Sunday, May 01, 2011

Sharia Law v. Civil Law, Civil Law Must Prevail

My views on religion as a governing idea or power in the state (note, not faith as guiding principles of morality, but religious laws based on dogma), are clearly: no religious laws.  As this is occurring in my state, I want to make clear that, whatever people decide to do in their private lives is their own, but when it comes to matter of the law, it is the state law, not religious law that must prevail.

The U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri, Richard Callahan, assured Muslims on April 29th that “the Obama Administration would likely step in on behalf of Sharia law should any state try to ban it.”

Much depends on what a state law actually does. If parties to a judicial proceeding agreed freely and contractually to be bound by arbitration, the court concludes that they did so and that the arbitration procedures do not contravene requirements under state law, then it’s probably acceptable for the parties to be governed by their arbitration agreement. However, significant problems can arise when a judge has to analyze the suitability or findings of an arbitration proceeding — or for that matter anything else — under Sharia Law. With no background or training in Sharia Law, he would have to rely quite heavily on the expert testimony of “Islamic scholars.” In the event of disagreement between two experts, how could he decide which if either might be right? Both might be right or both might be wrong.

He goes on to use an example of child custody which, under many interpretations of Sharia law, leaves custody to the husband or some other male relative.  However, state law makes that decision based on what the judge determines is in the interest of the child's safety and well being, not on religious doctrine.

One other thing that is mentioned is that some aspects of Sharia law are interpreted differently among the many sects and schools of jurisprudence.  Not to mention that there are many who choose to give Sharia law a more modern interpretation re: rights, marriage, etc.  What he does not say directly is that there are simply too many "interpretations" for it to become good law governing a wide variety and swath of people.  On that ground alone it should be rejected.

Islam as a faith is each individual's choice.  Islam as the law, separate or part of any laws of a civil state, cannot exist because it expressly sets a different standard and does not, under many circumstances consider people to be equal before the law nor insure the protection of the parties.  Therefore, Sharia as any form of law besides private guidance cannot be accepted.  Unless we are willing to accept Catholicism as the law when deciding cases for Catholics, etc, etc, etc.

Read the rest here

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