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New York - Anti-Sharia Laws Stir Concerns That Halachah Could Be Next

Published on: May 1, 2011 08:23 PM
By:  JTA
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New York - With conservative lawmakers across the United States trying to outlaw sharia, or Islamic religious law, Jewish organizations are concerned that halachah could be next.

If the state legislative initiatives targeting sharia are successful, they would gut a central tenet of American Jewish religious communal life: The ability under U.S. law to resolve differences according to halachah, or Jewish religious law.

“The laws are not identical, but as a general rule they could be interpreted broadly to prevent two Jewish litigants from going to a beit din,” a Jewish religious court, said Abba Cohen, the Washington director of Agudath Israel of America, an Orthodox umbrella group. “That would be a terrible infringement on our religious freedom.”

A number of recent beit din arbitrations that were taken by litigants to civil courts—on whether a batch of etrogim met kosher standards; on whether a teacher at a yeshiva was rightfully dismissed; and on the ownership of Torah scrolls—would have no standing under the proposed laws.

Continue to read at JTA 


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Read Comments (22)  —  Post Yours »

1

 May 01, 2011 at 08:35 PM Anonymous Says:

All those idiots like Limbaugh and Beck who rant about Shariah law and seek to forbid the U.S. courts from recognizing any role for muslim observance are ignorant of the fact that yidden routinely defer to beis dins for most litigation and the civil courts allow it. Shariah law and halacha should have the SAME standing in the U.S. If the parties to a dispute voluntarily want to submit to the jurisdiction of a religious court, they should have the right to do so. At the same time, the U.S. criminal courts will always have jurisdiction whether the parties agree or not.

2

 May 01, 2011 at 08:52 PM Anonymous Says:

What is everyone getting so worked up about? According to Sharia law, it is permissable for men to engage in honor killings, if they think that their daughters are "becoming too westernized". This idiotic defense by an Iraqi in Arizona, was thrown out by the local criminal court. He had savagely run over and killed his daughter, because she was dating. He was sentenced to 34 years. In my opinion, he should have been sentenced to life, without parole! There is no comparison between Sharia law (which emanates from the stone age), and Halacha. Therefore, let us stop going to the defense of Muslim law!

3

 May 01, 2011 at 09:06 PM 5TResident Says:

I have been saying this all along. A blow against one religion is a blow against all religions. And history has not been kind to ours.

4

 May 01, 2011 at 09:13 PM Dead_Rebbe Says:

If proper church-state relations are to be maintained, prudence dictates that municipal law (as used in a jurisprudential sense) should give no recognition whatsover to halakha, sharia or any religion-based system, nor should it allow these systems in any way to be subsumed or incorporated by reference or agreement into domestic law. Any other course transforms the state into religious judge and enforcer.

Perhaps it is possible for halakhic or shariac litigants to conclude their religious proceedings and mask the religious origins in the final agreement/order issued by the arbitrator. But so long as that act is subject to judicial review, and it is impossible to see how it would not be, the state is put in the position of using, reviewing or approving, at some level, the religion-peculiar content by which the agreement/order was arrived at by the supposedly incognito sectarians.

5

 May 01, 2011 at 09:17 PM TheRealJoe123 Says:

I will be honest I didn't read the whole article but the basic point is the vast majority of these conservative legislators are pro Jewish and are only against Sharia because they fear with good reason the Islamic takeover of the USA

6

 May 01, 2011 at 09:28 PM Kanyeshna Says:

There are laws, and there are laws. Some should be permitted to be incorporated, just like the U.S. has always permitted, for example, contracts to specify the law of England, for example, if the parties wish, for interpretation, or even litigation. However, perhaps most of criminal law should not be incorporated.

If Jewish law were interpreted literally to enforce "eye for eye" as stated in the written Torah, that would not be permitted to be incorporated. Not all that hard to figure out which are ok and which are not. Just requires a little effort.

7

 May 01, 2011 at 09:33 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
Dead_Rebbe Says:

If proper church-state relations are to be maintained, prudence dictates that municipal law (as used in a jurisprudential sense) should give no recognition whatsover to halakha, sharia or any religion-based system, nor should it allow these systems in any way to be subsumed or incorporated by reference or agreement into domestic law. Any other course transforms the state into religious judge and enforcer.

Perhaps it is possible for halakhic or shariac litigants to conclude their religious proceedings and mask the religious origins in the final agreement/order issued by the arbitrator. But so long as that act is subject to judicial review, and it is impossible to see how it would not be, the state is put in the position of using, reviewing or approving, at some level, the religion-peculiar content by which the agreement/order was arrived at by the supposedly incognito sectarians.

Gibberish.

8

 May 01, 2011 at 09:37 PM Reb Yid Says:

This would certainly not affect going to a beis din, because that's treated like arbitration--you're expressly not using the court system.

I guess it might affect the other things mentioned in the full article, like contracts with overseas coporations that involved sharia law as the law of the land in other countries, or divorce issues.

9

 May 01, 2011 at 09:39 PM Reb Yid Says:

Reply to #3  
5TResident Says:

I have been saying this all along. A blow against one religion is a blow against all religions. And history has not been kind to ours.

Actually, history has shown the opposite: the strengthening of other religions usually has come at the expense of our own.

10

 May 01, 2011 at 09:52 PM Secular Says:

Don't worry, the Satmar brothers are still litigating in secular courts.

