Conservative movements are spreading in Spain

23 June 2012

In a survey conducted by the Ministry of Interior in 2010, 40% of Muslims rejected the ban on the niqab or the burqa in public spaces. The survey also revealed that the number of Muslims that are “very observant” has continued to grow in the last five years and only 40% of respondents were against “the existence of Islamic courts in non-Muslim countries.”The Spanish Institute for Strategic Studies (IEEE) has recently released an analysis[1] of these movements in Spain. “They seek the establishment of a universal caliphate, the placement on a purely religious activity and an ultraconservative morality; and these circumstances make the integration of the faithful into our society more than difficult,” said Oscar Perez Ventura, an analyst of Jihadist terrorism and radical Islamic movements and co-author of the IEE document.

Kansas governor signs law barring use of Islamic or other foreign codes for legal decisions

TOPEKA, Kan. — Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a law aimed at keeping the state’s courts or government agencies from basing decisions on Islamic or other foreign legal codes, and a national Muslim group’s spokesman said Friday that a court challenge is likely.

The new law, taking effect July 1, doesn’t specifically mention Shariah law, which broadly refers to codes within the Islamic legal system. Instead, it says courts, administrative agencies or state tribunals can’t base rulings on any foreign law or legal system that would not grant the parties the same rights guaranteed by state and U.S. constitutions.

“This bill should provide protection for Kansas citizens from the application of foreign laws,” said Stephen Gele, spokesman for the American Public Policy Alliance, a Michigan group promoting model legislation similar to the new Kansas law. “The bill does not read, in any way, to be discriminatory against any religion.”

But supporters have worried specifically about Shariah law being applied in Kansas court cases, and the alliance says on its website that it wants to protect Americans’ freedoms from “infiltration” by foreign laws and legal doctrines, “especially Islamic Shariah Law.”

Legislature approves bill to bar use of Islamic law, other foreign codes, in Kansas courts

TOPEKA, Kan. — A bill designed to prevent Kansas courts or government agencies from making decisions based on Islamic or other foreign legal codes has cleared the state Legislature after a contentious debate about whether the measure upholds American values or appeals to prejudice against Muslims.

The Senate approved the bill Friday on a 33-3 vote. The House had approved it, 120-0, earlier in the week. The measure goes next to Republican Gov. Sam Brownback, who hasn’t said whether he’ll sign or veto the measure.

The measure doesn’t specifically mention Shariah law, which broadly refers to codes within the Islamic legal system. Instead, it says that courts, administrative agencies or state tribunals can’t base rulings on any foreign law or legal system that would not grant the parties the same rights guaranteed by state and U.S. constitutions.

But several supporters specifically cited the potential use of Shariah law in Kansas as their concern. Though there are no known cases in which a Kansas judge has based a ruling on Islamic law, supporters of the bill cited a pending case in Sedgwick County in which a man seeking to divorce his wife has asked for property to be divided under a marriage contract in line with Shariah law.

American Muslims Against Shariah Law in US Courts, Study Finds

North American Muslims are more than satisfied with the secular legal system and do not want a set of parallel courts for Islamic law, according to a new study of U.S. and Canadian Muslims by a Washington-based think tank.

The study, by University of Windsor law professor Judy Macfarlane for the Institute for Social Policy and Understanding, would seem to refute critics’ claims that American Muslims want to impose Shariah, or Islamic law.

In fact, the study indicates that Muslims are just as unwilling to accept Islamic law as non-Muslims.

Executive Summary:

This is the first empirical study to ask North American Muslims what shari’a means to
them in their everyday lives. The study demonstrates that the present “moral panic” over
shari’a and its alleged impact on American legal and social culture is wildly overblown. For
most American Muslims shari’a represents a private system of morality and identity, primarily
focused on marriage and divorce rituals. None of the American Muslims interviewed for this
study expected American courts to enforce shari’a. Just like other Americans, they will access
the courts for adjudication according to American family law if they cannot make a private agreement (relating to divorce) that meets their needs and values.

Virginia anti-Sharia law unconstitutional

The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) says a new law that has been proposed in the State of Virginia is anti-Muslim and unconstitutional.

Titled Morris’ HB631, the new bill was introduced by Virginia General Assembly Delegate Rick L. Morris (R-House District 64) on January 11.

“Unfortunately, a state delegate in Virginia, has introduced a piece of legislation that is copied from an extreme anti-Muslim (and) racist who has made a template for such laws nationwide and they have been introduced in more than 20 states and now Virginia and Pennsylvania being the latest,” CAIR’s National Communications Director, Ibrahim Hooper, has told Press TV’s U.S. Desk.

