Two weeks ago we posted about the establishment of a new Muslim sharia tribunal in Texas. Since then I have found quite a few reactions to that development. The following are the most substantive:
See the interview of two members of the tribunal by Glen Beck above. Later in the linking article on the Blaze it is claimed that the tribunal imam actually lied in a response to one of Beck’s assertions.
An article in the Christian Post has a number of responses to the tribunal including this from Mayor Beth van Duyne of Irving, Texas where the new sharia Islamic center is housed:
"Let me be clear, neither the city of Irving, our elected officials or city staff have anything to do with the decision of the mosque that has been identified as starting a Shariah court." …
"Texas Supreme Court precedent does not allow the application of foreign law that violates public policy, statutory, or federal laws," continued van Duyne. "I am working with our State Representatives on legislation to clarify and strengthen existing prohibitions on the application of foreign law in violation of constitutional or statutory rights." …
"if it’s determined that there are violations of basic rights occurring, I will not stand idle and will fight with every fiber of my being against this action."
"Our nation cannot be so overly sensitive in defending other cultures that we stop protecting our own," added van Duyne. "The American Constitution and our guaranteed rights reigns supreme in our nation and may that ever be the case."
Also in the article was this quote from Frank Gaffney of the Center for Security Policy in Washington, D.C.:
"I think what we will see is a coercion of Muslims to participate in this program," said Gaffney in a CBN story posted last weekend. "[Shariah] is a brutally repressive — very hostile to women, hostile to homosexuals, hostile to Jews, hostile to Christians — kind of totalitarian system."
I did find one excellent article that was somewhat neutral if not positive by Eugene Volokh in the Washington Post. Volokh likened the tribunal to other ‘voluntary’ religious ‘courts’ maintained by the Catholic Church, Orthodox Jews, Amish, and other American religious groups. He did note that there would naturally be pressure among the faithful to recognize, use, and obey rulings from this type of religious judicial body.
I am sympathetic to Volokh’s outlook since everything he pointed out I had already thought about in relation to church and ‘elder’s courts’ that I had experienced in Christian denominations. In reality obedience to the Islamic Tribunal would be voluntary and the Constitutional rights of all Muslims in the USA and legal redress within the law would still be available to the participants.
However, I also noticed in the Volokh article that the tribunal ‘judges’ were careful to say that they were not ‘arbitrators.’ Legal arbitration is regulated by Texas state law which they obviously want to avoid. This is why it is fair to say that they are actually establishing a parallel legal system within the borders of the USA.
It may be ‘voluntary’ and legally ‘non-binding’ but within the Muslim community there will now be considerable pressure to ignore American law in favor of sharia rulings by this Islamic Tribunal. In the process Muslim women might be intimidated and even coerced to accept decisions that are not in their best interest nor legal in the USA. Tragically immigrant Muslim women who were not educated in this country may be unaware of their rights under American law and be forced to accept the rulings of a biased sharia tribunal instead of receiving equal treatment under American law. *Top