This January, Greece has voted to curb the influence of the Islamic courts that govern most of the legal transactions in the western region of a 100,000 Muslim minority. Alexis Tsipras, the Greek Prime Minister announced that this is a step along the way of giving equal rights to all Greeks regardless of their faith.
The lawmakers decided to limit the powers of the Sharia law which were established about a century ago. This aims to give Greek courts more power over all legal issues and cases and was strongly advised by the European Court of Human Rights. After the Ottoman Empire’s collapse, the Turkish speaking Muslim minority remained reluctant to follow the laws set by the Greek Government. The proposal was issued after a Muslim woman made a dispute regarding an inheritance issue in the city of Komotini.
Constantine Gavroglou, The Minister of Education and Religious Affairs stated that this is an important step for the Greek Parliament as it ensures that all issues of people’s rights are addressed with a focus on equality and democracy.
However, there are still oppositions against the bill especially concerning the appointment of the locally-elected Muslim clerics. Although they are not operating officially, nevertheless they are highly influential within the minority community.