Judge under fire for using Koran to deny divorce

22nd March 2007, Comments 0 comments

22 March 2007, Berlin (dpa) - A German judge has come under fire for her refusal to grant a divorce to a Muslim woman beaten by her husband on the grounds that marital violence is condoned by the Koran. Politicians, Muslims and legal experts have criticized the judge's remarks, which came in a letter denying the 26-year-old mother-of-two a fast-track divorce from her Moroccan husband. The woman, a German of Moroccan descent, was living apart from her violent husband when she sought a divorce before the end

22 March 2007

Berlin (dpa) - A German judge has come under fire for her refusal to grant a divorce to a Muslim woman beaten by her husband on the grounds that marital violence is condoned by the Koran.

Politicians, Muslims and legal experts have criticized the judge's remarks, which came in a letter denying the 26-year-old mother-of-two a fast-track divorce from her Moroccan husband.

The woman, a German of Moroccan descent, was living apart from her violent husband when she sought a divorce before the end of the usual one-year legal separation period because of continued threats made by the man against her.

After the husband contested the divorce, the judge at the Frankfurt Family Court turned down the woman's application, noting that the couple grew up with the Moroccan culture.

"In these cultural circles it is not uncommon for the husband to make use of his right of corporal punishment against his wife," she wrote. "The German-born applicant must have realized this when she married the Moroccan-born" man.

"The ruling sends a terrible signal to Muslim women," said Kristina Koehler, an expert on Islam and a member of parliament for Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrat-Christian Social Union alliance.

Calling it "unacceptable and abhorrent" for women to be told by a German court of an Islamic right to corporal punishment, she said the judge should have followed German civil law and not Islamic teaching.

"It is unbelievable that a German judge should give such a ruling, said Turkish-born German sociologist Necla Kelek. "The law should be applied the same way to everyone, regardless of whether they are Muslim or Christian."

Green Party politician Hans-Christian Stroebele said a judge in Germany was obliged to follow German laws and legal rulings. "Violence and threatening behaviour against another person is a criminal offence in Germany, and rightly so," Stroebele said.

Following disclosure of the judge's remarks, she was removed from the case and it was taken over by another judge.

DPA

Subject: German news

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