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Old 03-23-2007, 06:29 AM   #1
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The Law of the Land

One more thing for Christians to get jealous about
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BERLIN (AFP) - A German woman judge has refused a Moroccan-born woman permission to file for divorce by interpreting the Koran as allowing husbands to beat their wives.

“Where are we living? Woman judge allows beating in marriage... and invokes the Koran,” said a front-page headline in Germany’s top-selling Bild newspaper, reflecting the widespread angry reaction on Thursday.

“This Moroccan woman has the same right to protection from a violent husband as any German woman. Anything else would be misconceived sensitivity to the benefit of the husband and would amount to racist discrimination against the wife,” said the Tageszeitung daily.

The Central Council of Muslims in Germany also condemned the decision. “The judge should have made a decision based on the German constitution instead of the Koran,” said spokeswoman Nurhan Soykan, who said that violence and mistreatment, regardless of the gender of the victim, were also grounds for divorce in the Islamic world.

A court in the western city of Frankfurt on Wednesday upheld a complaint of bias against the judge lodged by the lawyer of the 26-year-old woman, who has two children.

The woman had filed for immediate divorce on the grounds that the husband, also of Moroccan origin, regularly beat her and threatened to kill her. The claims were backed up by a police report. But the female judge, who has not been named, made clear in a letter that the wife’s bid had little chance of approval because, according to her, Islamic law allowed a man to strike his wife.
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Old 03-23-2007, 07:10 AM   #2
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It's a shocking story but in the opinion of most legal commentators, not indicative of any new trend in German courtrooms, just an incredibly bad call by one particular judge who has since been removed from the case. The judge was herself involved in a bizarre incident several years ago where a deranged man opened fire in court, killing his ex-girlfriend and badly wounding her lawyer (the judge survived only by jumping under her desk) and German papers have speculated that this may have been a factor in her decision. Her ruling also infuriated many Muslim groups who--besides feeling, as the Central Council of Muslims did, that the verdict should of course be based on the German Constitution and not the Koran--regard the relevant passage in similar fashion to how Jews today would regard OT passages permitting slave ownership.
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Old 03-23-2007, 07:29 AM   #3
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Regardless of this case it seems that allowing a husband to beat a wife lightly hasn't been entirely rejected, at least going by the "moderate" Yusaf al-Qaradawi stating that the husband can in some instances beat his wife lightly avoiding her face and sensitive areas.
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Old 03-23-2007, 08:13 AM   #4
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Don't worry guys, it's already cleared up
The complaint of bias has been successful and she is no longer responsible.
She admitted that it was a mistake.

Well, it was a mistake, indeed. A very big one, and I don't really understand how a judge could make such a misinterpretation. Not only that she took the Koran and the Moroccan culture into the decision, she also misinterpreted the Koran.

Now another judge will make a decision, and this won't be such a mess again.
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Old 03-23-2007, 09:44 AM   #5
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This is interesting because it plagues every Western judicial system: to what extent should cultural influences be considered in a subjective or subjective-objective evaluation of a person's actions?
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Old 03-24-2007, 09:29 AM   #6
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - A new English-language interpretation of the Muslim Holy book the Koran challenges the use of words that feminists say have been used to justify the abuse of Islamic women.

The new version, translated by an Iranian-American, will be published in April and comes after Muslim feminists from around the world gathered in New York last November and vowed to create the first women's council to interpret the Koran and make the religion more friendly toward women.

In the new book, Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar, a former lecturer on Islam at the University of Chicago, challenges the translation of the Arab word "idrib," traditionally translated as "beat," which feminists say has been used to justify abuse of women.

"Why choose to interpret the word as 'to beat' when it can also mean 'to go away'," she writes in the introduction to the new book.

The passage is generally translated: "And as for those women whose illwill you have reason to fear, admonish them; then leave them alone in bed; then beat them; and if thereupon they pay you heed, do not seek to harm them. Behold, God is indeed most high, great!"

Instead, Bakhtiar suggests "Husbands at that point should submit to God, let God handle it -- go away from them and let God work His Will instead of a human being inflicting pain and suffering on another human being in the Name of God."

Some Muslims said the new interpretation strayed from the original. Omar Abu-Namous, imam at the New York Islamic Cultural Center Mosque, questioned Bakhtiar's interpretation.

"There is nothing to stop a woman from translating the Holy Koran. The translator should have good command of the Arabic language in order to convey it and translate it into other languages. I don't know if Dr. Laleh Bakhtiar has good command of Arabic," Imam Abu-Namous said.

"Maybe she is depending on other translations, not on the original," he said.

BAKHTIAR DEFENDS HER WORK

Bakhtiar defended her work, telling Reuters she translated from the Arabic text and that she "reads and knows classical Arabic."

The New York imam also said the passage she is challenging speaks of when a woman wants a divorce, and only allows a man to "hit his wife, according to the Prophet, with a 'miswak,'" or a twig of a pencil's length, on her hand.

Arabic Language Professor at the American University in Cairo Siham Serry said her interpretation of the word "idrib," was "to push away," similar but slightly different from Bakhtiar's "to go away."

She said she agrees with the imam that 'miswak' means twig and that the Koran does not encourage the harm of women. But she also said that men can interpret that passage to justify their own behavior.

"How can you hurt someone by hitting her with a very small, short and weak thing?" she asked by telephone from Cairo. "But sometimes the interpretation of the Koran is according to men, and sometimes they try to humiliate the woman."

Bakhtiar writes in the book that she found a lack of internal consistency in previous English translations, and found little attention given to the woman's point of view.

In other changes to the text, she cites the most accurate translation of the word traditionally translated to mean "infidel" as "ungrateful."

And she uses "God" instead of "Allah," saying that God is the universal English term.

Bakhtiar has been schooled in Sufism which includes both the Shia and Sunni points of view. As an adult, she lived nine years in a Shia community in Iran and has lived in a Sunni community in Chicago for the past 15 years.

"While I understand the positions of each group, I do not represent any specific one as I find living in America makes it difficult enough to be a Muslim, much less to choose to follow one sect or another," she writes.

The new text is published by Islamic specialty bookseller Kazi Publications, which has a store in Chicago and online.
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Old 03-24-2007, 10:22 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by anitram
This is interesting because it plagues every Western judicial system: to what extent should cultural influences be considered in a subjective or subjective-objective evaluation of a person's actions?
How is this limited to "Western" judicial systems? It would seem that every single judge on earth would have to come to terms with their own cultural bias.
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Old 03-24-2007, 11:53 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON
How is this limited to "Western" judicial systems? It would seem that every single judge on earth would have to come to terms with their own cultural bias.
Yes, and to be honest when one looks at African and Islamic systems the cultural bias is way worse - witness the anti-white racism that is endemic in South Africa and 'Zimbabwe' for example.
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Old 03-25-2007, 12:11 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally posted by AEON
How is this limited to "Western" judicial systems? It would seem that every single judge on earth would have to come to terms with their own cultural bias.
Because those systems where the bias is heaviest (like the Middle East) don't care to accomodate anyone or have their laws expand as society progresses forward. Therefore they don't struggle with the grey areas at all.

I think you took my comment as some sort of criticism of the West when in fact it was a compliment.
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