Sharia Law in Germany?

03.02.2012

Last week, Rhineland-Palatinate’s Interior minister Jochen Hartloff (SPD) ignited a huge media debate after he declared his support for Sharia Law in Germany – however, in a “modern form”. In an interview with the Berlin tabloid BZ, Hartloff said that some aspects of Sharia-law could have a place in Germany, particularly in civil cases relating to marriage and divorce settlements, but also in certain instances of contract law, in which devout Muslims seek to avoid paying interest. According to Hartloff, applying sharia rules such cases could help avoid hostility.

Reactions to his comments, however, have not been supportive and criticism has been fierce. Most commentators, such as Hesse’s justice minister Jörg-Uwe Hahn, stressed that Germany did not need special Islamic courts, which would foster a sense of parallel justice system. Furthermore, as many people in the West associate Sharia law with brutal punishments and human rights violations, some people commented that there was no room for a barbarous and human law system. However, these people overlook elements of Sharia law that are less horrifying.