A controversy over the defeat of Florida legislation that would have restricted state courts from considering foreign laws as part of legal decisions has intensified. This is after a Tampa judge ruled that two opposing Muslim parties have their dispute settled under Islamic sharia law “pursuant to the Quran” in spite of the fact that one Muslim group did not want to do this…and the Florida Appellate Court denied the petition to appeal the judge’s ruling.
The proposed law, SB 1360, had been opposed jointly and lobbied against by both CAIR and the ADL. It drew the passionate attention of many in the Florida Jewish community, where opinions seem to be drawn on party lines. These groups erroneously argue that this ban will actually put other religious laws in jeopardy as well, especially Jewish religious law, called Halakhah.
Abraham Foxman, Director of the ADL, claims that passage of the law would have been “harmful to the religious freedom of all Floridians, including observant Jews.”
He and others are seriously mistaken. The defeated law and others proposed by several state legislators are meant to make it clear that disputes heard in religious alternative courts must not contradict or interfere with the administration, application, or exercise of state and federal constitutional law, and either party has the right to immediate redress in the civil secular court system for enforcement of those rights. These proposed legal guidelines do not prohibit the use of other religious laws — only sharia law.
In a recent Florida Jewish newspaper article, the publisher emeritus made an argument in defense of sharia courts in America based on the existence of other religious courts. He believes that sharia law is constitutionally compatible, just like Halakhah and Canon Law and is more economical, and that banning it is simply unconstitutional, discriminating against one religious group over others.
This position is substantiated by comparing sharia law to Jewish law, noting the similarity of the two. But this editor falls short in his argument by avoiding a comparison of the serious differences that exist in the laws of the Quran, which sharia legislates. Like others espousing this position, the editor presents an incomplete picture and uses it to belittle those who take an opposing viewpoint. It is most important to include the inequalities inherent in Islamic law in any discussion of this nature because they expose the unconstitutionality and incompatibility of sharia law within the American justice system.
American citizens must be allowed to question, without being called “Islamophobes” or “bigots,” the inherent threat of Islamic sharia ideology, disguised as only religious law, before it endangers our American society. The political correctness of this constitutional argument actually blinds one to the dangers of some Islamic laws…specifically those that pertain to women and children and the punishments rendered for breaking these laws. It is clearly the dissimilarities that distinguish other religious laws from the unconstitutionality of sharia laws.
Opponents to SB 1360 offered as proof of the wisdom of their position that religious laws are already being used in local civil courts in determining judgments regarding family matters, dietary requirements, and business disagreements…and they point out that nothing disastrous has happened. The guidelines applied to these decisions are in line with, and enforceable by, the American court system. But it is also necessary that both parties agree to participate in a religious court rather than a secular court and that they both agree that the decision of the arbitrator is binding.
On the face of this, as the editor pointed out, is there is nothing “sinister” about religious courts settling family, dietary, and financial disputes, especially with this practice already having gone on for years in arbitration courts. Some even wonder why anyone would question our Constitution’s and appellate courts’ ability to prevent the impact by Islamism in America.
The “sinister” fact is that Islamic ideology makes Muslim women and children powerless, intimidated by the obscene rules of a male-dominated society. Sharia law requires women to present practically impossible proof of their innocence, such as eyewitnesses to being raped. A woman who seeks justice for this crime, files for divorce, or desires child custody, or a child that strays into Western ways, has hardly any means to win in a sharia court.
In addition, the Islamic laws prescribe cruel and inhuman punishments that the American people would understand and agree to be inhumane and unconstitutional. These penalties usually pertain to sexual matters, stealing, alcohol consumption, and apostasy and include punishments that are retaliatory in nature.
Caning and flogging in public are done in cases where a female is found guilty of a minor sexual infraction, and stoning to death for a wife’s adultery is common in the Muslim world. Amputation of a hand or foot is considered an appropriate price for thievery, while beheading, crucifying, and hanging are the recommended penalties for murder or blasphemy. Children can also be harshly treated under sharia law by being forced to remain in the custody of an abusive father after there is a divorce.
Killing in the name of “family honor” is an accepted form of Islamic punishment for a woman’s unfaithfulness or a Muslim child straying too far from the Islamic way. To believe that Muslim women who seek justice in America are willingly agreeing to sharia courts is absolute blindness.
One has to wonder how anybody, whether liberal or conservative, religious or not, can support such treatment of more than half of the Muslim population (23% of the global population is Muslim) and condemn those of us fighting this unjust ideology entering our court system. It seems that all that is heard is how victimized Muslims are, especially after 9/11, and we know how well Americans can identify with the so-called underdog. (The facts show that religious persecution of Muslims is extremely small when compared to the global growth of anti-Semitism and the Islamic persecution of Coptic Christians.)
It is also important to add to the information the Muslim Brotherhood’s credo, which clearly presents the Quran as the supreme word of Allah, above all other laws: “Allah is our goal, the Quran is our constitution, the Prophet is our leader, jihad is our way and death for the sake of Allah is the highest aspiration.”
This mission statement was written back in the late 1920s by the fastest-growing political organization in the Muslim world today. It demands that the U.S. Constitution take a back seat to the Quran, which rejects America’s constitutional secularism and its legal penalties, while Halakhah and Canon law do not.
The evidence of extreme female and child subjugation in Islamic sharia law should be enough to justify strong American non-partisan support in favor of banning sharia courts without jeopardizing the other religious courts’ status. Those religious leaders fearing that Halakhah or Canon laws are threatened by banning sharia law need only to take a look at the inherent unconstitutionality of sharia laws before condemning the proposed legislation.