- This Thursday, the European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) unanimously held that Greece owed a Greek woman by the name of Molla Sali 51,000 euros ($57,000) in damages plus expenses “for siding with her late husband’s two sisters and for applying ‘Sharia law to a section of its citizens against their wishes.’” This judgment follows a 2018 decision by the same court in Molla Sali v. Greece , which issued a judgment in favor of Ms. Molla Sali. Following that decision, the Greek legislature passed a law later that year that limits the jurisdiction of Islamic courts and guarantees that Muslims can appeal to Greek civil courts to settle disputes.
This line of cases is significant as a rare instance of an international legal tribunal ruling on the legality of parallel legal systems, here involving Greek civil courts and parallel sharīʿa courts with jurisdiction over Muslims on issues of personal status in Greece’s autonomous region of Thrace. In 2019, we posted a four-part series examining these very questions surrounding the sharīʿa courts in Greece, starting with their establishment in the 1920s and concluding with proposals for reform following the first ECHR decision.
- Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Hajj and Umrah published a statement declaring that strict limitations on this year’s Hajj will be imposed, rather than cancelling the event altogether. These limitations would only allow Saudi pilgrims and those from other countries already inside the kingdom to partake in this year’s Hajj.
- The Supreme Court of Sierra Leone will hold a hearing on divorce in marriages conducted under Islamic Law. Islamic marriage in Sierra Leone is conducted under the Mohammedan Marriage Act of 1960. The law only recognizes marriages as valid when done in accordance with Islamic laws, neglecting to cover divorce processes, which have been left to Islamic scholars. This case seeks clarity on whether the state’s law has jurisdiction on the dissolution of marriages under this Act.
- The Supreme Court of Saudi Arabia abolished flogging as a form of punishment in April 2020 in order to ‘bring the kingdom into line with international human rights.’ This rekindled the debate over this form of punishment, as it still prevails in many parts of the world. Shubhankar Tiwari and Kaartikay Agarwal, discuss the use of flogging as a criminal punishment in the 21st century as well as highlighting measures that can be taken towards abolishing this practice in the years to come.