Justifying Marital Violence: A German Judge Cites Koran in Divorce Case

By Veit Medick and Anna Reimann He beat her and threatened her with murder. But because husband and wife were both from Morocco, a German divorce court judge saw no cause for alarm. It’s a religion thing, she argued. The case seems simply too strange to be true. A 26-year-old mother of two wanted to free herself from what had become a miserable and abusive marriage. The police had even been called to their apartment to separate the two — both of Moroccan origin — after her husband got violent in May 2006. The husband was forced to move out, but the terror continued: Even after they separated, the spurned husband threatened to kill his wife. A quick divorce seemed to be the only solution — the 26-year-old was unwilling to wait the year between separation and divorce mandated by German law. She hoped that as soon as they were no longer married, her husband would leave her alone. Her lawyer, Barbara Becker-Rojczyk agreed and she filed for immediate divorce with a Frankfurt court last October. They both felt that the domestic violence and death threats easily fulfilled the “hardship” criteria necessary for such an accelerated split. In January, though, a letter arrived from the judge adjudicating the case (…)