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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

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The American system of government based upon law, not clerical dictate, should provide predictable enforcement of the statutes passed by representative legislators. It is true that religious marital arrangements of many varieties are permissible in the United States, but if divorce issues land the parties in court, then state law, contract rules, and constitutional provisions should apply. Muslims who insist upon living according to a counter set of doctrinal codes should not expect the courts to respect an arrangement that ignores American civil requirements from the first elements of contract-creation and marriage-registration to divorce-notices and process-procedures.

Even leading sharia advocate and attorney Abed Awad admits that “many [Muslim husbands] intentionally marry without a marriage license purposefully to circumvent the applicability of New Jersey divorce and equitable-distribution laws.” However, he argues for greater accommodation of Muslim deviations from civil requirements rather than for more conformity to state family laws.

Currently there is a curb against judicial rubber-stamping of customs which are in conflict with American standards. Judges are expected to apply a test designed to guide them in excluding case components that would be “injurious to the interests of the public, contravene some established interest of society, violate some public statute, is against good morals, tends to interfere with the public welfare or safety, or is at war with the interests of society or is in conflict with the morals of the time.”

What is considered sound public policy, however, varies by state and some judges have rationalized around this test to accommodate — erroneously — Sharia traditions as religious custom.

Several states, most recently Kansas, have adopted initiatives based upon the model American Law for American Courts legislation. Like the One Law for All measures being debated in some European countries, this would reinforce important public policy declaratives by emphasizing the transcendence of constitutional mandates for due process and equal rights in all cases.

As political activist Muslim groups in America agitate for even more special considerations of Sharia practices, it is imperative that Americans define and defend foundational and inalienable natural rights. Any single initiative or statement will not address the political, sociological and legal scope of this challenge, but all are worthy of public debate and many should be practical parts of the solution that Americans must provide.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

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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.

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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.

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