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Orthodox Jew cleared of failing to carry ID, because it was Saturday

Saturday 18 February 2012

An orthodox Jew has been found not guilty of failing to produce an ID card because it was against his religious principles to carry any object on Saturday – the Jewish sabbat - the Telegraaf reports.

The Hague appeal court ruled on Friday the man should not be prosecuted for failing to prove his identity as required by police. He had faced a €150 fine.

‘This religious requirement is more important than the requirement to meet Dutch laws,’ the court press spokesman told the paper.


The paper points out the ruling opens the way for orthodox Muslim women to refuse fines for wearing a face veil and for corporal punishment in the name of religion. The government is in the process of bringing in legislation to ban the Islamic burqa.

The paper states Piet Hein Donner, the minister responsible for introducing the ID law, was warned about the problems it would present orthodox Jews. He said at the time this should be taken into account when the law is put into practice.

The public prosecution department has not yet decided whether to appeal against the ruling.

MPs have urged justice minister Ivo Opstelten to make a statement.

© DutchNews.nl


Readers' Comments

Nothing like allowing ridiculous religious practices dictate safety measures meant for all citizens living in a country.
'Against his religious principles to carry any object on Saturday, the Jewish Sabbath?’ Are these people for real? Or was this man not carrying or wearing any clothes on his body either? ;) I would think that would be considered ‘public nudity’ then but I could be wrong. Laws might be different in the NL and seem to change frequently without considering the problems they can inadvertently create. ‘This religious requirement is more important than the requirement to meet Dutch laws.’ That could be an open argument which needs to be seriously addressed by the ministers for the safety of everyone.

By Nobody | 18 February 2012 2:05 PM

I'd have to wonder what the Hague would do - hypothetically speaking,of course - If everyone converted to the Orthodox Jewish religion and stated it was against their religious principles to carry any object (aka ID) on Saturday on the Jewish Sabbath. Would anyone actually check his pockets to make certain he did not have everything else except the kitchen sink and his necessary ID card? ;)

By JustMe | 18 February 2012 2:16 PM

Sabbath Saturday rituals include not touching electricity, driving a car, going to work, no telephone or any other business interruptions.
Wonder if that includes cellphones and checking their Facebook text messages? God forbid the lights in the bathroom are electric and it’s a stormy dark day in the NL. Some of their religious practices seem a bit ridiculous and an ID and possibly a medical bracelet if required are considerably important items to have at all times. These items should be allowed and carried by everyone in case anything happens.

By Jan | 18 February 2012 2:40 PM

This is utter shameful. Why is religion above the law? We would have to pay 150 fine so why shouldn't he? Its discrination of all other faiths and non believers! What a joke.

By Jak Ford | 18 February 2012 3:16 PM

The law is the law and should apply to everyone at all times regardles of religios belief.
As the article rightly points out this ois going to create loopholes and get out clauses.
Are we going to see long drawn out court cases re veils etc?
This will only waste more public money!

By Donaugh | 18 February 2012 5:58 PM

So the religion group A is allowed to brake the law because it's religion says so, while religion group B is not allowed (i.e., burka ban). Don't get me wrong I don't accuse or defend group A or B, I just defend the "all equal in the eyes of the law" dogma

By Savas | 18 February 2012 6:54 PM

Religious belief beats civil law? Really?

By Albert Johnson | 18 February 2012 7:24 PM

Jewish law permits wearing items (such as clothing or medical bracelet) but prohibits carrying items, even in pockets. It also prohibits any direct interaction with electricity, including as mentioned Facebook and text messages. One who follows Jewish law will not do any of these on the Sabbath.

Perhaps a modified "wearable" ID card could be produced, or perhaps he should simply pay the fine and continue on with his life. How often does he expect to be stopped on the Sabbath?

By Dina | 19 February 2012 8:13 AM

"This religious requirement is more important than the requirement to meet Dutch laws..."

I can't believe I just read this! Have these people gone completely insane? Do they realise what they are saying? Is this going to apply to any and all religions? Will all religious requirements take precedence over National Law? The slippiest of slippery slopes, in my opinion...

By Al | 19 February 2012 8:22 AM

Really sick and tired of all this religious nonsense.If they don't want to follow the laws of the land (which at all time must be secular) why don't they stay home on Saturday...problem solved.

By AW | 19 February 2012 8:51 AM

Has Jedi been accepted as a religion here in NL like it has in the UK? I fancy owning a lightsaber...
Religious law should NEVER come above the law of the land.

By @CluthaDubh | 19 February 2012 9:37 AM

The obligation to carry ID is not a safety measure. Instead it is the result of the sort of political grandstanding that led the Nazis to be able to wipe out most of the Dutch Jewish population during the occupation with consummate ease.

By Branko Collin | 19 February 2012 10:31 AM

The law says that kitchen floors in restaurants need to be perfectly smooth to avoid nasty germs finding little homes for themselves.

