Tuesday, May 17, 2011

The Intrusion of Sharia into American Justice

Constitution Shahada

The Center for Security Policy has just released a massive study of the encroachment of sharia in American jurisprudence.

Controversies over several prominent applications of sharia in the USA have recently been featured in the news, but most Americans would expect that the total number of such cases is relatively small — just a few here and there.

However, this turns out not to be true: the stories that make the news are just the tip of the iceberg. Thanks to the dedicated work of David Yerushalmi and his associates, we now have a detailed listing of fifty such cases, and there are almost certainly many more.

According to Shariah in American Courts:

The Center for Security Policy’s report, Shariah Law and American State Courts: An Assessment of State Appellate Court Cases [pdf] evaluates 50 Appellate Court cases from 23 states that involve conflicts between Shariah (Islamic law) and American state law.

These cases are the stories of Muslim American families, mostly Muslim women and children, who were asking American courts to preserve their rights to equal protection and due process. These families came to America for freedom from the discriminatory and cruel laws of Shariah. When our courts then apply Shariah law in the lives of these families, and deny them equal protection, they are betraying the principles on which America was founded.

The study’s findings suggest that Shariah law has entered into state court decisions, in conflict with the Constitution and state public policy. Some commentators have said there are no more than one or two cases of Shariah law in U.S. state court cases; yet we found 50 significant cases just from the small sample of appellate published cases.

Others have asserted with certainty that state court judges will always reject any foreign law, including Shariah law, when it conflicts with the Constitution or state public policy; yet we found 15 Trial Court cases, and 12 Appellate Court cases, where Shariah was found to be applicable in these particular cases. The facts are the facts: some judges are making decisions deferring to Shariah law even when those decisions conflict with Constitutional protections.

Shariah Law and American State Courts: An Assessment of State Appellate Court Cases includes summaries of several cases in which the court’s application of Shariah law appears to be in direct conflict with Constitutional liberties and the public policies of the state.

A pdf version of the 630-page report may be downloaded here.

Below are excerpts from the introduction to the report:

With the publication of this study and subsequent studies now in preparation, our objective is to encourage an informed, serious and civil public debate and policymakers’ engagement with the issue of Shariah law in the United States of America. This public debate is more urgent than ever before, as organizations such as the Muslim Brotherhood and their salafist coalition partners state openly their intent to impose the Shariah State and Shariah law as dominant across all Muslim majority countries. Institutionalized, authoritative Shariah doctrine is comprehensive and by definition without limit in its ambitions and scope. It includes legally mandated, recommended, permitted, discouraged and prohibited practices that are explicitly biased against women, homosexuals, non-Muslims, former Muslims and those designated as blasphemers.

United States universities and colleges are increasingly offering courses and specializations In Shariah law, including business schools, law schools and general courses. The academic study of all kinds of comparative law including Shariah is worthwhile; but in many cases, these courses may not provide full information on the conflicts between Shariah and Western legal traditions and values.

In addition, there are organizations and individuals within the United States actively and openly advocating for the establishment of Shariah law in America, especially for personal status and family law. A prominent one is the Assembly of Muslim Jurists of America1 (AMJA) with more than 100 members including local Imams and Shariah authorities across America, as well as Shariah authorities from other countries. AMJA promotes the adherence to Shariah law when possible in all legal and civic activities by Muslim Americans, and in some cases, by non-Muslims.

Given these stated goals of AMJA and similar organizations, this study was conducted to discover the extent to which Shariah law had in fact entered U.S. state courts. News reports have identified individual cases of plaintiffs, defendants or judges citing Shariah or Islamic law. Many groups and individuals have raised concerns about state courts citing foreign and transnationalist laws and precedents, including Shariah law. The American Public Policy Alliance, a non-partisan organization that advocates for the Constitutionality of U.S. and state laws and public policies, has drafted the American Laws for American Courts Act (ALAC) to prevent enforcement of foreign legal decisions that violate Constitutional protections and liberties. That ALAC Act, which has passed in Tennessee, Louisiana and Arizona and to date has not been legally challenged on any grounds, was used as a methodological tool to define which Shariah- related cases in state courts were in conflict with the Constitution or state public policies.

This study is based on research and analysis conducted in 2010 and 2011 by the Center for Security Policy and the offices of the Center’s general counsel, attorney David Yerushalmi. Initial identification of potential cases was done by counsel, CSP staff and interns, and citizen volunteers from the non-profit organization ACT for America. Information regarding state cases reported upon here was retrieved through Google Scholar using search terms including “Islam,” “Islamic” “Muslim,” “Sharia” and “Shariah.” Additional search terms were countryspecific: “Iran,” “Pakistan,” “Egypt” and “Saudi Arabia,” all countries with Shariah-centric legal systems.

The sample we reviewed was only “the tip of the iceberg,” because Google Scholar is not a complete database of state cases involving Shariah. As a search tool it only allows retrieval of those reported appellate and trial court level cases that are available through open sources (See “Future Directions,” below). We found an initial sample of approximately 150 cases involving Shariah doctrine, which were narrowed to a set of 50 cases designated Relevant or Highly Relevant.

