny of sharia law” against every Islamic rule that treats women differently. Permisiveness has to stop, mosques need to be closed down, and the state should help and favour the moderate part of the Muslim population.

Minister of Justice Donner and Shariah in The Netherlands

13 September 2006 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

Dutch minister of justice department Piet Hein Donner said that radical muslims must be able to have their own parliamentary representation. “Otherwise you might have a violent confrontation outside of democratic rules.”

According to Donner the introduction of shariah in The Netherlands is theoretically possible. “When two third of the Dutch people want it tomorrow, the possibility has to be open.” (Two third of the members of parliament is necessary to amend the Dutch Constitution.)

There were quite different reactions to the statements made by Donner. Some want Donner to withdraw his statements, others say even muslims in The Netherlands don’t want shariah, while still others think about prohibiting political parties which aim at introducing shariah.

Probably the most sober reactions come down to the point that it’s a purely hypothetical issue. Donner – jurist as he is – cannot but admit the possibility of amending the Dutch Constitution in favour of shariah. Like there’s also a theoretical possibility of, well, what is NOT theoretically possible?

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