From many commentators on the right, Sharia law has been characterized as a mortal threat to the American way of life. Indeed our neighbors in Oklahoma are among 8 states that have passed laws banning the application or implementation of Muslim law in courts of any jurisdiction.
Many commentators on this left see fear of sharia law as hysteria, whipping up a controversy where there is none.
But the blogosphere is alight once again over a report that an Islamic tribunal is operating in Texas. In fact, its been operating for some time in Dallas, without much attention or controversy, until now.
Texas Standard’s David Brown speaks with one of its judges, Dr. Taher El-badawi.
Why the Tribunals?
“Unfortunately… a lot of people have, I’m sorry to say, a bad idea about Islam and about Muslims. But Islamic Tribunal… established in Dallas to solve a lot of problems in Muslim community. We try as much as we can to make the Muslim community part, or involved for the whole Dallas Community in general…We just work in this part of our life which is the relationship between husband and wife. The only that we do in Islamic Tribunal is we do the Sharia law in divorce.”
Why would going to a state court to deal with divorce not be sufficient?
“The Islamic Tribunal just fix the Sharia part, or the Islamic way, or the religion way from divorce. But we leave everything for the courts. We are here in Texas law, and we live under this law, and we respect it, and we follow it.”
On the comparison to an annulment in the Catholic Church:
“Every religion has some procedure to solve this problem. So Islamic Tribunal don’t do anything for child support or visitation, or for this issues…. I’m sorry I have another call with somebody – I don’t like to mention names – unfortunately he change my words. I’m sorry to say it. I didn’t say that, I didn’t say that we solve everything, and we follow the Sharia law and ignore Texas law. I didn’t say that at all. Seriously. What I said is, we solve the divorce from our side, which is the religious side. That’s all.”
This story was prepared with assistance by Brenda Lau.