The anti-Sharia proposed law would ban courts from applying religious traditions to proceedings, such as the execution of a will among Muslims. Not only the religious Muslim code, the new bill would also prohibit the application of the Catholic equivalent, canon law, and other religious guidelines.

The suddenly controversial bill is scheduled to be heard by a Virginia legislature House subcommittee next Monday.

In U.S. courts, judges can refer to Sharia law in Muslim litigation involving cases about divorce and custody proceedings or in commercial litigation.

US Supreme Court: Church-state separation extends to religious schools

The Supreme Court extended the principle of church-state separation to shield religious schools nationwide from discrimination suits from teachers and school employees who serve as “ministers” of the faith.

In a unanimous ruling, the high court for the first time concluded the Constitution includes a “ministerial exception” that protects churches and their schools from undue interference from the government and its courts. A concurring opinion by Justices Samuel A. Alito Jr. and Elena Kagan said they understood the “ministerial exception” to extend equally to “Catholics, Jews, Muslims, Hindus or Buddhists” even if those religions do not use the term “minister.” The exception “should apply to any ‘employee’ who leads a religious organization, conducts worship services or important religious ceremonies or rituals, or serves as a messenger or teacher of its faith,” Alito wrote.

However, lower courts have long recognized that churches are protected from lawsuits involving their internal workings.

Notre Dame Law Professor Rick Garnett called the ruling “one of the court’s most important church-state decisions in decades.” It “protects religious liberty by forbidding governments from second-guessing religious communities’ decisions about who should be their teachers, leaders and ministers,” he said.

The 1st Amendment forbids “an establishment of religion” by the government, and it protects the “free exercise” of religion.

In the past, the court had often invoked the separation of church and state doctrine to strike down state laws that gave aid to religious schools, citing the ban on “establishment” of religion. In this case, the court ruled against government interference with religion, citing the “free exercise” clause.

Appeals court upholds federal block of Oklahoma ban on Islamic law

OKLAHOMA CITY — A proposed constitutional amendment that would ban Oklahoma courts from considering international or Islamic law discriminates against religions, and a Muslim community leader has the right to challenge its constitutionality, a federal appeals court said Tuesday.

The court in Denver upheld U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange’s order blocking implementation of the amendment shortly after it was approved by 70 percent of Oklahoma voters in November 2010.

Muneer Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma, sued to block the law from taking effect, arguing that the Save Our State Amendment violated his First Amendment rights. The amendment read, in part: “The courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia law.”

State Sen. Anthony Sykes, who led the Senate effort to get the measure on the ballot, said Tuesday he would continue to fight to lift the injunction. “The federal appeals court in Denver attempted to silence the voice of 70 percent of Oklahoma voters,” Sykes said in a statement. “At some point we have to decide whether this is a country of by and for the judges, or of by and for the people. How far will the people let them go? This ruling is right along with legalizing abortion and forced busing of school children.”
The case now returns to federal court in Oklahoma City to determine the constitutionality of the proposed amendment.

“My office will continue to defend the state in this matter and proceed with the merits of the case,” Oklahoma Attorney General Scott Pruitt said in a statement.

Dutch Deputy Justice Minister Comments on Sharia Law

29 September 2011

 

Deputy Justice Minister of the Netherlands Fred Teeven has reasserted that Dutch law always takes precedence over the legal rules of other countries in the nation’s courts. The statement follows comments from anti-Islam MP Geert Wilders suggesting that because courts in the Netherlands sometimes conform to the legal rules of other countries in their consideration, Islamic law influences Dutch law. Teeven called the relationship between Dutch law and Islamic law ‘negligible’.

Growing Number of Muslim Chaplains in the UK

Research by the Centre for the Study of Islam in the UK at Cardiff University has found that chaplaincy, usually associated with the Christian faith, is a rapidly expanding sphere of work for Muslim professionals.  Muslim chaplains play an increasing role in linking Muslim communities with public organizations; they can now be found in prisons, hospitals, airports, courts, higher education, and the military. The research project led my Dr Sophie Gilliat-Ray aimed at exploring the background, training, role, and impact of Muslim chaplains in Britain. The project found that Muslim chaplains are highly motivated in their work and, especially those working in a health care context, had a “strong Islamic” justification for their work. Furthermore, the research found that ‘female chaplains played a vital role in client-family relationships and negotiations, and that Muslims chaplains have mostly integrated well within multi-faith chaplaincy teams’ (BBC News).

French woman wins right to change children’s names

A woman in France turned to the courts to change her children’s names from Fatima and Mohammed to more French-sounding names. The kids, about ten, were named by their father at birth against their mother’s wishes. Aicha did not want North-African names so as to allow her children to integrate more easily. The court in Aix-en-Provence allowed her to change her children’s names. Mohammed changed his name to Kevin, per his wishes, and Fatima is now called Nadia.