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Applying Shari'A In Europe: Greece As An Ambivalent Legal Paradigm

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Chapter Summary

This chapter reviews the application of Shari'a in Greece and outlines an approach to reform, keeping a balance between freedom of religion and communitarian minority protection. In the framework of the settlement of new borders in the Balkans after the end of the European-Russian-Ottoman disputes at the end of the nineteenth century, Greece used the Ottoman system of division on the basis of ethnoreligious communities. The Turkish representative proposed a reform of the Shari'a courts based on civil law, on the basis that Shari'a law constituted a social regression. The discrepancies between the Shari'a law applied by the muftis' courts in Greece and fundamental human rights principles could be corrected in two different ways: either by abolishing the mufti's jurisdiction, or by channelling the development of Shari'a law in a direction that will not contradict public policy and the legal system required by the Greek constitution and European human rights.

Keywords: Balkans; European human rights; Greece; mufti; Shari'a



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