Greece limits reach of Sharia law in 'historic step'

Greek Muslims can now go to Greek courts instead of Islamic muftis.

January 10, 2018 13:32
Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras

Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras gestures as he addresses lawmakers before a parliamentary vote in Athens, Greece, May 18, 2017.. (photo credit: ALKIS KONSTANTINIDIS / REUTERS)

Greece limited the power of Sharia law in the country on Tuesday in a move Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras called a "historic step" that "extended equality before law to all Greeks."

The Guardian reports the new legislation allows for Muslim litigants to go to Greek courts instead of Islamic muftis in cases of divorce, child custody and inheritance matters.

The 110,000 member Muslim community in Greece lives mostly in the northeastern region of Thrace, bordering Turkey, and the latter often sees itself as the guardian of the Muslim population there. Greece has long avoided changing rules pertaining to the minority in attempts to avoid conflict with its eastern neighbor.

The rule of law changed in Greece following an appeal of a 2013 court case when the Greek supreme court decided only a mufti had the power to rule in inheritance cases. Hatijah Molla Salli, a 67-year-old widow, was disputing an inheritance with her late husband's sisters.

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