web analytics
May 27, 2015 / 9 Sivan, 5775
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

The GOP’s Anti-Sharia Plank

The GOP's "no foreign law" platform provision also objects to Sharia law or any other foreign legal code that threatens to creep into judicial decisions disguised as validated ethnic customs.
Tampa Bay Times Forum during the 2012 Republican National Convention, Aug. 31, 2012.

Tampa Bay Times Forum during the 2012 Republican National Convention, Aug. 31, 2012.
Photo Credit: Robert Neff

Republican convention delegates voted last week to adopt a platform plank, cautioning against the use of foreign law in U.S. courts. While jurists such as Supreme Court Justice Scalia have said that “foreign legal materials can never be relevant to an interpretation of the meaning of the U.S. Constitution,” and Justice Thomas has written that the Court should not “impose foreign moods, fads, or fashions on Americans,” other jurists have searched foreign legal sources to locate “evolving standards of decency that mark the progress of a maturing society.”

This GOP platform provision, however, represents something beyond concern over the practice of buttressing sketchy legal reasoning with extra-American sources; the GOP statement also objects to Sharia law or any other foreign legal code that threatens to creep into judicial decisions disguised as validated ethnic customs. As suggested, this admonition would apply when claims in a legal dispute are based upon cultural codes with deficient individual and civil right protections compared to American constitutional standards.

The publicized New Jersey spousal abuse case first raised widespread alarm when a trial court judge refused to issue a restraining order against a husband despite the established record of domestic violence and assault (reversed on appeal). The judge ruled that the husband did not demonstrate sufficient legal criminal intent in light of an imam’s testimony that wives are required to comply with husbands’ sexual demands. The man’s wife, known in the opinion as S.D., was 17 on the day of her wedding and did not know the bridegroom before the marriage ceremony in Morocco.

Another case that presented the Sharia terms of a foreign marriage in an American court is that of Joohi Hosain. When Joohi left her marriage (under strict Sharia rules, wives are not generally allowed to sue for divorce), her husband in Pakistan sued for custody of their daughter, Joohi fled to America on a student visa with her daughter, and eventually presented her custody case in U.S. courts after her by-then-ex-husband pursued her to Maryland. Although Joohi explained that making an appearance in a Pakistani court would likely result in accusations of adultery and the possible punishment of whipping or stoning, the Maryland appellate court determined that even so, the mother had the notice and opportunity to be heard and was thus afforded proper due process. The Maryland Court of Special Appeals then deferred to the Pakistani ruling that it was in the best interest of the child for the father to have primary custody.

About half of the cases involving Sharia family customs which have been presented for adjudication by American judges involve marriages solemnized in other countries, but many Islamic domestic marriages are also based on Sharia norms. These domestic unions present unique challenges: they often begin with disregard for the state law regarding the registration of officiants and the licensing of marriages. Even worse is the disregard for due process and informed contract formation when marriages and property distributions are arranged without the bride’s participation.

After a review of both foreign and domestic Islamic marriages, I recently presented a survey to the Federalist Society that considered both published and unpublished family court cases that adjudicated Sharia terms. To date, about 25 U.S. family law cases reflect the U.S. approval of the Sharia-based marital terms in the family court or the court of appeal.

Consider the plight of two Muslim American women. First, Hamideh Saba Saadatnejadi, an American of Iranian descent, married in Tennessee after her father negotiated the Sharia version of a dowry. However, the imam was not registered with the state, and the required marriage license was not filed. The union did not last long, and her husband tried to extort Hamideh’s interest in the Sharia prenuptial (part of which was agreed to by the husband to deter him from marrying up to three additional wives if he returned to Iran) by threatening not to file the marriage license unless she relinquished claim on her dowry. The family court ruled the marriage void as required procedures were not followed, but the appellate court reversed the decision and recognized the marriage based upon substantial compliance with Tennessee law.

Courts went the other way in New Jersey when Faranak Yaghoubinejad married her husband according to Sharia formalities but without complying with licensing laws. Again, when Faranak filed for divorce, her husband conveniently claimed that the marriage was not legal. The trial court this time upheld the marriage based upon the union having some elements of a marriage, but the appellate court reversed the decision, saying the “ceremonial marriage of purported spouses was absolutely void.”

About the Author:


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

6 Responses to “The GOP’s Anti-Sharia Plank”

  1. Charlie Hall says:

    Ban sharia law, and you ban halachah. We must oppose this!

  2. Edward Lobel says:

    Charlie, they are not smart enough to understand this.

