Islamic (Sharia) Law in Germany, Holland and Britain

www.pipelinenews.org - 04 October 2011 - From EMERSON VERMAAT

San Francisco, CA - PipeLineNews.org - "Their courtrooms are mosques, their law is the Sharia: Islamic peace judges undermine the rule of law," the influential German weekly Der Spiegel reported last August. "The legal authorities do not know how to defend themselves against it." European crime statistics show a proportionally higher crime rate amongst populations of non-Western origin. (Drug smuggling, migrant trafficking, document forgery, violent robberies, rape, prostitution, honor crimes, etc.)

So-called Islamic "peace judges" or arbiters are settling criminal cases, not just in Germany but in other European countries as well. Muslim immigrants prefer their own judges and do not trust secular Western legal systems. Thus, Islamic shadow justice systems are making inroads into Western societies. "Under Sharia law to settle disputes can be innocent, but it can also undermine Western ideas of fairness," Der Spiegel reports. Journalist Joachim Wagner, author of a new German study on parallel justice, says that the world of the Islamic shadow justice system is "very foreign, and for a German lawyer completely incomprehensible. It follows its own rules. The Islamic arbitrators aren't interested in evidence when they deliver a judgment, and unlike in German criminal law, the question of who is at fault doesn't play much of a role." The arbitrators "talk with the perpetrator's family who are generally the ones who have called the arbitrator, and with the victim's family," Wagner says. "They ask: Why did this happen? How bad is the damage? How serious is the injury? But for them, a solution of the conflict, a compromise, is the most important thing."

"The problem starts when the arbitrators force the justice system out of the picture, especially in the case of criminal offenses," Wagner says. "At that point they undermime the state monopoly on violence. Islamic conflict resolution in particular, as I've experienced it, is often achieved through violence and threats. It's often a dictate of power on the part of the stronger family." "These arbitrators try to resorve conflicts according to Islamic law and to sideline German criminal law. We see witness testimony withdrawn (from German courts) and accusations trivialized to the point where an entire case runs aground. The justice system is 'powerless,' partly because it hasn't tackled the problem vigorously enough." Judges and prosecutors "are overwhelmed, because they don't know how to react," Wagner claims "They are in the middle of a legal case, and suddenly there's no evidence. Eighty-seven percent of the cases I researched either were dismissed or ended with an acquittal when Islamic arbitrators are involved." "Decisions by Islamic arbitrators, so I noticed, are often implemented by force and making threats."

"Certain defense lawyers," Wagner says, "need to stop behaving as if they were mere servants to a parallel justice system. They allow themselves to be directed by their clients' desires, regardless of truth and justice."

Der Spiegel discusses the case of Fuat S. who was beaten up so badly by a Palestinian named Mustafa O. and his three brothers, that he ended up in a Berlin hospital. S., a notorious gambler who is on welfare, owed Mustafa O. 150,000 euros. They threatened to kill him if he failed to pay Mustafa. Mustafa O. was a frequent violent offender and Berlin prosecutors now hoped they could finally bring him to justice. However, during the trial key witness Fuat S. unexpectely withdrew his previous statement, claiming it was not Mustafa O. who tortured him but a Albanian man he didn't know. An obvious lie, but the court had to acquit the suspect. What had happened? The families of both the victim and the perpetrators had agreed to follow the decision of an Islamic peace judge or arbitrator. Fuat would not blame Mustafa in court, and for his part, Mustafa would let off part of Fuat's debt.

Judges and prosecutors complain that witnesses are subjected to systematic intimidation, and that even they, too, are intimated. Serious crimes committed by an increasing number of Muslim immigrants are no longer cleared up. A Munich Imam named Sheikh Abu Adam, dresssed as a fundamentalist Muslim, told Der Spiegel: "My ruling is more just than the one proclaimed by the state." "I tell my people, don't go to the police. We solve these conflicts among ourselves." vIslamic mediators also play an important role in "solving" cases of honor crimes and forced marriages. Der Spiegel reported last year that German courts apply Sharia law, especially concerning cases of family law and the law of inheritance. (Under Sharia law female heirs inherit half of what male heirs in a similar position would inherit.) Jordanian immigrants in Germany are married and divorced in accordance with Jordanian law. Even polygamous marriages are recognized. A Jordanian woman who enters into a polygamous marriage in her home country with a Jordanian immigrant in Germany is entitled to welfare in Germany. A Moroccan man living in Germany was married to two Moroccan women. One of the women refused to share her husband's pension with his second wife. However, a German court applied Morrocan Sharia law and ruled that both wives were entitled to receive the same amount of money.

It was during a visit to Germany in February 2008 that Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyib Erdogan called on the Turkish immigrant community not a assimilate into German society. Peter Struck, a prominent social democratic politician, then critized Erdogan saying he gave the impression that he endorsed the creation of "parallel societies." (...)

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