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Politician slammed for remarks on Sharia courts
Photo: DPA

Politician slammed for remarks on Sharia courts

Published: 04 Feb 2012 10:31 GMT+01:00
Updated: 04 Feb 2012 10:31 GMT+01:00

The justice minister in the state of Rhineland-Palatinate has sparked outrage after proposing that Germany could permit Sharia courts, which operate according to Islamic law, to preside over some civil cases in the country.

Jochen Hartloff, a member of the centre-left Social Democrat Party (SPD), told the BZ newspaper that he was open to allowing civil suits to be brought before Sharia arbitration courts if both parties agreed.

Such courts would be barred from hearing criminal cases, however, and their jurisdiction would be limited to disputes over money, divorce and inheritance issues. Hartloff also said he would only accept a modern form of Sharia law.

"We won't tolerate the Stone Age," he added. "Stoning is a violation of human rights."

Hartloff's comments have triggered calls for his resignation from conservative politicians. In an interview with Germany's Bild daily, the legal expert for the centre-right Christian Social Union (CSU) party, Stephan Mayer, called Sharia law "cruel and inhuman in every form."

"It is unthinkable that a justice minister would have those ideas," he said.

The Federal Justice Ministry also responded. It warned against the notion of "parallel justice in Germany," saying the state bears sole judicial responsibility.

Hartloff's remarks were met with puzzlement across the political spectrum, with representatives of the Free Democrats (FDP) and the Greens voicing their disagreement.

The Central Council of Muslims in Germany, however, praised Hartloff's suggestion, with the head of the organisation, Aiman Mazyek, calling it a way to better "pacify parties to a dispute long-term."

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Your comments about this article

11:57 February 4, 2012 by Bavaria Mike
I too would like to see Jochen Hartloff's resignation!
12:23 February 4, 2012 by ECSNatale
At some point, cultural understanding and cultural treason intersect. Jochen Hartloff is standing in the middle of this intersection and if he doesn't get run over by freedom loving people, he will ultimately get run over my some Imam on the way to his Sharia court... which will then charge Hartloff for being a heathen who deserved to be run over for standing in the road in the first place.
13:10 February 4, 2012 by twisted
I do not want to see Muslim law, Catholic law, Jewish law or any other religious laws practiced in Germany or any other country, for that matter. German law should be sufficient.
13:10 February 4, 2012 by boopsie
* Almost * unbelievable until you consider the increasing inevitability of episodes like this. Well, the germans wanted cheap labor and breeding stock for more workers because their own citizens weren't reproducing enough. To bad they didn't understand that multiculturalism would never work and that the new inhabitants in the country would eventually try to change things themselves rather than submit to the host culture. And now we've reached the stage where there are politicians who want to accommodate them - the next stage. If you didn't see this coming you haven't been paying attention.
13:27 February 4, 2012 by mos101392
Unbelievable that a German could consider such an idea. He has shown his lack of intelligence and therefore needs to resign immediately. This is Germany, not the middle east! If you don't agree with the laws or culture of your host country, LEAVE! I'm sure no one will try to stop you.
14:26 February 4, 2012 by danceswithgoats
I don't know how anyone could justify Sharia law in a Western country. The value of a woman's testimony/inheritance is half that of a man's. It is spelled out in the Koran.
14:31 February 4, 2012 by cat3
I think it is an excellent idea and that Germans should embrace the concept. It will only be a couple of generations before islam rules Europe anyway so you might as well start getting used to it. The sooner, the better!
15:09 February 4, 2012 by ATM
There are constitutional and civil laws in Germany which apply to all citizens and residents of Germany. When a German goes to other countries a German must abide by the laws of that country. This prosecutor should be censored at a minimum. If the Islamic residents of Germany want Sharia law they should go back to their own country and not impose their culture on German citizens or residents. The only reason many are in Germany is to enjoy the lifestyle, standard of living that does not exist in their own countries. Let's be real you do not see Germans or other western citizens emigrating to these Islamic countries. Proud to be a resident of Germany and enjoy the German people and culture. This is Deutschland love it or leave it!!!!!
15:37 February 4, 2012 by Landmine
Keep opening up the West to Islam. Before you know it, you'll be facing Sharia law as the only law....
17:25 February 4, 2012 by Loth
Allowing Sharia law? Just a bad idea.
18:26 February 4, 2012 by joysonabraham
Treason.. people like him should resign. May be he never read any thing.

everybody knows that nothing good has ever happened to any country that functions based on sharia law. All systems may have faults but sharia is the worst as we all know from the events happening around the world.
18:59 February 4, 2012 by Edward Braunfels
If you want to know who is at fault for this atrocity, ask whom it is that you can never criticize … It is their Social engineering at its finest.

