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Article

Consensual Accommodation of Sharia Law and Courts in Greece

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2021
Keywords choice architecture, law reform, Molla Sali v. Greece, Mufti, multicultural accommodation, Muslim minority, nomoi group, Sharia law
Authors Nikos Koumoutzis
AbstractAuthor's information

    Having been exempted from a massive population exchange that took place between Greece and Turkey under the Treaty of Lausanne (1923), the Muslim minority of Western Thrace enjoys ever since a special status providing for the application of the Sharia law in family and succession matters, as well as the jurisdiction of the Mufti for the resolution of relevant disputes. A reform introduced by Law 4511/2018 marks a watershed moment in this long history. From now on, the Sharia law and the Mufti cease to be mandatory; their intervention requires the consent of the members of the minority, who also have the alternative to subject to the civil law and courts. This article tries to explore key features of the new model providing for an accommodation of the Muslim personal legal system based on choice. It focuses on the technique employed to structure the right of choice, on the proper ways for the exercise of choice, on the possibilities offered (or not) to make a partial choice only and revoke a previously made choice. In the end, a further question is raised, concerning how effective the right of choice may prove in the hands of women insiders, given that these are the most likely to experience pressure to demonstrate loyalty and not ignore the traditions and values – including the nomos – of their collective.


Nikos Koumoutzis
Nikos Koumoutzis is Associate Professor Law School at the University of Nicosia, ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-4362-2320
Article

Access_open The Potential of Positive Obligations Against Romaphobic Attitudes and in the Development of ‘Roma Pride’

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Roma, Travellers, positive obligations, segregation, culturally adequate accommodation
Authors Lilla Farkas and Theodoros Alexandridis
AbstractAuthor's information

    The article analyses the jurisprudence of international tribunals on the education and housing of Roma and Travellers to understand whether positive obligations can change the hearts and minds of the majority and promote minority identities. Case law on education deals with integration rather than cultural specificities, while in the context of housing it accommodates minority needs. Positive obligations have achieved a higher level of compliance in the latter context by requiring majorities to tolerate the minority way of life in overwhelmingly segregated settings. Conversely, little seems to have changed in education, where legal and institutional reform, as well as a shift in both majority and minority attitudes, would be necessary to dismantle social distance and generate mutual trust. The interlocking factors of accessibility, judicial activism, European politics, expectations of political allegiance and community resources explain jurisprudential developments. The weak justiciability of minority rights, the lack of resources internal to the community and dual identities among the Eastern Roma impede legal claims for culture-specific accommodation in education. Conversely, the protection of minority identity and community ties is of paramount importance in the housing context, subsumed under the right to private and family life.


Lilla Farkas
Lilla Farkas is a practising lawyer in Hungary and recently earned a PhD from the European University Institute entitled ‘Mobilising for racial equality in Europe: Roma rights and transnational justice’. She is the race ground coordinator of the European Union’s Network of Legal Experts in Gender Equality and Non-discrimination.

Theodoros Alexandridis
Theodoros Alexandridis is a practicing lawyer in Greece.
Article

Access_open State Obligations to Counter Islamophobia: Comparing Fault Lines in the International Supervisory Practice of the HRC/ICCPR, the ECtHR and the AC/FCNM

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2020
Keywords Human rights, positive state obligations, islamophobia, international supervisory mechanisms
Authors Kristin Henrard
AbstractAuthor's information

    Islamophobia, like xenophobia, points to deep-seated, ingrained discrimination against a particular group, whose effective enjoyment of fundamental rights is impaired. This in turn triggers the human rights obligations of liberal democratic states, more particularly states’ positive obligations (informed by reasonability considerations) to ensure that fundamental rights are effectively enjoyed, and thus also respected in interpersonal relationships. This article identifies and compares the fault lines in the practice of three international human rights supervisory mechanisms in relation to Islamophobia, namely the Human Rights Committee (International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights), the European Court of Human Rights (European Convention on Human Rights) and the Advisory Committee of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities. The supervisory practice is analysed in two steps: The analysis of each international supervisory mechanism’s jurisprudence, in itself, is followed by the comparison of the fault lines. The latter comparison is structured around the two main strands of strategies that states could adopt in order to counter intolerance: On the one hand, the active promotion of tolerance, inter alia through education, awareness-raising campaigns and the stimulation of intercultural dialogue; on the other, countering acts informed by intolerance, in terms of the prohibition of discrimination (and/or the effective enjoyment of substantive fundamental rights). Having regard to the respective strengths and weaknesses of the supervisory practice of these three international supervisory mechanisms, the article concludes with some overarching recommendations.


