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National Secular Society

Challenging Religious Privilege

Greek Supreme Court places sharia law above civil law

Posted: Tue, 12 Nov 2013 12:56

Greek Supreme Court places sharia law above civil law

The last will and testament of a Muslim man, which was prepared according to Greek civil law, has been annulled in the Greek Supreme Court because it is not compliant with sharia law.

Demeter Simeonidou, who was Muslim and lived in Thrace, wanted to leave all his assets to his wife. He prepared his will with this in mind under Greek law. But the will was challenged by Mr Simoenidou's sister who claimed that under Islamic law of succession, a Muslim does not have the right to make a public will and his assets must be distributed in accordance with sharia.

The Supreme Court's decision overturns the rights of Greek minority Muslims in Thrace to prepare wills under Greek civil law, a right which they have enjoyed since 1946.

It is thought the decision will affect thousands of Muslims who have drawn up wills under the civil law, all of which may be invalid under the Supreme Court's ruling.

Previously only family law fell under the jurisdiction of Islamic muftis in Greece, but that was changed after sharia courts were condemned by the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights as being discriminatory against women.

Tags: Sharia, Greece