Thursday, September 1, 2011

Springtime for Sharia Law and Germany

Betcha didn't know that a parallel "justice" system based on sharia is up and running in Germany. Here's a Der Spiegel interview with Joachim Wagner, a journalist who has written a book about sharia in Deutschland and how it imperils the regular, secular justice system:
SPIEGEL: Mr. Wagner, you spent nine months researching the Islamic shadow justice system. What kind of a world is it?
Wagner: Very foreign, and for a German lawyer, completely incomprehensible at first. It follows its own rules. The Islamic arbitrators aren't interested in evidence when they deliver a judgment, and unlike in German criminal law, the question of who is at fault doesn't play much of a role.
SPIEGEL: What laws do the arbitrators follow?
Wagner: First, they get an idea of the facts. They talk with the perpetrator's family, who are generally the ones to have called the arbitrator, and with the victim's family. They ask: Why did this happen? How bad is the damage? How serious is the injury? But for them, a solution to the conflict, a compromise, is the most important thing. Who's right and wrong, guilt and atonement, these aren't particularly relevant.

SPIEGEL: What's wrong with two parties attempting to resolve a dispute between themselves?
Wagner: Nothing, initially. The problem starts when the arbitrators force the justice system out of the picture, especially in the case of criminal offenses. At that point they undermine the state monopoly on violence. Islamic conflict resolution in particular, as I've experienced it, is often achieved through violence and threats. It's often a dictate of power on the part of the stronger family.

SPIEGEL: How prevalent is the phenomenon?
Wagner: As far as I know, very prevalent...

No comments: