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Sharia Courts: Can Useful Idiots Really Interpret the Qur’an?

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Posted on March 28 2011 11:00 am
Lisa Graas has covered politics and religion at her blog LisaGraas.com since 2008. She has served as a crisis pregnancy counselor, youth speaker, mental health advocate and legislative consultant.

Useful idiots came in handy for Lenin, and they are coming in handy today for those who seek to bring Sharia (Islamic) Law into America’s courtrooms. Florida Judge Richard Nielsen has ruled that he will settle a dispute according to “Ecclesiastical Islamic Law” and Adam Serwer at The American Prospect is bending over backwards to defend the ruling. Secular judges making rulings based on Sharia? That’s not justice. It’s justice denied.

Serwer’s Islamapologetics piece for Judge Nielsen’s submission to the Qur’an goes wildly off the mark primarily in his claim that the judge is acting within some kind of valid authority.

The judge, however, isn’t invoking Islamic law because he simply felt like it; he’s doing so because this is essentially a contract dispute in which the agreement was drawn up according to Sharia….

What comes after the word ‘because’ doesn’t really matter because judges have no authority to deny the rights and freedoms of American law to litigants in any case, regardless of the issue. Since the judge does not have the authority to deny those freedoms, the ruling, in and of itself, is based on some subjective determination not in accordance with American law. In fact, it may very well be that he made this ruling “because he simply felt like it.”

The American justice system is the best system in the world, bar none. Granted, we do have rogue judges (like Judge Nielsen?) who would like nothing better than to get out from under the Constitution and usurp the authority of the Legislative Branch to inject their subjective feelings about this or that agenda from the bench. In this case, what we have in Judge Nielsen’s decision is arguably far worse. In this case, Judge Nielsen will make his ruling based on subjective feelings about the Qur’an.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Richard Nielsen has agreed to see if leaders of the Islamic Education Center of Tampa correctly followed the teachings of the Koran in their decision.

It’s utterly absurd for Serwer to claim that Judge Nielsen has some kind of authority to rule in an American court based on a subjective interpretation of the Qur’an. If you think theocracy is bad, how about a theocracy where judges make decisions based on religious texts that they’ve not even studied at length or otherwise been instructed in.

In this case, those who love the freedoms of our American system will come down on the side of the mosque as opposed to the judge.

‘The mosque believes wholeheartedly in the Koran and its teachings,’ [Attorney Paul Thanasides] told the newspaper Monday. ‘They certainly follow Islamic law in connection with their spiritual endeavors. But with respect to secular endeavors, they believe Florida law should apply in Florida courts.’

I’m certainly a critic of Islam, but any Muslim, and particularly any mosque, willing to stand for the principle that the American system of justice should take precedence over Sharia in America, has my support.

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Follow Lisa Graas on Twitter and visit her blog at LisaGraas.com

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