Category: ‘religion’

Michigan doctors charged in first federal genital mutilation case in US

23 April 2017 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

“In the first federal case involving female genital mutilation filed in the United States, two Michigan doctors and the wife of one of the doctors have been charged with performing the banned procedure on two 7-year-old girls.”

How come fgm/c is said to happen quite often, even among migrants in the US and in Europe, while prosecution hardly ever happens? Are these cases so difficult to detect? Is evidence unreliable? Doesn’t the police pay attantion to it?

In this case, CNN reports: “The Detroit Free Press reported from the hearing that Smith said her client removed membrane from the girls’ genital area using a “scraper” as part of a religious practice. The girls’ parents would then bury the membrane in the ground in accordance with their religious custom, Smith said, according to the Free Press account.” 

‘Removing membrane’ – if this is an accurate description of the practice – is maybe hard to classify as fgm/c?

For an article on the approach toward fgm/c in the Netherlands, see Renée Kool ‘The Dutch approach to female genital mutilation in view of the ECHR’ in the Utrecht Law Review, 2010.

Another Dutch court on dissolution of Islamic marriage

4 September 2016 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

The Dutch civil court in the city of Eindhoven, formally the ‘Rechtbank Oost-Brabant’, ruled on 3 August 2016 that a shiite man should cooperate in the dissolution of his Islamic marriage. The court ruled that the man infringes the freedom of his wife to enter into a new relationship (his wife issued a tort action). The man initially refused the dissolution because he first wanted the mahr back. The court balanced his interest against the freedom of his wife, and ruled in her favour.

The case can be found (in Dutch) on

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:

‘Netherlands not a suitable country for orthodox Jews anymore’

18 October 2012 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

The Netherlands will cease to be a suitable country for orthodox Jews when current plans to check and control the process of ritual slaughter, says chief rabbi Aryeh Ralbag. Ralbag reacts to the new covenant between religious groups and the ministry. When this covenant is accepted is it is formulated right now, the civil servant who will check the process will be ‘above’ the rabbi, and this is unacceptable.

The ministry says it takes the complaints seriously. The rabbi will be invited for a talk.

See in Dutch the NRC.

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.

new alevi cem evi

13 August 2012 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

On Friday I had a meeting in the city of Huizen. The alevi community has been able over the last years to gatber enough energy and money to build their own meeting house from scratch. The building really is nice and large. The official opening will be on 27 October, with the mayor holding the opening speech. Really a great accomplishment for the Dutch alevis and a gain for Dutch culture.


Victory for the equality principle!

20 July 2012 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

The application at the European Court of Human RIghts of the SGP, the orthodox protestant political party that bans women form formal positions in the party on biblical grounds, was declared inadmissible. In 2010 the Supreme Court of the Netherlands ruled that the equality principle was more important than the freedom of religion, and that the ban  on women was thus contrary to law. The deal with the Dutch state was to ‘do nothing’ until the European Court had given a final verdict. And now we have it! In the last paragraphs the Court says:

“76. The issue in the present case is the applicant party’s position, restated in the present proceedings before the Court, that women should not be allowed to stand for elected office in general representative bodies of the State on its own lists of candidates. It makes little difference whether or not the denial of a fundamental political right based solely on gender is stated explicitly in the applicant party’s bye-laws or in any other of the applicant party’s internal documents, given that it is publicly espoused and followed in practice.

77. The Supreme Court, in paragraphs 4.5.1 to 4.5.5 of its judgment, concluded from Article 7 of the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women and from Articles 2 and 25 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights taken together that the SGP’s position is unacceptable regardless of the deeply-held religious conviction on which it is based (see paragraph 49 above). For its part, and having regard to the Preamble to the Convention and the case-law cited in paragraphs 70, 71 and 72 above, the Court takes the view that in terms of the Convention the same conclusion flows naturally from Article 3 of Protocol No. 1 taken together with Article 14.
78. That said, the Court must refrain from stating any view as to what, if anything, the respondent Government should do to put a stop to the present situation. The Court cannot dictate action in a decision on admissibility; it is, in any case, an issue well outside the scope of the present application.
79. It follows that the application is manifestly ill-founded and must be rejected in accordance with Article 35 §§ 3 (a) and 4 of the Convention.

For these reasons, the Court unanimously
Declares the application inadmissible.”

So hurray for the equality principle! But ‘not so hurray’ for the freedom of religion of a really tiny minority group. And not so hurray either for the tolerance of diversity.

Rumble in a mosque

7 July 2012 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

The Hague has a ‘famous’ Salafi ultra-orthodox mosque, called As Sunnah. The imam of the mosque Fawaz Jneid has been concluding nikah marriages since he came to work there. Recently, he was told to stop it, or otherwise he would be prosecuted. Apparently he did not stop. The prosecutor is now investigating ‘illegal sharia practices’ of the imam (in NL it is illegal to conclude a religious marriage before a civil one).

In the meantime, the mosque also has an internal fight. The board of the mosque has sacked the imam. Both sides now scold the other one with being ‘rotte vis’ (a famous but rather old fashioned Dutch offense) and ‘extremist’. Insiders say it is just a sign of power struggles.

Check: there are only about 150 Burqa wearers in NL

10 March 2012 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

NRC Next, the popular quick to read version of national newspaper NRC, everyday has a ‘check’ whether a popular statement or thought is true or not. Today, it was the long resonating figure of ‘there are probably only about 150 burqa wearers in the Netherlands’ – with the implicit assumption ‘why should we bother and make a law about it’? Anyway, according to Annelies Moors, professor in Islamic studies at the University of Amsterdam, the number of women in NL who wear a burqa covering the eyes is about zero. There are probably about a 100 full time niqaab wearers (leaving a slit for the eyes), and about 400 part time wearers.

Based on these figures and estimates, NRC Next states that the popular statement is largely true.

BTW a law that prohibits covering of the face in public is underway …

Jewish Rabbi & row over gays

22 January 2012 Posted by Wibo van Rossum

Rabbi Aryeh Ralbag, living in the US but also having an official function in the Jewish community in Amsterdam, in 2011 signed a declaration stating the ‘official’ view of the Torah that homosexuality should be healed. At first he had also signed on behalf of the Amsterdam community, but Ronnie Eisenmann, head of that community, asked him to remove reference to Amsterdam. According to Eisenmann the Declaration does not do justice to the Dutch way of dealing with the issue and does not reflect the Dutch view.

Ralbag at first wanted to come to the Netherlands to explain the official view. The Amsterdam Jewish Community however suspended his position. Today Ralbag announced he would not visit the Netherlands for some time because there are ‘strong indications that he and his wife ‘would not be sure of their lives if they came to the Netherlands now’.

I just wonder who from which group would threaten Ralbag. One would think it must be someone from the Dutch gay community … But seriously??! Come on …

  • Archives

  • Categories