Syrian Ministry of Justice adopts decree subjecting Yezidis with Syrian nationality to Sharia Courts

DARAMSUQ — On Sunday, the Syrian Ministry of Justice issued legislative decree No. 370 on 14 February stipulating that the Yezidis with Syrian nationality should come under the jurisdiction of the Islamic Sharia courts. Yezidis in Syria without Syrian nationality will be dealt with as foreigners and will be subjected to civil courts.

The majority of Yezidis in the country do not have Syrian nationality, and as such the implementation of the decree will not entitle them to officially register their marriage and lineage. In effect, the decree gives Yezidis denied Syrian nationality for generations a choice: remain stateless as before or become a Syrian national and be subjected to Islamic courts.

Such decrees and laws forcing religious minorities to forgo citizenship or convert have existed in Syria for generations.

According to existing Syrian Law, if a Christian man married a Muslim woman, their marriage is considered void and the children are attributed to the wife’s surname. The father’s name will not be included in the family record, except in the event he converts to Islam.

If a Christian woman wishes to have her marriage to a Muslim man recognized, she must convert to Islam.