Kristin Henrard
Kristin Henrard is Professor International Human Rights and Minorities, Erasmus School of Law, Rotterdam, the Netherlands.
Article

Access_open Religie op het werk?

Over positieve en negatieve godsdienstvrijheid bij private ondernemingen en tendensondernemingen

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 1 2020
Authors Leni Franken and François Levrau
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this article we elaborate on the place of religion in the workplace. Does the individual freedom of religion imply that employers must always accommodate the religious claims of employees or can they boast a number of arguments allowing them to legitimately limit that freedom? And, conversely, do employers not also have a right to freedom of religion and a right to formulate certain religious expectations for their employees? In this contribution, we deal with these and related questions from a legal-philosophical perspective. The overall aim is to illustrate the extent to which univocal answers are jeopardized because of conceptual ambiguities. We first make a normative distinction between two strategies (i.e. difference-blind approach and difference-sensitive approach) and subsequently illustrate and elaborate on how and why these strategies can lead to different outcomes in legal cases. We illustrate the extent to which a contextual and proportional analysis can be a way out in theoretical and practical conundrums.


Leni Franken
Leni Franken is senior researcher and teaching assistant at the University of Antwerp.

François Levrau
François Levrau is senior researcher and teaching assistant at the University of Antwerp.
Article

Changing Realities

Islamic Veils and Minority Protection

Journal East European Yearbook on Human Rights, Issue 1 2018
Keywords European Court of Human Rights, freedom of religion Islamic veils, minority protection
Authors Dr Gábor Kardos LLM, PhD.
AbstractAuthor's information

    Most of the immigrant communities in Europe do not show any signs of giving up their identity. Just the contrary, they seem to be more and more committed to preserving their culture, traditions, language and religion. Their growing numbers and adherence to their culture and traditions have raised the question of whether it would be necessary to accept them as permanent factors in the society, and consequently, to secure for them, beside equality and freedom of religion, other minority rights such as the right to preserve their cultural and language identity. This change might presuppose a renewal of the traditional understanding of the concept of the national minority. To raise the standards for minority rights of immigrants and at the same time to maintain the level of protection of homeland minorities is not an easy but a necessary solution. But even the accommodation of certain aspects of the freedom of religion of migrants is a problem in practice. As far as the public use of Islamic veils is concerned, the decisions of the European Court of Human Rights proved to be too lenient towards those state parties which put secularity of public institutions before the freedom of religion of the individual. The dissenting opinions correctly emphasize that the role of the authorities is not to remove the cause of tension by eliminating pluralism but to ensure that competing groups tolerate each other. If the Islamic veils are symbols of pressurization, oppression and discrimination, or proselytism, the intervention of state authorities may be justified but the law cannot presuppose that the aforementioned situations are the prevailing ones. If it does so, the collateral damage at the expense of a basic human right of certain true believers is too high.


Dr Gábor Kardos LLM, PhD.
LLM, PhD. Dr Habil. Professor of International Law, International Law Department, Faculty of Law, ELTE University, Budapest, Hungary.
Article

Access_open Religious Freedom of Members of Old and New Minorities: A Double Comparison

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2017
Keywords ECtHR, UNHRC, religious manifestations, religious minorities, empirical analysis
Authors Fabienne Bretscher
AbstractAuthor's information

    Confronted with cases of restrictions of the right to manifest religious beliefs of new religious minorities formed by recent migration movements, the ECtHR and the UNHRC seem to opt for different interpretations and applications of this right, as recent conflicting decisions show. Based on an empirical legal analysis of the two bodies’ decisions on individual complaints, this article finds that these conflicting decisions are part of a broader divergence: While the UNHRC functions as a protector of new minorities against States’ undue interference in their right to manifest their religion, the ECtHR leaves it up to States how to deal with religious diversity brought by new minorities. In addition, a quantitative analysis of the relevant case law showed that the ECtHR is much less likely to find a violation of the right to freedom of religion in cases brought by new religious minorities as opposed to old religious minorities. Although this could be a hint towards double standards, a closer look at the examined case law reveals that the numerical differences can be explained by the ECtHR’s weaker protection of religious manifestations in the public as opposed to the private sphere. Yet, this rule has an important exception: Conscientious objection to military service. By examining the development of the relevant case law, this article shows that this exception bases on a recent alteration of jurisprudence by the ECtHR and that there are similar prospects for change regarding other religious manifestations in the public sphere.


