Civil Liability for Sex Abuse by Muslim Clergy in Spain

In: Journal of Law, Religion and State
Nicolás Zambrana-TévarLLM (LSE), PhD (Navarra), Associate Professor KIMEP University, Almaty, Kazakhstan,,

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State courts of civil law and common law jurisdictions alike are used to applying the rules of direct and indirect tort liability to Christian churches in different ways and with different results. But recent court decisions have put the issue of the civil liability of religious groups for acts of sex abuse by clergy in a different context, that of Islam. A common denominator in the reasoning of courts worldwide is the relevance of religious authority – authority to appoint and supervise clergy or authority vested in clergy – as an important factor in the attribution of civil liability. But Islam is a religion whose organizational structure and ministers are simply too different from those of the various Christian churches, so that state courts run the risk of wrongly applying to Islamic communities and Muslim entities the same categories and legal principles they usually apply in other, more common, cases of sex abuse.

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