Netherlands: No Sharia courts

Netherlands: No Sharia courts

There are no Sharia courts.. in the narrow sense of the word.  But the big brouhaha about Sharia courts in the UK, for example, concerned using Sharia law in the process of arbitration.  As this study shows, such arbitration councils exist in the Netherlands.


There are no Sharia courts in the Netherlands, according to a study by Radboud University Nijmegen for the the Research and Documentation Center of the Ministry of Justice.

Due to the ethnic and religious diversity of Dutch Muslim groups, the existence of an official legal institute for all Muslims in the Netherlands is not really possible.

The study was sent by Minister Hirsch Ballin (Justice) and Middelkoop (Integration) to the Dutch parliament with the cabinet's response.

There are practices of counseling and conflict-arbitration on the basis of Sharia in the Netherlands.  Many Muslims in the Netherlands ask in their circle or among Islam scholars for advice about issues in which Islamic concepts and life in Dutch society offer choices.  Together they look for the best solution in the given circumstances: how can an individual Muslim live in an non-Islamic country by Islamic law.  These are much more often arbitration, rather than the settling disputes.

The most important conclusion from the study admittedly removes the concern about the possible existence of Sharia courts in the Netherlands, but the cabinet still sees it as its job to ensure that there will be no parallel societies in which people take the law into their own hands, or have their own legal system which goes outside our own legal order.
Source: Ministry of Justice (Dutch)

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