- WBDaily - http://www.wbdaily.com -

Shariah Law comes to Dallas in non-binding Islamic Tribunal

by Lynn Woolley

http://www.wbdaily.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/02/LM-2-25-15.mp3 [1]

Fans of diversity everywhere take note.

An Islamic tribunal was launched in Dallas last year and now is fully functional. Organizers say it’s a harmless little panel that rules on matters like business disputes and divorces. Dallas businessman Hadi Jawad notes that the very word “Shariah” invokes a backlash from those who don’t understand it and is now

“…a catch phrase for fear mongering against Islam and Muslims.”

But Tea Party activist Jerry Roehrig wants the tribunal to go away.

He’s concerned about corporal punishment – things like hand amputations for theft. He also worries about Shariah supplanting the Constitution. But Taher el-Badawi, one of the judges on the panel, says the community really needs an Islamic tribunal. And now, Texas indeed has one. Already a bill has been filed in Austin that would prevent such tribunals in the state.

The Islamization of Texas could be slowed if State Representative Jeff Leach R-Plano has his way.

He’s filed a bill that would prohibit family court rulings based on foreign law. Leach’s bill doesn’t target Islam directly – but essentially, that’s the religion it would affect. Seven other states already have similar laws.

The Dallas Morning News’ nonjudgmental coverage.

Tuesday editions carried a long story by Dianne Solis [2] – written journalistically neutral. The story carries a sidebar entitled “At a glance – Shariah Law” that quotes Robert Hunt [3], a theology professor at Southern Methodist University who debunks myths about Shariah law.

Robert A. Hunt - Director of Global Theological Education Professor of Christian Mission and Interreligious Relations Director, Center for Evangelism and Missional Church Studies (Photo:  SMU's Perkins School of Theology) [4]

Robert A. Hunt – Director of Global Theological Education
Professor of Christian Mission and Interreligious Relations
Director, Center for Evangelism and Missional Church Studies (Photo: SMU’s Perkins School of Theology)

Hunt cites two major myths:

Myth 1: Shariah is a monolithic body of laws that doesn’t change. Hunt claims that Muslim scholars are arguing for new interpretations. That’s good, when you think about the hand amputations.

Myth 2: Shariah is a complete set of laws for a society. Instead, Hunt claims Shariah is complemented by laws set up by rulers and those derived by customary law. I’m glad he straightened that out. (He might excuse me if I still cling to the belief that it is a complete set of laws for a society. I’m stubborn like that!)

Meanwhile, Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne is not supportive [5] after learning that an Irving mosque may be involved.

So who’s on the tribunal?

Well, there’s el-Badawi who said:

“Our community really needs an Islamic tribunal to solve problems. And we save money and save time for our community.”

I suppose “our community” means “Islam” and to hell with assimilation. But I digress. El-Badawi has a law degree from his native Egypt and a master’s in International Law from SMU. Nice.

Also on the panel – Imam Moujahed Bakhach, Lebanon born and part of the Islamic Council of Tarrant County. And another Imam born in Pakistan and raised in Britain named Zia ul-Haque Sheikh – from the Islamic Center of Irving.

The Dallas-Fort Worth area seems to have a lot of Islamic centers.

Taher el-Badawi (Photo:  Dallas Morning News) [6]

Taher el-Badawi (Photo: Dallas Morning News)

“Experienced judges ready to fight for you! Great advisors solve problems!”

Those are a couple of promotional headlines from the website. Check it out at:
Islamictribunal.org [7]. Consultations are free but a full hearing will set you back $600.

Is it legal?

WBDaily isn’t sure whether it’s copasetic for people to set up such tribunals – or if anything that might go on there is in violation of Texas or federal laws. So it would be interesting to know more. For example are women prevented from sitting on the tribunal? El-Badawi says no – so long as she is trained in Islamic law. It’s all about Islamic law.

And it’s right here in Texas just like a lot of liberals told us it never would be.