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.
Sharīʿa in Greece :: Part 1 :: Between communal autonomy and individual human rights
Sharīʿa in Greece :: Part 2 :: Procedural Issues in Sharīʿa Courts
Sharīʿa in Greece :: Part 3 :: Substantive Issues in Sharīʿa Courts
Sharīʿa in Greece :: Part 4 :: Future Prospects for Greece’s Sharīʿa Courts After Molla Sali v. Greece