Attempts to practise aspects of Shari’ah (Islamic) law in the Netherlands which involve compulsion, pressure and a misuse of power will be clamped down hard by the government, justice minister Ernst Hirsch Ballin said. The cabinet’s job is to ensure that the Netherlands does not develop ‘a parallel society in which people take the law into their own hands or maintain their own legal system which operates outside the framework of our own legal system’, the minister said. However, some form of settling differences about questions of belief and behaviour did not have to conflict with public order, as long as they were entered into voluntarily, the minister said. Before the summer break, the anti-immigration PVV party had asked Hirsch Ballin to investigate the setting up of Shari’ah courts at some mosques. That investigation is due to be completed next year.