Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Sweden: Muslims required to divorce according to Sharia law

"The social services in Karlshamn are apparently discriminating against Muslims. Muslims who apply for welfare support need to show a certificate that they've been divorced, not only from a court, but also from an imam.
Susanne Loveheim, head of the welfare services in Karlshamn says that it isn't a strange procedure since Muslim custom requires them to go through an imam for the divorce to be considered complete.
The discrimination ombudsman (DO) is critical of this procedure since it discriminates against Muslims. Katri Linna, discrimination ombudsman, says that it's clear that they've been divorced according to Swedish law, and there's no reason for a special certificate. The DO wants the municipality of Karlshamn to stop the special requirement from Muslims. They will continue to take up the matter with the National Board of Health and Welfare and will make sure that they tighten up their guidelines.
Sweden Radio has discovered that Örebro also requires a divorce certificate from an imam. The DO is now considering to start a nation-wide investigation to see how wide-spread this procedure is and whether it's discriminatory against Muslims., February 20, 2008
Now, apart from the shock-horror factor, this poses an interesting problem. Firstly, it shows how unfair a multiculturalist interpretatation of sharia is. There is one law for muslims and one for others. Some nominal Muslims may not feel the need for an Imam to bother, and should not have to deal with him.
However, there's the welfare thing. What if you are a more or less devout Muslim, who do not think that you are properly divorced unless you are divorced by an imam. Technically, a secular divorce then, is no divorce. Yet, you get welfare benefits.
Of course, a proper divorce means you don't live together, but I'm starting to think that this isn't really a multiculturalist invention, it's someone trying to save money by making sure Muslims are through and through divorced.
But it's completely wrong. The only way to deal with this is to make sharia divorces completely irrelevant. Who on earth brought this up in the first place? It should be outlawed.
Muslims must all recognize Swedish law. And Swedish law must recognize Muslims when they do.


Anonymous said...

Ok I am atheist, but I need to comment this.

On what basis is it discrimination? By being muslims, they bound to the sharia law. It does not mean that they get to ignore Swedish laws, it meand that they voluntarily take a extra set of rules to control their lifes.

This is just about official acknowledgement that they _volunteer_ to have extra laws, that need to be followed.

Strappado said...

But it's not voluntary when they're not asked. Muslims come from different countries, and different backgrounds, and they have varying degrees of interest in keeping their religion.
Comparing Pakistanis and Iranians is like comparing Americans and Europeans.
Take a look at the charts here. It's in Norwegian but I think you'll get the point:

Having sharia here is simply to give a freebie to the conservatives and the fundamentalists who can keep a tighter grip on people.

Anonymous said...

Samuel Skinner
It is a problem because they aren't bound by Swedish law. They get their own law. If this isn't devisive, I don't know what is.