Over one half the school children in Germany are foreign born. Clearly, they have sealed the future and fate of a once great people by out-breeding their host.
19:16 February 4, 2012 by ChrisRea
There are some arguments for Sharia arbitration courts. First, based on similarities, it can be argued that Sharia inspired the common law concepts in England (including the English trust and agency institutions). Also, Sharia influenced the French and Italian civil laws in regard to the concept of Aval/Avallo (an informal value transfer system). The international admiralty law took also couple of concepts from Sharia.

Secondly, Sharia arbitration courts were introduced in 2008 in the UK and apparently are working good enough to attract even non-Muslims (~15% of the cases in 2010). It was not groundbreaking - Jewish 'beth din' arbitration courts are accepted in the UK for more than 100 years.

However, the problem is that Sharia is a religious law. How could Germany remain a secular state if one of its branches (the judiciary branch; the other two being executive and, respectively, legislature) would have a religious component? So my point is that Mr. Jochen Hartloff's idea is unconstitutional.
20:05 February 4, 2012 by michael4096
I would embrace it with two provisos...

1. it would be entirely within German law

2. both parties agree to its use before hand

In this case the use of sharia arbitration is little different in concept to any other arbitration system with the advantage that a section of the population accept better the process.

@ChrisRea - Germany might be a secular state, but shops still can't open on Sunday :)
00:41 February 5, 2012 by Runnerguy45
Michael, it is different, if you love muslim law so much why dont you move to muslim country instead of trying to destroy Germany?

Chris, see my above comment. It applies to you ten fold. You think you are being progressive but you are being regressive. Neither of you must respect women to be in favour of such a cause.
04:10 February 5, 2012 by SockRayBlue
Just keep losing more of Germany's customs, laws and traditions and you will become another Muslim backwater. I was under the impression that those whom migrated to Germany wanted to become German citizens. So what happened along the way to Germania?
08:16 February 5, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ Runnerguy45

Apparently you need a simplified version of the conclusion of my post above: I am against Mr. Jochen Hartloff's idea.

On the issue of Sharia vs. women - probably the biggest cultural difference between Sharia and Western law is that Sharia is based on interpretation, not on following the principles literally. That leads to progressive communities making progressive judgments to coexist with regressive communities making regressive judgments. And this is how come that, for example, Amra Bone, mother-of-four, is successfully serving at a Sharia court in the UK.

The world is not black&white and it is quite dynamic. So it is not a bad idea to revisit our personal convictions from time to time and keep an open eye on how the world is evolving. After all, you claim to be a progressive person yourself, don't you?
11:10 February 5, 2012 by michael4096
@Runnerguy45

I am advocating that women have a choice whether or not they participate in such things. You, however, do not want to give them any choice but to do things only 'Runnerguy's way'.

Which respects women more?

"if you love muslim law so much why dont you move to muslim country"

It has nothing to do with 'love' or even 'agreement' but respect for other people and their ideas.
13:21 February 5, 2012 by intensive_care
Have a look at Westren society and try to judge the respect of women in this society? The only thing that gave respect to women in west is law and no on else. Women is a sex object, an item of lust and slave of careerism. There are so many women who are in relationship but are afraid of bringing the topic of marriage and kids to the table because they fear that these topic will bring the relationship to an end. Salute to a free society, who is willing to poison the family bonding and ultimatly destroy the society just to keep up with the defination of freedom.

Grow up start giving due respekt to the women and pressurise media not to show whores like Heid Klum and Katzenberger as the rolemodel of women, rather those Westren women and their families who have scarifised their career, fame and money for kids and a strong family bonding.
14:34 February 5, 2012 by DavidtheNorseman
Isn't the problem with this simply more that Sharia is by its own definitions an indivisible package?

You really can't have partial Sharia law (contract arbitration, say) for long as the system that is Sharia itself demands complete submission of all other systems.

The best you could hope for would be completely parallel legal systems in one geographical area - which has been done from time to time but proves unworkable to the best of my knowledge (though in a two-tiered system the overlords always claim it's working just fine LOL).

