Historic step: Greece limits power of Sharia law

Greece?s Muslim minority will be able to resolve family disputes before Greek courts rather than under Islamic sharia law after the parliament on Tuesday changed a century-old legacy.

The prime minister, Alexis Tsipras, immediately called the vote an historic step? as it extended equality before the law to all Greeks?.

The legislation will allow Muslim litigants to go before a Greek court for divorce, child custody and inheritance matters, rather than appealing to Islamic jurists known as muftis a system that rights groups say frequently discriminates against women.

The issue has its origins in the period after the first world war, and treaties between Greece and Turkey that followed the collapse of the Ottoman empire.

The 1920 treaty of Sevres and the 1923 treaty of Lausanne stipulated that Islamic customs and Islamic religious law would apply to thousands of Muslims who suddenly became Greek citizens.

Greece?s roughly 110,000-strong Muslim minority mainly lives in Thrace, a poor, rural region in the north-east bordering Turkey.

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