Thursday, March 22, 2007

"The right to castigate means for me: the husband can beat his wife"

[Posted by reader_iam]

A German judge cites the Koran for a decision in a divorce case.
In January, though, a letter arrived from the judge adjudicating the case. The judge rejected the application for a speedy divorce by referring to a passage in the Koran that some have controversially interpreted to mean that a husband can beat his wife. It's a supposed right which is the subject of intense debate among Muslim scholars and clerics alike."The exercise of the right to castigate does not fulfill the hardship criteria as defined by Paragraph 1565 (of German federal law)," the daily Frankfurter Rundschau quoted the judge's letter as saying. It must be taken into account, the judge argued, that both man and wife have Moroccan backgrounds.
... In the reply sent to Becker-Rojczyk, the judge expressly referred to a Koran verse -- or sura -- which indicates that a man's honor is injured when his wife behaves in an unchaste manner. "Apparently the judge deems it unchaste when my client adapts a Western lifestyle," Becker-Rojczyk said.
Talk about cultural/religious sensitivity taken to extremes. And what the heck is a judge in Germany--which, unless I've missed something, hasn't adopted sharia law as the underpinnings for its legal system--doing interpreting the Koran or taking its teachings into account either way with regard to a legal ruling of this type?

I'd like to know a little bit more about that judge, whose name the Spiegel Online piece didn't even mention. The International Herald Tribune identifies her (!) as Christa Datz-Winter, but doesn't give us anymore information about her background or history on the bench. It does, however, make Datz-Winter seem even more clueless than the Spiegel article does:
Court vice president Bernhard Olp said Thursday the judge "regrets that the impression arose that she approves of violence in marriage."

Olp said the judge had been convinced she was doing everything she could to protect the woman, who had been granted a restraining order against her husband. She had seen no reason to grant help in paying court costs for a fast-track divorce, and looked in the Quran to support her reasoning.
So, Datz-Winter doesn't "approve" of violence in marriage, but doesn't have problems citing a passage from a religious book that she sees as justifying it, or mitigating it, or rendering it understandable, or whatever, if the married people involved aren't--what? Real, native-born Germans? Christians? Atheists?

To whom or what was this judge trying to be sensitive in her assertion that cultural background must be taken into account in a case such as this one? Immigrants? Fundamentalist Muslims? Men? A touchy-feely, pie-in-the-sky, extreme form of P.C. cultural relativism? Because it sure wasn't the woman involved--you know, the victim of abuse who also had been threatened with murder.

Or maybe Datz-Winter simply is as much of an idiot as she appears.