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A shari’ah court based on Islamic law has been established for Muslims in Antwerp, Belgium, but has the same legal status as “Judge Judy” on American TV, according to officials.

The Muslim court will handle marriage disputes and inheritance issues if requested by the parties involved in lieu of a civil court hearing. Both parties must agree — just as in any other extrajudicial arbitration.

Some concern was expressed that the court — the Center for Islamic Services — opened at the insistence of a radical Islamic group called “Sharia 4 Belgium,” according the Belgian news service Het Laatste Nieuws.

 Het Laatste listed the following as the responsibilities of the court:

“It handles all cases of divorces, annulling marriages, reconciliations or matrimonial disputes in accordance with the shari’ah of Allah, and can deliver a certificate where necessary.”

According to the American news website the Blaze, Monica De Coninck, who is Antwerp’s Alderman for Diversity, said it’s a good thing that religious groups mediate their communities. The court cannot pass sentences, it merely acts as a “moderator.”

A parallel was drawn to “Judge Judy” or “The People’s Court” genre of TV shows in the United States, in which small claims court is replaced with binding arbitration — but only when both parties are in agreement.

De Coninck did tell the Blaze that it would have been better if this particular court was not championed by radical fundamentalists with a history of calling for the Islamization of Europe and support for al-Qaida terrorist.

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