A migrant who divorced his wife using Islamic Sharia law in Syria could have the ceremony recognised in Germany, the European Union’s (EU) top court has ruled.
The European Court of Justice (ECJ) said the issue was not covered by EU law and must be decided in Germany. Depending on the next ruling, Islamic Sharia law rulings made in forgings lands could be recognized in Germany.
The case will now return to a Munich court to decide whether to legally recognize Sharia law for the couple, who married in Syria and reside in Germany, holding dual citizenship.
Raja Mamisch and Soha Sahyouni had been granted a divorce in 2013 in Syria, with the husband simply saying the word “talaq” three times.
The separation was recognized in a sharia court there and the wife allegedly acknowledged it in writing – however she contests this now in Germany.
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Mr. Mamisch then applied to have the divorce recognized in Germany, and the Munich state court ruled the EU’s “Rome III” regulation applied and granted his application.
Ms. Sahyouni appealed, and the ECJ ruled Wednesday that Rome III doesn’t apply to such “private” divorces. The court sent the case back to Munich, saying it needs to decide under national law.
The ECJ said the regulation “does not apply, by itself, to the recognition of a divorce decision delivered in a third country,” with the Luxemburg judges insisting it must be resolved under German low.
Women’s campaigners in the UK have argued that “instant” Sharia divorces, which can only be initiated by men, discriminate against women and can leave mothers and wives venerable.
Nusrat Munir Ul-Ghani, a Conservative MP who pushed for an inquirer into sharia law, said last year: “Under sharia, men are in charge and women are treated as their property. That does not sit well under British law and cannot go unchallenged.
“We can’t have a system where we are championing equality for women on one hand and but on the other overlooking a whole section of society – vulnerable women who happen to be Muslim.”
(AP contributed to this report)