Jewish Journal

Kenyan court holds constitution can’t include Islamic courts

by Brad A. Greenberg

June 1, 2010 | 8:46 am

It’s always a good idea when drafting your country’s constitution to exempt a judicial arena from the constitution’s limitations. From FaithWorld:

Kenyan Prime Minister Raila Odinga has attacked the country’s judiciary as an obstacle to reform after its high court ruled it would be discriminatory to entrench kadhi courts — Islamic courts that rule on the basis of sharia — in Kenya’s constitution. The ruling came three months before Kenyans vote in a referendum on a proposed new constitution, seen as an important step towards ensuring that post-election violence which shook east Africa’s largest economy in 2008 is not repeated.

Opposition to the Muslim courts brought together Christian clergy and some politicians to oppose the proposed constitution. The kadhis’ courts deal with matters of marriage, divorce and inheritance among Muslims.

A three-judge panel of the high court said religious courts should not be enshrined in the constitution because it ran counter to the principle of separation of state and religion.

Bad logic by the high court. But let’s take a step back. It appears that the Christian leaders who opposed extending the constitution to Muslim courts would prefer to not have the Muslim courts exist at all. And, for some reason, they believe that by ignoring the courts, they will just go away.

Not likely. What is likely, though, is that the subjects of those courts won’t be granted the same rights and protections and non-Muslim Kenyans.

A full report here.

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