The North Carolina state legislature just struck a blow against the creeping, faceless specter of Islamic Sharia law this past Sunday by passing a law preventing judges from considering it when deciding cases involving family law.
Because we apparently needed to do this? I’m still not sure why. For the record, neither was Republican Governor Pat McCrory who described the bill as “unnecessary”. He didn’t veto it, but didn’t sign it either. My guess is that while he didn’t think it made any sense, he wanted to keep his job as well as his standing within his own party and just let it go.
Supporters hailed the bill as an important safeguard that protects the American legal system from foreign laws that are incompatible with the U.S. Constitution, while critics argued that the bill’s only purpose is to whip-up anti Muslim hatred because the Constitution already overrides foreign laws.
First of all, I see no logical reason why our legal system need an additional law to protect it against something that would be deemed unconstitutional by our judicial system to begin with. Second, laws similar to this have been deemed unconstitutional themselves, as they have potential to do harm to one particular religious group. They also have the potential to interfere with issues such as marriage or the transference of property as part of a last will and testament.
Lawyers specializing in Islamic law said such legislation could make it harder for Muslim women married in Islamic countries under Shariah law to obtain alimony and child support payments because husbands will be able to argue they were never married. Judges will be prohibited from recognizing those Shariah marriage contracts.
Proponents of the ban point to cases like the one in New Jersey in 2009 (mentioned in the link above) … where a Muslim woman was denied a restraining order against her husband who had raped her. The judge explained his decision by saying that what the husband did was “consistent with his practices”, meaning with Sharia. It should, however, go without saying that since marital rape is illegal in all fifty states, it shouldn’t matter whether it’s consistent with anyone’s practices or allowed by someone’s religion; it’s still illegal and should be punished as such. The judge was wrong and his decision was overturned on appeal … but there was no reason to ever have considered that as a defense in the first place.
And lest we think that this is a real problem, consider the commentary from those behind the anti-Sharia movement themselves:
Yet, for all its fervor, the movement is arguably directed at a problem more imagined than real. Even its leaders concede that American Muslims are not coalescing en masse to advance Islamic law. Instead, they say, Muslims could eventually gain the kind of foothold seen in Europe, where multicultural policies have allowed for what critics contend is an overaccommodation of Islamic law.
… kind of like how (Judeo-)Christianity is treated today, with monuments of the Ten Commandments on the front lawns of public buildings, pictures of Jesus in public schools, members of the Texas Board of Education pushing for the biblical six day creation myth to be taught as an “alternate theory” in its science textbooks? That kind of overaccommodation?
The author of this entire fear campaign is a 56-year old Hasidic Jew by the name of David Yerushalmi. He himself has said that it’s not about passing laws, but simply about making people aware of the Sharia “menace”.
For Mr. Yerushalmi, the statutes themselves are a secondary concern. “If this thing passed in every state without any friction, it would have not served its purpose,” he said in one of several extensive interviews. “The purpose was heuristic — to get people asking this question, ‘What is Shariah?’ ”
Well, after reading that train wreck, I can feel free to say that it’s nothing more than a way to whip people into a frenzy about a problem that doesn’t exist against a group of people some no-name New York lawyer has a vested political interest in vilifying.
America! Fuck yeah!!