New York Times Article Link
FRANKFURT, March 22 — A German judge has stirred a storm of protest by citing the Koran in turning down a German Muslim woman’s request for a speedy divorce on the ground that her husband beat her.
In a ruling that underlines the tension between Muslim customs and European laws, the judge, Christa Datz-Winter, noted that the couple came from a Moroccan cultural milieu, in which it is common for husbands to beat their wives. The Koran, she wrote in her decision, sanctions such physical abuse.
The court in Frankfurt abruptly removed Judge Datz-Winter from the case on Wednesday, saying it could not justify her reasoning. The woman’s lawyer, Barbara Becker-Rojczyk, said she decided to publicize the ruling, which was issued in January, after the court refused her request for a new judge.
“It was terrible for my client,” Ms. Becker-Rojczyk said. “This man beat her seriously from the beginning of their marriage. After they separated, he called her and threatened to kill her.”
Muslim leaders agreed that Muslims living here must be judged by the German legal code. But they were just as offended by what they characterized as the judge’s misinterpretation of a much-debated passage in the Koran.The 26-year-old woman in this case was born in Germany to a Moroccan family and married in Morocco in 2001, according to her lawyer, Ms. Becker-Rojczyk. The couple settled in the Frankfurt area and had two children.
In May 2006, the police were summoned after a particularly violent incident. At that time, Judge Datz-Winter ordered the husband to move out and stay at least 55 yards away from the couple’s home. In the months that followed, her lawyer said, the man threatened to kill his wife.
Terrified, the woman filed for divorce in October and requested that it be granted without the usual year of separation because her husband’s threats and beatings constituted an “unreasonable hardship.”
“We worried that he might think he had the right to kill her because she is still his wife,” Ms. Becker-Rojczyk said.
A lawyer for the husband, Gisela Hammes, did not reply to an e-mail message and a telephone message left at her office in Mainz.
In January, the judge turned down the wife’s request for a speedy divorce, saying her husband’s behavior did not constitute unreasonable hardship because they are both Moroccan. “In this cultural background,” she wrote, “it is not unusual that the husband uses physical punishment against the wife.”
Ms. Becker-Rojczyk filed a request to remove the judge from the case, contending that she had not been neutral.
In a statement defending her ruling, Judge Datz-Winter noted that she had ordered the man to move out and put a restraining order on him. But she also cited the verse in the Koran that speaks of a husband’s prerogatives in disciplining his wife. And she suggested that the wife’s Western lifestyle would give her husband grounds to claim his honor had been compromised.
The woman, her lawyer said, does not wear a headscarf. She has been a German citizen for eight years.
Judge Datz-Winter herself narrowly avoided injury 10 years ago in a case involving a man and woman whose relationship had come apart. When the man shot up her courtroom, the judge escaped by diving under her desk.
German papers have suggested that that ordeal may have affected her judgment in this case, which the spokesman denied.
A new judge will be assigned, but Ms. Becker-Rojczyk said her client would probably wait until May for her divorce because the paperwork would take until then anyway.
For some, the greatest damage done by this episode is to other Muslim women suffering from domestic abuse. Many are already afraid of going to court against their spouses. There have been a string of so-called honor killings here, in which Turkish Muslim men have murdered women.
“For Muslim men, this is like putting oil on a fire, that a German judge thinks it is O.K. for them to hit their wives,” said Michaela Sulaika Kaiser, the head of a group that counsels Muslim women.
These are just sections of the article. This is a crime of the WORSE kind! How could anyone justified this! OUCH!
This blogger had a good article in response!
LOL Its titled, "Leave Quran out of this please!" NO KIDDING!
Here is another source speaking about this! I personally am SHOCKED at the reasoning behind this! Even if what this judge claims is true (which i personally don't believe) that would make it right under German Law??
German Judge Removed After Saying Abuse Allowed in Muslim Marriage
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