Sweden: Muslims required to divorce according to Sharia law

The social services in Karlshamn are apparently discriminating against Muslims. Muslims who apply for welfare support need to show a certificate that they've been divorced, not only from a court, but also from an imam.

Susanne Loveheim, head of the welfare services in Karlshamn says that it isn't a strange procedure since Muslim custom requires them to go through an imam for the divorce to be considered complete.

The discrimination ombudsman (DO) is critical of this procedure since it discriminates against Muslims. Katri Linna, discrimination ombudsman, says that it's clear that they've been divorced according to Swedish law, and there's no reason for a special certificate. The DO wants the municipality of Karlshamn to stop the special requirement from Muslims. They will continue to take up the matter with the National Board of Health and Welfare and will make sure that they tighten up their guidelines.

Sweden Radio has discovered that Örebro also requires a divorce certificate from an imam. The DO is now considering to start a nation-wide investigation to see how wide-spread this procedure is and whether it's discriminatory against Muslims.

Source: Swedish Radio 1, 2 (Swedish)

See also: Sweden: Don't give Islamic laws a place in Sweden, Sweden: The problems of civil divorce


Anonymous said...

I think it should be mentioned why they do it. There is a problem especially amongst somali immigrants where some pretend to be divorced without actually being so. They divorce according to swedish law but stay married religiously. If you have kids and live on social welfare then you get more money then if you´re divorced since living apart is more expensive for the parents. I don´t see how it can be discriminating to ask the imam to confirm the divorce. It´s just common sense.

Esther said...

Hi anonymous,

I agree that polygamy is a problem, but you can't fight it by forcing Sharia law. If you do, then why not have Sharia councils like some Muslims have suggested?

Btw, what you say about divorce is true also for non-Muslims, no?