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Sharia Law in Europe? Legacies of the Ottoman Empire and the European Convention on Human Rights

McGoldrick, Dominic

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Authors

DOMINIC MCGOLDRICK DOMINIC.MCGOLDRICK@NOTTINGHAM.AC.UK
Professor of International Human Rights Law



Abstract

In Western Thrace in Greece, a legacy of the Ottoman Empire survives in the form of religious law (Sharia). This article examines how international human rights law has approached the compatibility of such religious laws with modern human rights instruments and particularly with the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR). It portrays the situation on Western Thrace within the wider historical, legal and social contexts of Muslims in Greece. It explains how the ‘Muslims in Western Thrace’ came to be identified as a particular legal minority, why Sharia continued to be applied to them and only to them, and examines their contemporary legal and human rights status. There follows an extensive critique of the judgment of the Grand Chamber of the European Court of Human Rights in Molla Sali v. Greece in December 2018. Although the narrow factual issue in the case concerned inheritance rights, the case raised general issues concerning the individual as the central subject of human rights law and the relationship between individual and minority rights protection. The article concludes by reflecting on the place of individual consent within a human rights framework and the systemic implications of the Molla Sali case with respect to the possible future of Sharia in the social and legal spaces of the ECHR.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Oct 11, 2019
Online Publication Date Dec 2, 2019
Publication Date 2019-10
Deposit Date Oct 30, 2019
Publicly Available Date Nov 1, 2021
Journal Oxford Journal of Law and Religion
Print ISSN 2047-0770
Electronic ISSN 2047-0789
Publisher Oxford University Press
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 8
Issue 3
Pages 517–566
DOI https://doi.org/10.1093/ojlr/rwz026
Public URL https://nottingham-repository.worktribe.com/output/2993472
Publisher URL https://academic.oup.com/ojlr/advance-article/doi/10.1093/ojlr/rwz026/5650360
Additional Information This is a pre-copyedited, author-produced version of an article accepted for publication in Oxford Journal of Law and Religion following peer review. The version of record Dominic McGoldrick, Sharia Law in Europe? Legacies of the Ottoman Empire and the European Convention on Human Rights, Oxford Journal of Law and Religion, Volume 8, Issue 3, October 2019, Pages 517–566 is available online at: https://doi.org/10.1093/ojlr/rwz026.

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