Cultural Revolutions

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...

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