Rumors of the Sharia Threat are Greatly Exaggerated: What American Judges Really Do with Islamic Family Law in Their Courtrooms
15 Pages Posted: 16 Mar 2014
Date Written: 2013
The campaign to ban Sharia in the United States appears to be directed at two different alleged threats: (1) that Sharia will take over American law, and (2) that judicial accommodation of Muslim religious practices is eroding our secular rule of law. The first is a non-issue: there is no real chance that Sharia will replace American law or our Constitution. But the second is worth talking about. It asks a question crucial to the nature of our secular constitutional democracy: Can we legally accommodate a diversity of religious legal practices among our citizens and, if so, with what limits?4 I will address one aspect of this question by summarizing in Part II how Islamic family laws is currently accommodated in American courtrooms today and discussing in Part III why this does not threaten women's rights or our American rule of law. In Part IV, I consider the global and domestic implications of Muslim American tribunals serving the dispute resolution needs of American Muslims.
Keywords: Islamic Law, Religious Law and Legislation, Sex Discrimination Against Women, Family Courts
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