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German lawmakers condemn Koran citation in judgment denying divorce

[JURIST] A German judge who cited the Koran as part of her rationale for denying a Muslim woman a fast-track divorce has provoked criticism from German lawmakers and Muslim clerics. The woman, a German citizen of Moroccan descent, had a restraining order against her Moroccan husband and sought a divorce on grounds of physical abuse. In denying the fast-track procedure, which is reserved for cases of exceptional hardship, Judge Crista Datz-Winter referred to a passage in the Koran which states that men are in charge of women and may beat their wives if they are disobedient. The administration of the Frankfurt court expressed regret Thursday that a judge appeared to sanction abuse in marriage. Datz-Winter has been removed from the case, and disciplinary proceedings may be brought against her.

German Justice Minister Brigitte Zypries called the decision "incomprehensible" and several German lawmakers have denounced the use of Islamic law [JURIST news archive] in German courts. Wolfgang Bosbach [official website, in German], a member of the Christian Democrat coalition, told N24 television [report, in German] that "the legal and moral concepts of Sharia have nothing to do with German jurisprudence." Datz-Winter's reference to the Koran was also criticized by the German Institute for Islamic Questions and the Central Council of Muslims [official website, in German]. According to the groups, domestic violence can justify divorce in Islam, and interpretations of the Koran which sanction abuse are no longer standard. AP has more.

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