Last week's commotion about sharia courts in Britain, which even led to questions being asked in the Dutch parliament, was reminiscent of the pandemonium over the alleged introduction of the sharia in Canada in 2004. Apparently, the word sharia is enough to scare people out of their minds.
Let us first establish that there are in fact no sharia courts in the Netherlands. At most, some Dutch Muslims will consult an imam or seek advice on the internet for some problems or disputes.
But let's assume there were sharia courts in the Netherlands. It is said that there is an inherent danger in having parallel forms of conflict resolution in the Netherlands. But we already have those. Is it illegal? No. Is it desirable? It depends on who you ask but, for better or worse, they are a part of our democratic state of law.