As you can see from the above description, there are at least a hundred more cases than were covered in detail by the CSP report.

Sharia is not just a threat — it is already here. It’s on its way to becoming the law of the land.


bewick said...

I am not a lawyer but I am qualified to honours level in one of the two most difficult areas of English Law. The one needed for my then profession. That training has served me well in rather wider fields.
My hero is Lord Justice Denning. He was the creme de la creme of legal minds. ( a poor lad from a Welsh valley ) Sadly dead.
It is inconceivable that he would ever have allowed foreign law, including Sharia, to intrude in the British Legal System. That is the REAL legal system.

The pdf file was somewhat weighty (630 pages) so I only skimmed to get an impression.
Britain may well have allowed Sharia Courts into the arbitration system but I have no evidence that the English Legal system has, apparently unlike America, allowed first judgments to consider foreign law - yet.
As with ALL voluntary arbitration (and there are many such systems in many fields and rather beyond sharia)cases in the UK then higher courts will only consider whether the arbitration system has been incorrecly legally applied. That is that, say, a Sharia judgment has departed from the rules of Sharia. So if the parties agreed to Sharia arbitration then they voluntarily accepted for example that sons would get twice as much as the daughters when someone died. That decision became legally binding at the point of acceptance of arbitration. The parties COULD have chosen English Law instead but did not. Their only way to challenge that in UK Courts would be if there were a "procedural errors".
The UK is often (perhaps rightly) ridiculed for allowing Sharia Arbitration (Courts) but it seems to me that the US is going much further and accepting Sharia Law in regular Courts on first action.
Who's the idiot then?

Zenster said...

A first measure should be to draw up a blacklist of all judges who comply with shari'a law in adjudicating their cases. They must be made to face individual charges of violating Constitutional rights or introducing foreign law.

Wherever possible pro bono services should be made available to overturn any judgements made by these judicial malefactors. This should be in preparation for their removal from the bench.

If any of these individuals are in elected positions, an intensive public information campaign should be initiated in order to evict from the bench all judges who apply shari'a law.

All individuals and organizations that advocate for introduction of shari'a law in America should be thoroughly investigated on suspicion of sedition. Whenever possible, any naturalization or visas should be revoked with the intent to deport all such persons.

Finally, the American Laws for American Courts Act (ALAC) needs to be passed in all states at the soonest possible moment. It is both astonishing and an indication of total legal malfeasance that any judge should not instantly recognize how shari'a law clearly violates the American Constitution's most basic tenets. Any attempt at application of shari'a in an American court of law should be legally actionable.

bewick said...

Zenster. Apparently another difference between US and UK legal systems. In the UK Judges are NOT elected - ever. Most get to be judges on merit although I have little doubt that the "old boy/girl" network may favour some. May explain why a few of our judges are so poor.

Sadly the UK Government is floating the idea of elected Police Commissioners. Yet another ill considered borrowed idea from the US.
Elected Mayors was an earlier one - we have few of those since in most cases the electorate rejected it. Unfortunately in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets it was approved. A Muslim is now the elected Mayor of Tower Hamlets. Some commentators have suggested that the Mayor is an Islamist and may have been elected fraudulently via fake voters. I can't say that but can only report what I read - for fear of a libel suit. Interesting that no such suit has been taken against the journalist who reported this in a national newspaper. Muslims are so forgiving.
You mentioned Pro Bono. The problem with that is that it needs someone with both skill and conviction to give their time, perhaps masses of time, and skill for free. A failure could wreck that person's career.
I have a few times acted Pro Bono. In a couple of cases I succeeded but then I was retired so had nothing to lose except my dignity and masses of time - and stress.
In the US situation I would hope that someone committed to the US constitution, law, and values WOULD offer Pro Bono services. It has happened before but the establishment will fight. I wish you luck.

Zenster said...

bewick: Apparently another difference between US and UK legal systems. In the UK Judges are NOT elected - ever.

Many American judges are not elected either and, instead, placed on the bench by appointment. In such cases, those who do the appointing should see their own political careers tarred with the label of Islamist sympathizer.

Most get to be judges on merit although I have little doubt that the "old boy/girl" network may favour some.

Rest assured that the same rubbish goes on here as well. "Good old boy" political cronyism is killing America in the form of career politicians and sweeping a majority of incumbents from office is one of the few measures that could save this nation.

May explain why a few of our judges are so poor.

From what limited knowledge I have of the English legal system, it seems as though cronyism is even more rife across the pond. This sort of inbred selection process is every bit as damaging as it is in consanguineous marriages.

As I noted earlier, the specter of Islam is looming ever larger as a genuine threat to Western civilization. Those who facilitate it in any way must be indelibly tagged as Muslim sympathizers with all of the connotations that the term "Quisling" bore during World War II.