Religious Freedom and Minority Rights in Greece: the case of the Muslim minority in western Thrace
The status of religious freedom of the Muslim minority in Western Thrace (northern Greece) is protected according to the Treaty of Lausanne and international human rights instruments. According to the Treaty the members of the Muslim minority have the right to elect their own religious leader (Mufti) and resolve disputes of a family and personal nature based on Islamic Law. The process of the appointment of the Mufti constitutes a point of friction between the state and the minority. The institution of the Mufti has become a political issue causing tension between the state and the minority and even among the minority members themselves. On the other hand, the argument persists that the application of Islamic law in family matters within the Muslim minority quite often leads to the violation of the provisions of the Constitution and international treaties regarding the principles of equality and non-discrimination. The paper, thus examines the proposition that the present minority regime inevitably leads to the violation of the provisions of the Constitution and international human rights norms regarding the principles of equality, non-discrimination and women’s rights.
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