I don't think poor Herr Hartloff understands exactly what Sharia IS sufficiently, as evidenced by his comments about picking and choosing bits out of it :-)
15:31 February 5, 2012 by boopsie
We all need a simplified version of your ideas ChrisRea when you can't admit that women almost always get the short end under Sharia law. I second Runnerguy45's invitation to move to a muslim country for a while if you think that muslim culture is preferable to western european culture. Then try living there as a woman for a while and see how you like it and report back to us.
16:58 February 5, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ boopsie

Can you back up your statements with facts and figures or is it only hot air that you are blowing? Namely can you provide the percentage of cases when women 'got the short end' in Sharia arbitration courts in Western European cultures?

An proof of your understanding capacity would also be needed. What was the statement that made you conclude that my thinking is that Muslim culture is preferable to Western European culture? Oh wait, I forgot, you just admitted that you need cannot grasp complex concepts. Please use the simplified conclusion I offered Runnerguy45.
22:48 February 5, 2012 by Runnerguy45
Chris when one moves to a nation you adhere to its laws, when one says its laws do not apply to them for whatever reason, espicially as a immigrant, you are basically trying to over throw the govt in which you moved to. When a govt accepts refugees it does not do with the undestanding that they will change its court systems to accomadate these new arrivals. You are asking that the basic fiber of the nation to be changed. You have lost your mind. Muslims take away womens rights. Again if you love this lifestyle so much perhaps Syria would welcome you and nutty Michael with open arms.....and a gun pointed at you.
10:48 February 6, 2012 by ChrisRea
@ Runnerguy45

'You are asking that the basic fiber of the nation to be changed.' - Really? In which post/sentence did I do that? Perhaps you have 'I am against Mr. Jochen Hartloff's idea.' in mind? OK, apparently simple ideas like the latter are still difficult for you to grasp. Let's give it another shot: I think Sharia arbitration courts are unconstitutional, as they are based on religion. I enjoy very much living in a secular state. I am happy not to have to follow Christian, Jewish, Muslim or other religion's laws.See post #3 by 'twisted' for a similar opinion.
12:02 February 6, 2012 by christopheuk25
Not another Lefty/Liberal politically correct appeaser,some unsuspecting member of the public must have kicked over another stone.

Is it any wonder Europe is sliding down crap hole,but must they pour any more oil on it to make it slide much faster.

Like Turkeys' voting for Christmas.
15:27 February 6, 2012 by boopsie
I love ChrisRea's concept of the simple idea as one in which only he can explain correctly. And of course that simple idea is way beyond the rest of us. Have fun on your in your own universe where only you know the real truth Chris and the rest of us are too dumb to grasp it. :-)
16:55 February 6, 2012 by michael4096
I might disagree with ChrisRea on this issue but I have no problem understanding what he is saying and why.

Perhaps, like Sharia arbitration, it helps to first conceive the possibility that others may not only have other ideas to your own but that those ideas may also have some merit.
17:19 February 6, 2012 by boopsie
Well the only merit introducing Sharia law into the civilized world would be to give muslims breathing space to catch up to the rest of us in the west. Unfortunately multiculturalism doesn't work because Islam is as much of an ideology as it is a religion and any compromises on our part are sure to be all one sided. After all God is on their side, isn't he?
17:51 February 6, 2012 by vjtheking
Chris, your rational comments on this thread are like someone whistling in a storm.. you're unlikely to be heard & you'd be called the fool!!

It's amazing how many people who claim to speak and understand English have no clue that there is a difference between Muslim 'culture' and a 'Civil Law' based on certain tenets...

Again, if a country does introduce a parallel civil law, it is not tantamount to overthrowing the culture of that country nor does it imply that the existing laws need to be replaced for the entire populace.

Sharia law does not always mean stoning adulterers or castrating rapists or dismembering thieves!! It encompasses a wide range of social & criminal issues and the poor sod (Hartloff) here was simply suggesting that a few civil aspects be adopted. There are models of such parallel laws in peaceful co-existence in many countries (India, UK, France to name just a few). In such cases, both parties to a dispute must accept one OR the other law under which the dispute is to be settled. So Sharia law being there does not impose it upon Muslims - they are free to choose German Civil law.

But then, why am I bothering to explain to you bigots - any mention of Muslim / Islam / Sharia is just an invitation to jump onto your Islam-bashing hobby horses... You're all like Pavlov's dogs who salivate at the mere sound of the bell!!
01:27 February 7, 2012 by boopsie
its the arabs who are salivating ,vjtheking, at the thought of gaining in christian europe what they could not when their advance into Western Europe was stopped by Charles Martel at the Battle of Tours in 732. Could the Franks have imagined that europeans would be so desperate in the 21st century as to invite muslims into europe in steadily increasing numbers and offer to surplant their own european culture with with an ideology replete with violent precepts out of the stone age?

Nah, who wudda thunk it?
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