The law also says that kitchen floors in restaurants need to be very coarse, to avoid staff from slipping and breaking their legs.

Sometimes laws conflict. In this case there is a constitutional law that says people have the right to live according to their religion, and another law that says people have to carry proof of identity.

The relative merits of conflicting laws can be discussed, but pretending that laws simply never conflict does not strike me as very smart.

By Branko Collin | 19 February 2012 10:36 AM

Well, correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't Sharia law acknowledged in Holland and allowed to take precedence within the Muslim community? What's the difference? That said, I know some ultra-orthodox Jews, and their religious law of not carrying anything outside of your home on the Sabbath is a deeply held belief. But in that case, when they are in a country that requires ID, they should plan ahead and remain home all through the Sabbath - seems simple enough to me - so as not to break local laws. They ARE allowed to break these rules if a life is at stake, so if a life-or-death situation occurred he could take his ID, insurance card.

By sailgirl | 19 February 2012 10:43 AM

Ridiculous, dangerous decision that opens a giant can of worms. I hope it is reversed because someone hasn't thought this through all the way.

By Stupid | 19 February 2012 12:09 PM

@Jan I'm not jewish, but I some orthodox jewish friends and I assure you - if they won't carry anything on the Sabbath, they absolutely won't use a computer, phone, nor even pick up a pen and write. Those who follow their religion that seriously follow it even when it's not fun or convenient for them.

By observer | 19 February 2012 12:29 PM

Yes, we are forbidden to carry on the Sabbath. That's the "crime" that keeps you up at night? We answer to a higher authority whether you approve or not.

By moriah | 19 February 2012 6:24 PM

Orthodox Jews have been living in Amsterdam for hundreds of years without any issues regarding ID carrying. One should ask what the purpose of this law was; my guess is that it was not due to problems with Orthodox Jews. Furthermore, equating not carrying an ID to wearing a full face covering is ignorant.

By Peter | 20 February 2012 3:37 AM

I guess "death to infidels" now becomes a reasonable defense in court.

By foreigndutch | 20 February 2012 8:22 AM

Strange. In Israel carrying ID is obligatory. I wonder how they manage it on the Sabbath.

By groverpm | 20 February 2012 8:28 AM

Mixed feelings on this one. I find having to carry ID by law rather distasteful and a slow erosion of our freedoms. Perhaps in 10 years we could face jail-time for not carrying it.

By Andrejs | 20 February 2012 9:03 AM

Wow. What flawed reasoning!

And considering that even different sects within the same religion have different "rules", one can pretty well justify anything using that excuse.

You can argue that most Jews do carry ID on the Sabbath and consider themselves devoted, just as most Muslim women don't wear a burqa and still consider themselves Muslim! And that these "rules" have never been consistent over time.

The only sensible, consistent solution is secular law.

By CW | 20 February 2012 11:26 AM

"Nothing in the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." If the Orthodox Jew was seriously injured or worse on Saturday Sabbath and not carrying any ID; it would make it more difficult for hospital personnel to contact his family if necessary.

By BJ | 20 February 2012 12:57 PM

Jan, just because some of their religious practices "seem a bit ridiculous" to you, does not mean that those practices are in fact ridiculous.

Also saligirl- you suggest that Orthodox Jews stay home on the Sabbath. Think this through-- that would mean they couldn't walk to their synagogue for their services. I hardly think you came up with a good solution here.

Moriah- I totally agree.

By Ruth | 20 February 2012 3:14 PM

So according to resolution from our court, which any democratic citizen must respect, muslims should have the same right, should not they?
What think about it PVV supporters?

By zenplus | 20 February 2012 9:40 PM

Whereas I expect my, Jewish, religion to be recognized and accepted, wanting to be exempted from carrying ID is perhaps asking a little too much. But I wonder, why was this orthodox gentleman asked, and then on a Saturday, to show ID? Here in Canada, police are directed to not frivolously and without good reason stop passerby or pull over motorists. My dog and I often go out for short walks with neither he nor I carrying ID. If we were in Holland would we be breaking the law, my pooch having to do jail time if he cannot pay the fine? Besides, the compulsory carrying of ID reminds a little of 1940-45 in Holland, Ausweis!

By PE1800 | 21 February 2012 12:51 AM

It seems to me this decision only proves that the law is flawed. A just democracy rules by majority, but is obligated to protect the rights of the minority. Religious rights are at the heart of this ethos.

When the majority in a society becomes secular or even anti-religious -- as in The Netherlands over only the last decades -- the religious minority must hope that the majority lives up to their responsibilities.

And it's not like we're talking about a religious practice that endangers others, but the freedom to leave your home during a day of communion with G-d.

There are no gangs of orthodox Jews committing robberies on the Sabbath.

By CP | 21 February 2012 2:54 AM

Oh so its one law for the Jews and another for Muslims..very interesting Holland very interesting indeed.Its no wonder the United Nations are asking questions.

By jason buttle | 21 February 2012 1:29 PM

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