Fabienne Bretscher
PhD candidate at the University of Zurich.
Article

Access_open Religion Ain’t Sacrosanct

How to Fight Obsolete Accounts of Religious Freedom

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2015
Keywords Hobby Lobby, Hosanna-Tabor, tolerance-leaning liberalism, equality-leaning liberalism
Authors Roland Pierik
AbstractAuthor's information

    This paper is largely an endorsement and a further elaboration of Cohen’s critical discussion of the Hobby Lobby and Hosanna-Tabor cases and the conceptual overstretch of religious freedom they embody. I disagree with Cohen, however, on the proper interpretation of this debate. Cohen construes the ominous Court cases as an anti-liberal attack on the liberal state order. My main thesis is that the root of this dispute can be traced back to a fault line within liberalism between a more tolerance-leaning and a more equality-leaning tradition. I argue that the ominous cases are instances of the tolerance-leaning tradition in liberalism, which once was characteristic of the liberal tradition. Still, I agree with Cohen that this tradition should be rejected because it reverts to an obsolete interpretation of religious freedom that defends unwarranted privileges for certain groups that are out of sync with the egalitarian underpinnings of contemporary liberal political orders.


Roland Pierik
Roland Pierik is Associate Professor of Legal Philosophy at the University of Amsterdam Law School.

    In her reply to critics, Jean Cohen responds to some of the main criticisms and remarks raised by the respondents.


Professor Jean L. Cohen
Jean L. Cohen is the Nell and Herbert M. Singer Professor of Political Thought and Contemporary Civilization at the Department of Political Science of Columbia University (New York) and will be the Emile Noel Fellow at the Jean Monet Center of the NYU Law School from January till June 2016.
Article

Access_open Institutional Religious Accommodation in the US and Europe

Comparative Reflections from a Liberal Perspective

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2015
Keywords European jurisprudence, freedom of religion, religious-based associations, religious accommodation
Authors Patrick Loobuyck
AbstractAuthor's information

    Jean Cohen argues that recent US Supreme Court decisions about institutional accommodation are problematic. She rightly points out that justice and the liberal concept of freedom of consciousness cannot do the work in Hobby Lobby and Hosanna-Tabor: what does the work is a medieval political-theological conception of church immunity and sovereignty. The first part of this commentary sketches how the autonomy of churches and religious associations can be considered from a liberal perspective, avoiding the pitfall of the medieval idea of libertas ecclesiae based on church immunity and sovereignty. The second part discusses the European jurisprudence about institutional accommodation claims and concludes that until now the European Court of Human Rights is more nuanced and its decisions are more in line with liberalism than the US Jurisprudence.


Patrick Loobuyck
Patrick Loobuyck is Associate Professor of Religion and Worldviews at the Centre Pieter Gillis of the University of Antwerp and Guest Professor of Political Philosophy at Ghent University.
Article

Access_open Freedom of Religion, Inc.: Whose Sovereignty?

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2015
Keywords accommodation, freedom of religion, political theology, liberalism, liberty of conscience
Authors Jean L. Cohen
AbstractAuthor's information

    This article focuses on an expansive conception of religious freedom propagated by a vocal group of American legal scholars – jurisdictional pluralists – often working with well-funded conservative foundations and influencing accommodation decisions throughout the US. I show that the proliferation of ‘accommodation’ claims in the name of church autonomy and religious conscience entailing exemption from civil regulation and anti-discrimination laws required by justice have a deep structure that has little to do with fairness or inclusion or liberal pluralism. Instead they are tantamount to sovereignty claims, involving powers and immunities for the religious, implicitly referring to another, higher law and sovereign than the constitution or the people. The twenty-first century version of older pluralist ‘freedom of religion’ discourses also rejects the comprehensive jurisdiction and scope of public, civil law – this time challenging the ‘monistic sovereignty’ of the democratic constitutional state. I argue that the jurisdictional pluralist approach to religious freedom challenges liberal democratic constitutionalism at its core and should be resisted wherever it arises.


Jean L. Cohen
Jean L. Cohen is the Nell and Herbert M. Singer Professor of Political Thought and Contemporary Civilization at the Department of Political Science of Columbia University (New York) and will be the Emile Noel Fellow at the Jean Monet Center of the NYU Law School from January till June 2016.
Article

Access_open Group Pluralism versus Group Accommodation

A Commentary on Jean Cohen

Journal Netherlands Journal of Legal Philosophy, Issue 3 2015
Keywords group pluralism, multiculturalism, religious accommodation
Authors Avigail Eisenberg
AbstractAuthor's information

    In this paper, I sharply distinguish between religious group-based pluralism and religious accommodation, which are each reflected in the cases examined in Jean Cohen’s paper and thereby provide a clearer understanding of different kinds of challenges to protecting religious freedom today and explain how these two approaches sometimes pull interpretations of religious freedom in different directions.


