A German woman judge has refused a Moroccan woman permission to file for divorce by interpreting the Koran as allowing husbands to beat their wives
"Where are we living? Woman judge allows beating in marriage... and invokes the Koran," said a front-page headline in Germany's top-selling Bild newspaper, reflecting the widespread angry reaction on Thursday.
"This Moroccan woman has the same right to protection from a violent husband as any German woman. Anything else would be misconceived sensitivity to the benefit of the husband and would amount to racist discrimination against the wife," said the Tageszeitung daily.
The Central Council of Muslims in Germany also condemned the decision.
"The judge should have made a decision based on the German constitution instead of the Koran," said spokeswoman Nurhan Soykan, who said that violence and mistreatment, regardless of the gender of the victim, were also grounds for divorce in the Islamic world.
A court in the western city of Frankfurt on Wednesday upheld a complaint of bias against the judge lodged by the lawyer of the 26-year-old woman, who has two children.
The woman had filed for immediate divorce on the grounds that the husband, also of Moroccan origin, regularly beat her and threatened to kill her. The claims were backed up by a police report.
But the female judge, who has not been named, made clear in a letter that the wife's bid had little chance of approval because, according to her, Islamic law allowed a man to strike his wife.
German politicians from all parties were united in disgust at the judgement.
"When the Koran takes precedence over the German Basic Law, then I can only say: Good night Germany," Ronald Pofalla, the secretary general of the conservative Christian Democratic Union of Chancellor Angela Merkel, told Bild.
Hans-Christian Stroebele, of the opposition Greens, said the kind of abuse suffered by the woman should be punished by German criminal law.
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