European and American experts say changing Malta’s divorce ban would show weakness to radical Muslims, who could capitalize on the island’s drift toward secularism to push for Islamic laws.
“Forced secularism is a gift to the radical Muslims,” said Stephen Schwartz, a U.S. author and researcher on the Islamic world. “They have the perspective that confusion and secularization is good among the Christians.”
“Everybody has reason to be worried about radical Islam, and this is an issue of radical Islam,” said Schwartz, founder of the Washington-based Center for Islamic Pluralism. “My opinion is: Malta should not change its divorce laws.”
Malta is the only European country that does not allow divorce. But this could change, depending on the outcome of a May 28 referendum in this tiny Mediterranean island nation of 408,000 people. Voters will decide the fate of proposed legislation that would permit divorce. If the referendum passes by popular vote, the legislation would then go before parliament for its approval.