The news out of Texas is that they’re mad about Sharia coming to the USA, so they hang around protesting at mosques and statehouses, armed to the teeth. You know, because it’s Texas. Well, snowflakes, it’s already here. (Cue scary music.)
Yes, there are Islamic tribunals working in our country. Just as there are Catholic tribunals and Jewish rabbinical courts. OMG! Religion and state are supposed to be separate! Well, in this case, they are. Religious courts are all over, and they have been for years. They deal with cases from a religious perspective, not a civil law perspective. Some Catholic experts are worried that the anti-Sharia laws popping up all over could negatively affect the church’s tribunals.
Too many people don’t seem to have a grasp on either Sharia or our own Constitution. Shocking, right?
We’ve all heard of or read stories of barbaric practices that are supposedly mandated by Sharia, like chopping off hands and heads, female genital mutilation, throwing people off buildings, etc. Yes, these atrocious things do happen, but certainly not in all Muslim-dominant countries. Or even most. Some seem to be carried out mainly by ISIS and the Taliban. Either way, those things aren’t going allowed to happen here, under the guise of Muslim rights. And if they do happen, as in the case of fgm, the perpetrators will be prosecuted. Because that’s what we do people who commit violent acts against others.
So why the Sharia hysteria? Simple: prejudice, hatred and fear. Islamophobia is raising its ugly head.
Then why do we even need Islamic tribunals in the US? Well, first, we need to understand them, just like we need to understand Catholic tribunals and Jewish rabbinical courts. Start by reading this article, also cited above.
Since I’m Catholic, I’ll briefly give an example of what Catholic tribunals do.
If divorced practicing Catholics wants to remarry in the church, first they must get a church annulment. If they do not procure one, they cannot marry in the church. They can have a civil wedding, but the church will not consider them to be married, and they will not be able to receive the sacraments. They can still attend Mass, but they cannot partake of Eucharist.
If Catholics decide to go forth and start the annulment process, they must provide testimony (in writing) of the events leading up to the failed marriage, and afterwards. They also briefly tell about their family of origin. The tribunal will then decide whether or not the marriage was canonically valid, that is, did a sacrament take place. If it is deemed to not have been valid, an annulment will be granted and the people are free to marry in the church. I have been through this process. (My understanding is that divorce in the stricter branches of Judaism is somewhat similar.)
This is an example of how religious courts can function in a secular democratic society.
Before you believe the hype, educate yourself.