Sharia Comes to Germany
The husband routinely beat his 26-year-old German-born wife, the mother of their two young children, and threatened to kill her when the court ordered him to move out of their Hamburg apartment. Police were called repeatedly to intervene. The wife wanted a quick divorce—without waiting a year after separation, as mandated by German law—arguing that the abuse and death threats she suffered easily fulfilled the “hardship” criterion required for an accelerated decree.
Judge Christa Datz-Winter refused to grant one, however, arguing that the Koran allows a husband to beat his wife and that the couple’s Moroccan origin must be taken into account in the case. They both come from a cultural milieu, Judge Datz-Winter wrote, in which it is common for husbands to beat their wives as sanctioned by the Koran. The husband’s exercise of “the right to castigate” does not fulfill the hardship criterion of German federal law, and the wife’s Western lifestyle may have given her husband grounds to claim that his honor had been compromised.
Turkish newspapers have added that the judge made specific reference to Sura 4 of the Koran, which contains the infamous verse 34: “Men have the authority over women because God has made the one superior to the other, and because they spend their wealth to maintain them. Good women are obedient. They guard their unseen parts because God has guarded them. As for those from whom you fear disobedience, admonish them and send them to beds apart and beat them.”
The wife’s lawyer, Barbara Becker-Rojczyk, was shocked that, in a German legal case, a German judge would invoke the Muslim holy book to assert that husbands can beat wives, but this was not the first time that German courts have used litigants’ “cultural background” to inform their verdicts. Christa Stolle of Terre des Femmes, a women’s rights group, points out that, in a number of cases involving questions of marital violence, the alleged perpetrator’s culture of origin had been considered a “mitigating circumstance.”
Judge Datz-Winter’s invocation of Koranic law has far-reaching implications. There are some 25 million Muslims in Western Europe, and most of them already consider themselves members of an autonomous community of believers that is justifiably opposed to their decadent host society of infidels. In Britain, France, Benelux, and Scandinavia, they already demand the adoption of sharia within segregated Muslim communities, which their leaders believe to be a step in the direction toward the imposition of sharia on the host society as a whole.
Europe’s elite class is ready to let them have it. As I wrote in these pages in December 2006 (“Eurabian Nights,” View), Dutch Justice Minister Piet Hein Donner sees the introduction of sharia as perfectly legitimate, so long as it is done by democratic means: “the majority counts—that is the essence of democracy.” The same “essence” was reiterated in similar terms by Jens Orback, the Swedish integration minister, who declared last July that “We must be open and tolerant towards Islam and Muslims because when we become a minority, they will be so towards us.” Swedish courts are already introducing sharia into civil cases: A judge in the city of Halmestad ordered a Muslim man to pay Mahr—the Islamic dowry ordained by the Koran as part of the sharia marriage contract—to his Muslim wife whom he wanted to divorce.
Back home, the New York Times had a bone to pick with the German judge mainly because of her suggestion that Islam justified violence against women. “While the verse cited by Judge Datz-Winter does say husbands may beat their wives for being disobedient—an interpretation embraced by fundamentalists— mainstream Muslims have long rejected wife-beating as a medieval relic.”
In reality, “mainstream Muslims” do nothing of the sort. Scholars at the most respected institution of Islamic learning, Cairo’s Azhar University, are unambiguous: “If admonishing and sexual desertion fail to bring forth results and the woman is of a cold and stubborn type, the Qur’an bestows on man the right to straighten her out by way of punishment and beating, provided he does not break her bones nor shed blood. Many a wife belongs to this querulous type and requires this sort of punishment to bring her to her senses!”
Allah’s commandment that every wife obey her husband or else is clarified by Muhammad’s personal insights. When asked which woman is virtuous, he replied, “She who gives pleasure to her husband when he looks, obeys him when he bids, and who does not oppose him, fearing his displeasure.”
Muhammad mandated that a husband’s needs must come first: “Give her food when you have taken your food, clothe her when you have clothed yourself, do not slap her on the face, nor revile her, nor leave her alone, except within the house.” A man’s sex drive has to be satisfied immediately: “When a man calls his wife to his bed, and she does not respond, the One Who is in the heaven is displeased with her until he is pleased with her.”
Islam’s treatment of women might be expected to make the “religion of peace” abhorrent within the cultural milieu of the equal-rights obsessed European Union and the neofeminist New York Times, but this has not happened. Islamic teaching on marriage and the family, though “conservative” on “patriarchy,” is the very antithesis of the Christian concept of matrimony, which is based on love and inseparable partnership. Islam is therefore an “objective” ally of postmodernity—a few beatings here and a few rapes there, notwithstanding.
“I can only say, Good night, Germany,” says Ronald Pofalla, the general secretary of Germany’s ruling Christian Democratic Union, of Frau Datz-Winter’s ruling. Unless the madness is checked, it will be good night to us all, well before this century is over.