by Harold Waxman
A recent Center for Security Policy study called “Shariah Law and American State Courts: An Assessment of State Appellate Court Cases” outlines dozens of cases in which the Islamic system of law has been applied. Center spokesman David Reaboi said the Islamic strictures are being carried out mostly in cases in which foreigners are the principals. “Shariah enters U.S. courts through the practice of comity to foreign law,” Reaboi explained. “This happens, for example, when a judge decides to allow the use of say, Pakistani or Saudi family law (Shariah) in a dispute between Pakistanis or Saudis.”
He said the study only scratches the surface of Shariah’s presence in the nation. “For every case in this sample drawn from published appellate legal cases, there are innumerable cases at the trial level that remain unnoticed except by the participants,” the study said. “Thus, this report is only a sample of possible cases – a ‘tip of the iceberg’ – of legal cases involving Shariah in local, state and federal courts.”
Among the cases cited was one from New Jersey in which a wife sought a restraining order against her husband because of spousal abuse. “S.D. (wife) and M.J.R. (husband) were both Muslims and citizens of Morocco and both resided in New Jersey. After only three months of marriage, husband began physically abusing wife. The physical abuse administered by husband injured wife’s entire body including her breasts and pubic area,” the report said. “Additionally, husband forced himself on wife and had non-consensual sex with her on multiple occasions. Husband stated to wife that Islam allowed him to have sex with her at any time he wished. Wife asked the trial court to grant a restraining order against husband shortly after he verbally divorced her in front of their imam,” the report said.
“The trial court refused to issue a final restraining order against husband finding that, although husband had harassed and assaulted wife, husband believed it was his religious right to have non-consensual sex with his wife and that belief precluded any criminal intent on the part of husband,” according to the report.
“The New Jersey appellate court reversed the trial court and ordered that the trial court enter a final restraining order against husband. The New Jersey appellate court stated that the trial court erroneously allowed the husband’s religious beliefs to excuse him from New Jersey’s criminal code and that husband knowingly engaged in non-consensual sex with wife,” the report said.
The report also presents details of 19 more “top cases” and a summary of 50 cases from 23 states that have used Shariah as the basis for court decisions.
American Center for Law and Justice Shariah expert Shaheryar Gill said in the prominent New Jersey case, “the judge actually looked at Shariah law to decide.” Gill says an ACLJ book, “Shariah Law: Radical Islam’s Threat to the U.S. Constitution,” discusses the problem. “In the case of ‘S.D. v. M.J.R,‘ the New Jersey appellate court rightly refused to accommodate the sincerely held religious beliefs of a Muslim man who physically, verbally, and sexually abused his wife in accordance with Shariah,” the ACLJ book says.
The study emphasizes that family law is only part of the complete Shariah picture. It concludes that since Islamic religious law moves further than American constitutional law on a range of subjects, Shariah is incompatible with U.S. precedents. “Institutionalized, authoritative Shariah is comprehensive and by definition without limit in its ambitions and scope, and it also includes legally mandated, recommended, permitted, discouraged and prohibited practices that are strongly biased and discriminatory against women, homosexuals and non-Muslims,” the study said.
“Shariah law provides a legal framework for violence up to and including legalized murder against apostates (people who have left Islam), homosexuals, blasphemers and especially women accused of various crimes,” the study said. “Just this year in 2011, in Pakistan’s Shariah legal system, both apostates and blasphemers have been imprisoned and faced execution. Shariah criminal punishments are extreme, including amputations and lashings for numerous crimes,” the study reported.
WND reported in January about the high profile blasphemy case of Pakistani Christian woman Asia Bibi, who received the death penalty for blasphemy, simply for sharing the Gospel with her Muslim coworkers. WND also reported in June that former terrorist Kamal Saleem agreed that one of the methods of carrying out jihad is through the courts. “What they’re trying to do is fake cases for Islam and these cases are done purposefully. Two imams were fighting against each other and the fight was over a mosque,” Saleem said. “That is so devious and it is part of the culture of Islamic invasion. These two imams are fighting over a mosque in Florida. Each imam says it belongs to me.”One says I built it and I raised the funds. The other one says the Wahhabi government put me over here and they’re the ones who sent the money. Both of them are right,” Saleem continued.
“They went to the Supreme Court in Florida. What happened is that they said this was a Muslim matter and you need to judge us by Islamic Shariah law or you will not understand how these things work,” he said.
Gill said there are other recent cases that demonstrate the level to which Shariah has infiltrated the court system. “There are different types of cases in which you see that Shariah or Islamic law is applied or is required to be applied, or looked at,” Gill said. “For example, indirectly, there are cases in which foreign judgments are brought into the United States and enforced here,” he said. One such case according to the ACLJ’s booklet is the case of ‘Farah v. Farah,’ heard in Virginia.
In that case, a Virginia trial judge recognized the validity of a Muslim marriage that was conducted through a proxy in England.” “The trial judge ruled that the marriage, which was solemnized in England (though no certificate of marriage was issued by any English authority) and its ceremony completed in Pakistan, must be honored in Virginia because ‘the law of the state of Pakistan sanctions marriages performed under the personal law of the parties which in this case was Moslem law,'” the ACLJ book reported.
The book pointed out that the Virginia court, “correctly recognized, however, that Pakistan’s recognition of Shariah ‘does not control the issue of the validity of the marriage under Virginia law.’ Instead, the court applied Virginia law, which only granted comity according to the principles of the location celebrating the marriage, which was England.”
There is also the California case of “Malak v. Malak,” which involved a Lebanese court decision. The court determined, however, that the Lebanese order was enforceable because even though the Lebanese court had not explicitly applied the ‘best interests of the child’ standard, its decision aligned with California’s ‘best interests of the child’ standard,” the ACLJ book said.
An Emory University Law School publication noted that the “Malak” case was cited as precedent in other Muslim child custody cases. Atlas Shrugs publisher and Islam analyst Pamela Geller says that Islamic law cited as the basis for any American court decision shows that the American legal system is turning a dangerous corner. “It is setting a very dangerous precedent. Shariah law and U.S. law conflict in numerous ways, including on issues of freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and equality of rights for women. Allowing Shariah to be a determining factor in U.S. courtrooms threatens those rights for all of us,” Geller said.