Avigail Eisenberg
Avigail Eisenberg is Professor and Chair of the Department of Political Science at the University of Victoria, Canada.
Article

De multiculturele herverdelingsstaat

Over gelijkheid en solidariteit in de multiculturele samenleving

Journal Res Publica, Issue 3 2015
Keywords multiculturalism, socio-economic equality, social cohesion, solidarity, welfare state
Authors François Levrau
AbstractAuthor's information

    For many reasons multiculturalism has become a convenient punching bag. One of the criticisms is that multiculturalism undermines social cohesion and therefore erodes the basis for a redistribution policy. Closely related to this critique is that multiculturalism pushes immigrants into unemployment and makes them dependent on the welfare state. In this article, both criticisms are evaluated. We clarify why multiculturalism does not necessarily undermine the (support for) welfare state nor impede the socioeconomic equality of immigrants. What is needed and what remains necessary is the outline of a multicultural welfare state.


François Levrau
François Levrau is doctor in de Sociale Wetenschappen en als senior onderzoeker verbonden aan het Centrum voor Migratie en Interculturele Studies van de Universiteit Antwerpen.

    This article sets out to contribute to the special issue devoted to multi-disciplinary legal research by discussing first the limits of purely doctrinal legal research in relation to a particular topic and second the relevant considerations in devising research that (inter alia) draws on non-legal, auxiliary disciplines to ‘fill in’ and guide the legal framework. The topic concerned is the (analysis of the) fundamental rights of minorities.
    The article starts with a long account of the flaws in the current legal analysis of the European Court of Human Rights regarding minorities’ rights, particularly the reduction in its analysis and the related failure to properly identify and weigh all relevant interests and variables. This ‘prelude’ provides crucial insights in the causes of the flaws in the Court’s jurisprudence: lack of knowledge (about the relevant interests and variables) and concerns with the Court’s political legitimacy.
    The article goes on to argue for the need for multi-disciplinary legal research to tackle the lack of knowledge: more particularly by drawing on sociology (and related social sciences) and political philosophy as auxiliary disciplines to identify additional interests and variables for the rights analysis. The ensuing new analytical framework for the analysis of minorities’ rights would benefit international courts (adjudicating on human rights) generally. To operationalise and refine the new analytical framework, the research should furthermore have regard to the practice of (a selection of) international courts and national case studies.


Kristin Henrard
Professor of minorities and fundamental rights at the Erasmus School of Law.
Article

Access_open Global Citizens and Family Relations

Journal Erasmus Law Review, Issue 3 2014
Keywords global governance, family relations, nationality, habitual residence, party autonomy
Authors Professor Yuko Nishitani Ph.D.
AbstractAuthor's information

    As globalisation progresses, cross-border movements of people are becoming dynamic and multilateral. The existence of different groups and minorities within the community renders the society multiethnic and multicultural. As individuals acquire new affiliation and belonging, the conventional conflict of laws methods may no longer be viable and should be subject to a thorough re-examination. Against this background, this paper analyses appropriate conflicts rules in international family relations to reflect an individual’s identity. Furthermore, in light of the contemporary law fragmentation, this study also analyses interactions between state law and non-state cultural, religious or customary norms.


Professor Yuko Nishitani Ph.D.
Professor at Kyushu University Faculty of Law, Japan. This work was supported by the JSPS Grants-in-Aid for Scientific Research (C) (Grant Number 26380063). The author sincerely thanks Professor Carol Lawson (Nagoya University) and Ms. Nettie Dekker for their devoted editing work.
Article

Democracy, Constitutionalism and Shariah

The Compatibility Question

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 2 2014
Authors A.T. Shehu
Abstract

    This article is a contribution and a response to the debate on the compatibility, or rather the incompatibility, of Islam and Shariah with democracy and constitutionalism. The debate has been both inter and intra; Muslims as well as non-Muslims are divided among themselves on the issue. A careful synthesis of the arguments on both sides shows fundamental problems of semantics and lack of proper appreciation of the issues involved because of divergent construction of the basic rules and normative concepts. This article identifies as a problem the tendency for cultural prejudice and intolerance to largely determine the direction of the debate and endure not only a ‘clash of civilizations’, but also, in reality, a clash of normative concepts. This article contends that Islam is more democratic in nature and that Shariah itself is a system of constitutionalism; needless to say, the objectionists have long forgotten that, in essential formulations, Shariah is the foundation of thoughts on human rights.


