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Last Updated: Thursday, 22 March 2007, 17:02 GMT
Anger at German Koran divorce ban
German politicians and Muslim groups have expressed outrage over the case of a German judge who refused to allow a Muslim woman a quick divorce.

The woman, a German citizen of Moroccan descent, had asked for an immediate divorce, saying her husband beat her.

But the female judge ruled that, under the law of the Koran, the woman had not been subject to unacceptable behaviour, the court in Frankfurt said.

The judge had now been removed from the divorce proceedings, it said.

She had argued that the couple's Moroccan cultural background meant it was "not unusual" for the husband to physically punish his wife.

The woman's domestic abuse therefore did not make her case one of exceptional hardship, she claimed.

When challenged about her ruling, the judge cited a passage from the Koran.


The country's Central Council of Muslims condemned the decision, which it said should be based on German law.

"The judge should have made a decision based on the German constitution instead of the Koran," spokeswoman Nurhan Soykan said.

She added that mistreatment and violence were also grounds for divorce in the Islamic world.

German lawmakers said that Sharia, or traditional Islamic law, had no place in Germany.

"The legal and moral concepts of Sharia have nothing to do with German jurisprudence," said Wolfgang Bosbach, a lawmaker with the Christian Democrats.

"One thing must be clear: in Germany only German law applies," he added.


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