Greece’s Muslim minority hails change to limit power of sharia law

Source: The Guardian

By  in Athens

PM welcomes legislation allowing them to opt for Greece’s secular legal system instead of Islamic law to resolve divorce, child custody and inheritance matters

Alexis Tsipras

Members of Greece’s Muslim minority have hailed new legislation that will enable citizens to sidestep sharia law in family disputes, but says the measure fails to go far enough in Europe’s only country where Islamic jurists still hold sway.

In a move described as a “historic step” by the prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, the leftist-led government announced on Tuesday that members of Greece’s 120,000-strong Muslim community would be able to seek recourse in Greek courts in divorce, child custody and inheritance matters rather than take their case to Islamic jurists – a century-old legacy of legislation drafted with the collapse of the Ottoman empire.

Human rights groups have long said the laws discriminate against women.

But while welcomed, Muslim MPs said the new law had not “fully abolished” sharia courts in the sole EU member state where they had been compulsory.

“There is no doubt this is an important step and a positive one that will open the way to further freedom for our community,” MP Mustafa Mustafa told the Guardian. “But I would have liked it to be fully abolished. No other EU country has sharia.”

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