A.T. Shehu

    This article seeks to critically analyse the European Commission's Proposal for a Council Regulation on jurisdiction, applicable law and recognition and enforcement of decisions in matters of matrimonial property regimes (COM (2011) 126). It focuses upon the coordination of the Proposal's provisions on jurisdiction and applicable law with the parallel provisions contained in other related EU private international law instruments, namely those relating to divorce (Brussels II bis and Rome III) and succession (Succession Regulation). In doing so, the article adopts a 'stress-test' approach, presenting scenarios in which interaction between these related instruments takes place. The compositions and circumstances of the fictitious couples in these scenarios are varied in order to fully illustrate the potential consequences of the interplay between the instruments. This article seeks to assess the extent to which (in)consistency exists between the current and proposed EU private international instruments and, by evaluating this interaction through a number of norms, how identified inconsistencies impact upon international couples' legal relationships. In order to ensure the analysis remains as up to date as possible, the article will also take into account relevant changes introduced in the latest revised versions of the Proposal.


Jacqueline Gray LL.M.
Jacqueline Gray studied law at the University of Glasgow (2006-2010) and European law at the Leiden University (2010-2011). Following this, she undertook a four-month internship at the Molengraaff Institute for Private Law and five-month traineeship at the European Parliament in Brussels. She is now a PhD student at the Molengraaff Institute for Private Law, where she is writing her dissertation on party autonomy in the EU private international law relating to family matters and succession.

Pablo Quinzá Redondo LL.M.
Pablo Quinzá Redondo, a research scholar funded by the Spanish Ministry of Education, Culture and Sport, is currently undertaking a PhD at the University of Valencia. His specialisation concerns 'The europeanisation of matrimonial property regimes from a substantive and private international law perspective'. Prior to commencing his PhD, he completed undergraduate degrees in both Law and Administration and Business management (2004- 2010), as well as a Master’s degree in Company Law (2010-2012), at the University of Valencia.

Jacqueline Gray
PhD candidate, UCERF, Utrecht Universiteit.
Article

Immigration, Religion and Human Rights

State Policy Challenges in Balancing Public and Private Interests

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 1 2012
Keywords globalization, religious symbols, reasonable accommodations, comparative law, immigration, burqa, human rights
Authors Eric Tardif
AbstractAuthor's information

    Three regions of the world – Western Europe, North America, and Australia – are probably the most popular options when families of emerging countries decide to emigrate in order to better their economic future. As the flow of immigrants establishing themselves in the receiving societies allows for these countries to get culturally richer, it creates, on the other hand, legal tensions as to the extent religious practice is to be accommodated by the governments of secular societies so as to facilitate the insertion of the newcomers into the workplace, social networks, and education system. In order to eliminate or diminish the effect of legal provisions that cause an indirect harm to religious minorities, several countries have taken steps aimed at “reasonably accommodating” them. This paper looks at these efforts made by receiving States, taking into account both the legislative aspect and the interpretation of the statutes and constitutional provisions by national as well as international tribunals; it also gives a critical appreciation of the results that have been obtained in the societies that have implemented those shifts in their legal system.


Eric Tardif
LL.L. (Ottawa); LL.M., LL.D. (National Autonomous University of Mexico - UNAM). The author is currently a Lecturer at the Faculty of Law of the National Autonomous University of Mexico, in the subjects of International and Comparative Law. This document was initially prepared for presentation at the VIIIth World Congress of the International Association of Constitutional Law, held in Mexico City, 6-10 December, 2010; an earlier version of this article was published in the International Journal of Public Law and Policy in 2011.

Markha Valenta
Markha Valenta is an Assistant Professor in the department of American Studies at Radboud University Nijmegen. Her current research concerns the politics of religion and culture in global cities, international relations and secular democracies, Her work is interdisciplinary and internationally comparative, with a focus on the United States, the Netherlands, and India.
Article

The Accommodation of Minority Customs in Sweden

The Islamic Law of Inheritance as an Example

Journal European Journal of Law Reform, Issue 3-4 2010
Keywords multiculturalism and law, private international law, Islamic law of inheritance
Authors Dr. Mosa Sayed
AbstractAuthor's information

    Sweden, as well as many of the other member states of the European Union, has transformed into multicultural societies. In these increasingly culturally differentiated societies demands are raised by immigrant groups for the recognition of their cultural identity and uniqueness. Minority customs may in some cases conflict with fundamental values in the state law. In this article the author is elaborating on the Swedish private international law rules and the multicultural dilemma in relation to the Islamic law of inheritance, which is often considered to belong to those areas of the Islamic law that express principles that are incompatible with the core values of Swedish law.


Dr. Mosa Sayed
Mosa Sayed is Doctor of Laws at Faculty of Law, Uppsala University and researcher within the multidisciplinary research programme Impact of Religion: Challenge for Society, Law and Democracy, founded as a Centre of Excellence at Uppsala University.
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