23 March 2007

In the name of the people, beating allowed

The story that a German judge refused a Moroccan woman a fast-track divorce on the grounds that domestic violence was sanctioned in the Qur'an is widely reported in the press

The judge, Christa Datz-Winter, said the woman, who is of Moroccan descent, would not be granted a divorce because she and her husband came from a "cultural environment in which it is not uncommon for a man to exert a right of corporal punishment over his wife," according to a statement she wrote that was issued by a Frankfurt court. "That's what the claimant had to reckon with when she married the defendant."

The 26-year-old mother of two had been repeatedly beaten and threatened with death by her husband. When she protested against the judge's decision, Ms Datz-Winter invoked the Qur'an to support her argument. In the court she read from verse 34 of Sura four of the Qur'an, An-Nisa (Women), in which men are told to hit their wives as a final stage in dealing with disobedience. The verse reads: "... as to those on whose part you fear desertion, admonish them and leave them alone in the sleeping places and beat them".

The woman applied for divorce before the statutory one-year separation after receiving death threats from her husband. Fast-track divorces can be granted under German law if it is deemed the woman is suffering hardship as a result of marital breakdown. Her husband continued to threaten her despite a restraining order.

Christa Stolle, of the women's rights organisation Terre des Femmes, called the decision "scandalous". She said: "In a democratic country like Germany religious law cannot be drawn on to justify abuse". The leftwing Tageszeitung ran a headline on its front page "In the name of the people: beating allowed" above the relevant passage from the Qur'an, while the tabloid Bild led its front page with: "Where are we living?". Germany's Central Council of Muslims was also quick to criticise the ruling. In a statement, it said: "Violence and abuse of people are of course naturally reasons to warrant a divorce in Islam as well."

Datz-Winter has been removed from the case.

Is this an example of sharia by stealth? I doubt it somehow. It would appear to be an example of moral relativism, not that this acceptable of course. Perhaps Datz-winter would be better emloyed judging knobbly knees contests instead


beakerkin said...

The local anti violence unit here is run by Marxist dolts. Amazingly students in the anti- violence class are told walking away is a form of violence.

I did a Borat style visit and asked if this was where I learned to beat my wife. The morified instructors gave me a lecture that beating your wife was wrong. I told them it is in the Koran. They responded "you aren't Muslim". This went on for 15 minutes and then I went home.

The notion that society has minimal
standards of behavior never occured
to the far left hack. All cultures are equal and any difference such as beating your wife, female infanticide or canibalism are cultural variants. This may sound great in an antropology class but it doesn't work in real life. It also has lead to a Disneyfication of third world cultures and Shariah
in particular.

Agnes said...

I hope MR Datz-Winter (btw, why was she removed from the case only, another mystery) also reads the Quran, and treats his wife accordingly the paragraph she quoted.

The Muslim community was no less shocked btw.

(Both the moral and legal aspects of this case are very very interesting.)

jams o donnell said...

One thing I do not support Beak is moral relativism as displayed by this judge. While many fellow leftists find such an approach revolting, too many are tied up in what is at best a patronising approach to other cultures, but at worst one that condones evil.

I wonder how she would react to such treatment herself, red. Perhaps she might like some of the other nastier aspects of Islam too. Legally it must be indefensible, morally there can be no place for such double standards

Anonymous said...

I can't wait for US Supreme Court Justices like Souter and Ginsberg to start quoting international precedents again... from the ME.

Steve Bates said...

I am astonished that people seize upon literally anything and try to turn it into a left-right issue. The kindest thing I can say about their doing so is that it's a real stretch. Our favorite purveyor of such "reasoning" in the US, Newt Gingrich, found to his dismay that everyone recognizes what a stretch it is to try to make every fundamental moral outrage serve one's political needs.

Domestic violence is illegal in most Western democracies. The judge's ruling, together with the basis on which she made it, is outrageous. But come on, people, it has nothing to do with one-dimensional politics. You'll never make that case; let it go.


Agnes said...

Steve, you would be right in an ideal society. Whose fault is that some embrace this attitude?

And come on, I am enjoying a delicious cup of tea right now: if I wished so, I could transform the joy of having a cup of tea into a colonialism (hence left-right) issue.
Tea, India, colonies, looting, plundering, for want of a nail many went nuts.

jams o donnell said...

Red she is a german citizen, which Datz-winter ignored, That should not matter anyway, Even if she had been a Morroccan citizen resident in Germany, german laws apply, not some crass application of the Koran.

I agree there is a racist element in cultural relativism. It assumes that some things are acceptable in one clture that would have a storm of outrage in their own.

jams o donnell said...

I am not familiar with US Supreme court judges. I honestly have no idea if any of them would even consider that.

To behonest Steve, I don;t see this as an example of encroachment of Sharia law in Europe. What I see is a crass judgement that is utterly unjutifiable. I do loathe the approach too many fellow leftists take for example to to the treatment of women in islamic cultures.

We can take that approach to just about everythig Red. For example a large chunk of the UK's wealth was built on slavery. 200 years on we canot unmake that.

Agnes said...

Indeed Jams: we cannot unmake past slavery. That does not mean we should support extremely oppressive regimes
(including genocide and slavery, Ahmadinejad, regimes with child soldiers, etc, wife beating included), also: I don;t see why to transform my tea drinking habit into a wanton political circus.

"wyminfolk will revolt AFTER" - remember that? This is not even the left, this is a fascistic parody of it.

Steve Bates said...

"This is not even the left, this is a fascistic parody of it." - redwine

My point exactly. There are plenty of reasons to parody the Left (or the Right, and I've done my share of the latter), but to make a serious argument that leftist cultural relativism is the CAUSE of this ruling is just too much. This is one ruling made by one judge in one case. The ruling is an outrage, but generalizing from it to a broad indictment of the entire left is pure demagoguery.

jams, Newt Gingrich was a Republican Speaker of the House in the first half of Clinton's presidency. He is a man of grand gestures and is frequently guilty of jaw-dropping political stereotyping; e.g., he blamed Democrats and liberals for the creating the culture in which the Columbine schoolyard massacre could take place. (That is just one example among many.)

jams o donnell said...

Agreed, Red. both sides of the political spectrum can be selective about who they condemn. As for the idea that women should wait for their rights, that attitude is an utter disgrace. Leftists that propose that are a disgrace.

Cultural relativism is definitely a symptom of the hard left, Steve. I've seen far too much of it down the years. However, it is very far from being universal, mercifully!

I dont remember Gingrich well. Didn't he take a fall during the Clinton impeachment? Those sort of stereotypes are pretty ludicrous. like Falwell and his comments after 9/11 Idiots are everywhere!

Anonymous said...

Leftism is the cause. Nationalists are not "internationalists."

jams o donnell said...

Well of course nationalists are not internatioalists.. the clue's in the name!