  3. Anonymous says:

    I'm outraged that you would be against banning sharia law, and also that you would see any equivalence between sharia and halachah. Don't tell me that there is any remote connection between the two. Don't Jews live within the constraints of United States law? Of course they do. Sharia, on the other hand, violates American law, and the laws of most Western countries. Its morality – or lack of it – is incompatible with the laws of a democracy. Everything Americans for centuries have fought for would be overturned overnight in a Sharia state. You cannot defend sharia; it is barbaric. Look at what has happened to Western societies that have tried to accommodate it. All their social institutions begin to crumble. They lose their identities. They live in fear of retaliation and violence.

    Every other immigrant group has been expected to conform to American law, and Muslims can be no exception. I applaud the GOP for articulating this clearly, and drawing a line against the erosion of our legal, ethical and social standards. Sharia has no place here. Any case that has been decided based on Sharia within the U.S. must be appealed to the Supreme Court – and quickly.

  4. Anonymous says:

    Moreover, both of you are basing your opinion on your perceived self-interest, placing that above common decency and common sense. And that is decidedly un-Jewish!

  5. Edward Lobel says:

    me – do you practice being stupid or were you born that way.
    It is obvious that you never learned how to read and if you cannot read, you caanot understand what is said.

    Perhaps you need someone who understands English to translate for you. Go ahead and find someone.

    I will make it simple for you:

    NO ONE IN EITHER LETTER SUPPORTS SHARIA LAW!
    IN THIS COUNTRY IF YOU PRACTICE SHARIA LAW YOU WILL BE PUT IN JAIL OR IF YOU QUALIFY THROWN OUT OF THE UNITED STATES.

    NEITHER ONE OF THESE COMMENTS EVEN IN THE SLIGHTEST SAYS IT IS OK. IF YOU THINK SO YOU ARE REALLY NOT A VERY SMART PERSON.

  6. Charlie Hall says:

    "Don't Jews live within the constraints of United States law? Of course they do."

    Halachah provides very different rules for business transactions, for marital property, and for inheritance. Do you think that a decision of a beit din that has distributed an estate according to halachah needs to be appealed to the Supreme Court?

    If this ban on "foreign law" were to be enacted and enforced, it may become impossible for Jews to get divorced in the US.

Comments are closed.

Current Top Story
A Hamas execution.
Amnesty Accuses Hamas of Torturing and Killing Arabs Who Helped Israel
Latest Indepth Stories
Ayelet Shaked

Netanyahu so disdains Shaked’s appointment he completely ignored her after the swearing-in ceremony

Tel Aviv University Insignia

Ronen Shamir’s just the latest tenured Leftist convicted of sexual misconduct with his own student

The New York Times

NY Times precious front page ink is only reserved for portrayals of Israel as the aggressor.

Mendlowitz-052215-Ruchie

Although I loved law school, I doubted myself: Who would come to me, a chassidish woman lawyer?

American Jews who go gaga for Obama are first and foremost “Liberals of the Mosaic Persuasion”

“Illinois is the first state to take concrete, legally binding action against the BDS campaign”

Many books have supported the preferability- not to be confused with desirability- of the status quo

Consider the Pope’s desperation, reading daily reports of the slaughter of Christians by Muslims

The contrast between a Dem pretending to love Israel & a Dem who truly loves Israel is CRYSTAL CLEAR

Pentecost, derived from the Greek word for 50, is celebrated 50 days after Easter.

U.S and European demands for the creation of a Palestinian State in the West Bank is world hypocrisy.

We take a whole person approach, giving our people assistance with whatever they need.

During my spiritual journey I discovered G-d spoke to man only once, to the Jewish people at Sinai

20 years after the great Ethiopian aliyah, we must treat them like everyone else; no better or worse

Connecting Bamidbar&Shavuot is simple-A world without Torah is midbar; with Torah a blessed paradise

Many Black protesters compared Baltimore’s unrest to the Palestinian penchant of terrorism & rioting

More Articles from Karen Lugo
M. Zuhdi Jasser, M.D.

The Iranian Green Revolution had brave Neda Agha-Soltan, and the Pakistanis have the stubbornly courageous Malala Yousufzai. At fourteen, when the Taliban tried to assassinate Malala for promoting education for girls, she had been defying the Taliban for years. Whether these girls are catalysts for sustained revolutions may well depend on how many in the West […]

Tampa Bay Times Forum during the 2012 Republican National Convention, Aug. 31, 2012.

The GOP’s “no foreign law” platform provision represents something beyond concern over the practice of buttressing sketchy legal reasoning with extra-American sources; the GOP statement also objects to Sharia law or any other foreign legal code that threatens to creep into judicial decisions disguised as validated ethnic customs.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/the-gops-anti-sharia-plank/2012/09/11/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: