North Texas is now home to the first official Islamic Tribunal in the U.S. Comprised of four judges, the Islamic Tribunal follows Sharia Law, a Muslim religious moral code that settles disputes in many countries in the Middle East. Located at a mosque in Irving, Texas, such an establishment may come as a shock to many Americans who, as U.S. citizens, first and foremost live and abide by the nation’s state and federal laws. “Maybe in their mind, the misconception about what they see through the media is that Sharia means cut the head, chop the heads, cut the hands, and we are not in that,” said Imam Moujahed Bakhach, one of the tribunal judges.
Operating under its own constitution, the Islamic Tribunal is offering up its services to Muslim members of the Irving community with divorce and business disputes among other cases, reports CBS Dallas/Fort Worth. Tribunal judge Dr. Taher El-badawi says that the tribunal will not handle cases involving criminal law, child support, custody battles, or transfers of assets. But divorce often involves child support, custody battles, and transfers of assets. Will the line between their religious moral code and U.S. family law remain clear? The judges say they will only act as mediators and will ultimately respect state and federal law. But what happens when U.S. law conflicts with their religious beliefs? Is allowing Islamic tribunals to operate in this country essentially opening the door for Islamic law to undermine or even replace U.S. law? These are serious questions to consider. More