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|Muslims of Greece: a legal paradox and a political failure
|Legal pluralism in Muslim contexts
|Since its creation, the Greek state has taken advantage of the long experience of the Ottoman millet system when dealing with its own Muslim populations. The Muslim minority (before and after the Greek-Turkish population exchange, 1923) was always officially recognised and its legal status was regulated through millet-like norms. Today, the Turkish/Muslim minority of Thrace is also under a special legal regime: internal institutions such as local community councils, minority schools, Muftis and vakıfs (viz. pious endowments) are integrated into a minority protection framework. However, minority protection law often creates conflicts between legal norms, such as in the case of the enjoyment of linguistic rights on the basis of religious affiliation or the application of the Sharia. Greek-Turkish antagonism in the field undermines attempts to harmonise this rather old-fashioned minority protection framework with human rights principles. As a result immigrant Muslims do not enjoy any of these special rights. The absence of a mosque and a Muslim cemetery in Athens demonstrates the reluctance of the Greek governments to deal with the presence of Muslims outside Thrace. Recent case law highlights central issues regarding the position of Sharia law in Greece, and within the European legal order.
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|Department of Balkan, Slavic & Oriental Studies
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