Sharia a campaign issue?
POSTED: Thursday, April 26, 2012 - 9:29pm
UPDATED: Tuesday, May 15, 2012 - 10:37am
There’s been a lot of talk nationally about the use of other legal systems in US courtrooms.
The most worrisome for some is what they perceive as the increasing use of Sharia or Islamic law in this country.
But is it really being used, and why has this issue even intruded into our Smith County Sheriff’s race?
So, what is it exactly? And what are the odds you will ever have to worry about it being a factor in the Smith County Courthouse?
Well, the answer to the first question is, it is religious law in the faith of Islam. In fact, it’sw redundant. Sharia means law.
The answer to the second question is, the odds are slim and none.
And one candidate for Sheriff, Larry Smith, says he won’t enforce it if asked to.
The other candidates, Bobby Garmon, chris Green and Donn Rust, find it a non-issue.international law. Why would that have anything to do with the job of Sheriff?”
Marc Stern is an attorney with the American Jewish Committee.
“But there’s no legal possibility of this happening," He says. "No political probability of this happening. There doesn’t even seem to be any substantial feelings within the Islamic community in the United States to have that happen. So, no. the short answer is no, there’s no basis for it. If an Orthodox Jewish couple or a Catholic couple or a Muslim couple go into a civil court to get a divorces, which they have to do, the court is not going to say, well, you’re Jewish or Catholic or Muslim, and therefore going to apply that body of law. The courts uniformely, without exception apply secular, domestic law. The courts won’t enforce religious law on unwilling people. The establishment clause of the constitution makes that illegal in possibility. And there are no cases to the contrary.”
Now, there was one case, by one judge in New Jersey 2 years ago, that used Sharia as the basis for a decision. He was overruled and there have been no others.
Any contract entered into by members of any religious faith, can specify any terms they mutually agree to.
They can agree to abide by Sharia, Talmudic, Catholic, or Protestant principles.
In the event of a legal dispute, the only thing the court will decide, is did they abide by the agreement, not whether any of those principles make sense.
Courts have made those sorts of decisions for years, though.
Here’s where the confusion comes in. There are cities like Dearborn, Michigan, with a large Muslim population. And some city ordinances reflect their faith, like the public broadcast of the call to prayer.
But that isn't using Sharia in court, only in local ordinances.
And, there are other cities who’s local laws reflect the faith of their population. Blue laws or the ban on liquor sales in Tyler have religious origins.
Salt Lake City has local laws that reflect it’s Mormon majority. You may have trouble finding a Starbucks, but if you go to court, it’s the same law as in New York, Chicago, or Houston...or Tyler.
And that isn’t going to change.