Yes, yes, yes... religions are different. Cultures are different. Customs and traditions are different throughout the world. We all know this. Despite the differences in culture and religion across the planet, it seems sensible to expect a certain level of respect for all human beings and their rights. Unfortunately, that is not the case. The United States is often criticized in the media and abroad for not doing more to protect human rights, there are countries in far worse shape, and the media are turning a blind eye.
Groups like the United Nations love to dump on the U.S. for all the perceived abuses and injustices that occur, yet they ignore abuses that occur every single day in the name of religion. As noted in a story on FoxNews.com, the highest court in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) ruled that a husband can beat his wife and young children "as long as the beating leaves no physical marks." How's that for civility?
The decision by the Federal Supreme Court shows the strong influence of Islamic law (Sharia) in the Emirates despite its international appeal in which foreign residents greatly outnumber the local population.
The court made the ruling earlier this month in the case of a man who left cuts and bruises on his wife and adult daughter after a beating.
In a follow-up story running on The Guardian, the reporter notes:
The court upheld the right of the unnamed man from Sharjah - one of the seven emirates - to beat his wife and children to "discipline" them after he had exhausted two other options: admonition and then abstaining from sleeping with his wife. Scholars differ on what constitutes "beating" but agree it must not be severe.
In the case of the wife, it was the degree of severity that put the man in breach of the law. But his daughter was 23, and therefore too old to be disciplined by her father, the court said. He claimed he did not mean to harm either of them.
I guess it will be up to the daughter's new husband to take over the beating duties.
CBSNews.com posted a story last week under the headline Fears of Sharia Law in America Grow Among Conservatives. It's an interesting headline, but I fail to see the point of it. Are they trying to show that Sharia law is "not so bad"? Are they trying to say that conservatives are just a bunch of kooks? Probably a little bit of both. However, my point is that if there is a "code of conduct" that allows wife beating just as long as there are no physical marks present, then that is NOT a real code of conduct.
The story goes on to note the following:
The notion that Sharia law is coming to America has been percolating in the conservative media for a while. Fox News' Sean Hannity suggested the arrest of the Christian missionaries in Dearborn reflected the possibility that "Sharia law is taking over in Dearborn," as did Fox News' Brian Kilmeade, who interviewed one of the men who was arrested.
At the Values Voters summit in September, Newt Gingrich said - to a standing ovation - that "[w]e should have a federal law that says Sharia law cannot be recognized by any court in the United States." He has also warned that jihadists are trying "to replace Western civilization with a radical imposition of Sharia."
The Heritage Foundation recently asked the question, "Does Sharia law allow a husband to rape his wife, even in America?" It turns out, a New Jersey judge thought the answer was "yes." In a case that was eventually overturned, "a 'trial judge found as a fact that defendant committed conduct that constituted a sexual assault' but did not hold the defendant liable because the defendant believed he was exercising his rights over the victim."
In S.D. v. M.J.R., the plaintiff, a Moroccan Muslim woman, lived with her Moroccan Muslim husband in New Jersey. She was repeatedly beaten and raped by her husband over the course of several weeks. While the plaintiff was being treated for her injuries at a hospital, a police detective interviewed her and took photographs of her injuries. Those photographs depicted injuries to plaintiff's breasts, thighs and arm, bruised lips, eyes and right check. Further investigation established there were blood stains on the pillow and sheets of plaintiff's bed.
The wife sought a permanent restraining order, and a New Jersey trial judge held a hearing in order to decide whether to issue the order. Evidence at trial established, among other things, that the husband told his wife, "You must do whatever I tell you to do. I want to hurt your flesh" and "this is according to our religion. You are my wife, I c[an] do anything to you." The police detective testified about her findings, and some of the photographs were entered into evidence.
The defendant's Imam testified that a wife must comply with her husband's sexual demands and he refused to answer whether, under Islamic law, a husband must stop his sexual advances on his wife if she says "no."
Now get this... the judge determined that the criminal acts "were proved." However, the restraining order was denied. Why? Read on...
This judge held that the defendant could not be held responsible for the violent sexual assaults of his wife because he did not have the specific intent to sexually assault his wife, and because his actions were "consistent with his [religious] practices." In other words, the judge refused to issue the permanent restraining order because under Sharia law, this Muslim husband had a "right" to rape his wife.
The concerns of Sharia law being used as a basis for determining the outcome of court cases in the U.S. was strong enough for the Oklahoma legislature to take action. ABCNews.com reports reports that Oklahoma "is poised to become the first state in the nation to ban state judges from relying on Islamic law known as Sharia when deciding cases."
Sharia has gained a toehold in some western countries, notably Great Britain, where five sharia courts have been established to settle certain disputes among Muslims, with the government's blessing. The proposed Oklahoma amendment is aimed, in part, at "cases of first impression," legal disputes in which there is no law or precedent to resolve the matter at hand. In such cases, judges might look to laws or rulings in other jurisdictions for guidance. The proposed amendment would block judges in Oklahoma courts from drawing on sharia, or the laws of other nations, in such decisions.
One can tell by the headline that ABC News was trying to send a message that Oklahoma (and not Sharia law) was backward. If this law eliminates the possibility that a husband beating his wife could become an accepted practice in this country, then I'm all for it. There is common sense, and there is common decency. Both are in short supply in this world.
Editor's Note: Please read the poll question carefully. The question is asking if it is possible for Sharia Law to come to the US.