Monday, November 05, 2012

Shariah Courts Role Expands In Egypt's Sinai Peninsula

According to the Wall Street Journal last Friday, in Egypt's Sinai Peninsula Shariah courts are proliferating to fill the void in governmental services. Islamic courts have long operated in the Sinai to adjudicate minor disputes among individuals, but since the revolution they are expanding their role. According to Sheikh Asaad al Beek who oversees the Shariah judges, the caseload has risen from 50 cases two years ago to an expected 900 before this year is out. This is 75% of the caseload formerly handled by Egypt's civil courts in the Sinai. The Shariah courts presently operate like arbitration panels, with the parties agreeing in advance to follow its rulings.  The sheikhs often attempt to mediate cases presented to them, and many cases are resolved by the court merely ordering one of the parties to apologize. Apparently there have been some discussions with police about getting officers to enforce Shariah court rulings.