European Court of Human Rights on Shari'ah Law

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The European Court of Human Rights (ECtHR) determined on July 31, 2001, that "the institution of Sharia law and a theocratic regime, were incompatible with the requirements of a democratic society." This statemant was made in connection with the banning of the Welfare Party (Refah Partisi, RP), an Islamist political party in Turkey.

The ban was upheld by the ECtHR on February 13, 2003. Noting that the Welfare Party had pledged to set up a regime based on the Shari'ah, the Court found that, "sharia was incompatible with the fundamental principles of democracy as set forth in the Convention. It considered that “sharia, which faithfully reflects the dogmas and divine rules laid down by religion, is stable and invariable."