All jokes aside, the issue with sharia law is its subversiveness to local, state or federal law. Halacha is used for the most part as arbitration...like judge judy. Jewish politicians should not be on the forefront of defending sharia law seeking muslims, because their intentions are subversive and undermine the democratic principles of the USA

11

 May 01, 2011 at 09:56 PM PMOinFL Says:

Reply to #2  
Anonymous Says:

What is everyone getting so worked up about? According to Sharia law, it is permissable for men to engage in honor killings, if they think that their daughters are "becoming too westernized". This idiotic defense by an Iraqi in Arizona, was thrown out by the local criminal court. He had savagely run over and killed his daughter, because she was dating. He was sentenced to 34 years. In my opinion, he should have been sentenced to life, without parole! There is no comparison between Sharia law (which emanates from the stone age), and Halacha. Therefore, let us stop going to the defense of Muslim law!

Boiling it down to a ridiculous statement like "According to Sharia law, it is permissable for men to engage in honor killings..." is just plain stupid.

Anyone can take anything out of context and make it sound however they want. If someone wanted to make something of it, they could say "Did you know that if Jewish law were practiced here they could kill another Jew just for lighting a candle on Saturday?" Doesn't that sound just as severe? Of course it does, when taken out of context.

The same way we have yidden who pervert halacha into an extreme and ugly thing in which women are kept in burkas and men routinely beat their wives, so do Muslims. It is certainly *NOT* the norm by any stretch of the imagination.

As for comparing halacha to sharia, you are dead wrong and only prove that you cannot possibly a frum yid. Anyone with any understanding of halacha and even a minimal understanding of sharia will find countless similarities between them.

Try leading a life driven by Torah instead of radio and TV entertainment programs.

12

 May 01, 2011 at 10:09 PM Pereles Says:

I don't think there is such a problem with halacha conflicting with dina d'malchuscha, except of course allowing men to have more than one wife at a time.

13

 May 01, 2011 at 10:33 PM charliehall Says:

Reply to #8  
Reb Yid Says:

This would certainly not affect going to a beis din, because that's treated like arbitration--you're expressly not using the court system.

I guess it might affect the other things mentioned in the full article, like contracts with overseas coporations that involved sharia law as the law of the land in other countries, or divorce issues.

Actually it does affect going to a bais din: Arbitration would be PROHIBITED from basing their decisions on religious law.

14

 May 01, 2011 at 10:38 PM esther Says:

Reply to #11  
PMOinFL Says:

Boiling it down to a ridiculous statement like "According to Sharia law, it is permissable for men to engage in honor killings..." is just plain stupid.

Anyone can take anything out of context and make it sound however they want. If someone wanted to make something of it, they could say "Did you know that if Jewish law were practiced here they could kill another Jew just for lighting a candle on Saturday?" Doesn't that sound just as severe? Of course it does, when taken out of context.

The same way we have yidden who pervert halacha into an extreme and ugly thing in which women are kept in burkas and men routinely beat their wives, so do Muslims. It is certainly *NOT* the norm by any stretch of the imagination.

As for comparing halacha to sharia, you are dead wrong and only prove that you cannot possibly a frum yid. Anyone with any understanding of halacha and even a minimal understanding of sharia will find countless similarities between them.

Try leading a life driven by Torah instead of radio and TV entertainment programs.

i am flabergasted that you compare a few jewish lunatics in burkas to the thousands and thousands of muslim women who have no right to own property, decide who they will marry or have a say in most aspects of their lives..it is sharia law that a man may discipline his wife with beatings or slaps depending on who is the deciding relgious leader. those jewish men who beat their wives are clearly going against halacha as accepted by klal yisroel. for you to compare present day sharia to the halachas involved in being mechalil shabbos during the time of the bais hamikdash is absurd!

15

 May 01, 2011 at 11:05 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #14  
esther Says:

i am flabergasted that you compare a few jewish lunatics in burkas to the thousands and thousands of muslim women who have no right to own property, decide who they will marry or have a say in most aspects of their lives..it is sharia law that a man may discipline his wife with beatings or slaps depending on who is the deciding relgious leader. those jewish men who beat their wives are clearly going against halacha as accepted by klal yisroel. for you to compare present day sharia to the halachas involved in being mechalil shabbos during the time of the bais hamikdash is absurd!

Based on your posting, its obvious you are among those who would say that a jewish woman who is a victim of domestic abuse or assualt, should simply rely upon a beis din and not report it to the police or civil courts. You are no better than the women in Burquas who silently accept Shairah law outcomes.

16

 May 01, 2011 at 11:19 PM esther Says:

Reply to #15  
Anonymous Says:

Based on your posting, its obvious you are among those who would say that a jewish woman who is a victim of domestic abuse or assualt, should simply rely upon a beis din and not report it to the police or civil courts. You are no better than the women in Burquas who silently accept Shairah law outcomes.

what,what,what!? obvious? you need to brush up on your reading comprehesion skills. and then some.

17

 May 02, 2011 at 04:53 AM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #6  
Kanyeshna Says:

There are laws, and there are laws. Some should be permitted to be incorporated, just like the U.S. has always permitted, for example, contracts to specify the law of England, for example, if the parties wish, for interpretation, or even litigation. However, perhaps most of criminal law should not be incorporated.

If Jewish law were interpreted literally to enforce "eye for eye" as stated in the written Torah, that would not be permitted to be incorporated. Not all that hard to figure out which are ok and which are not. Just requires a little effort.

But Judaism does not take it literally while Sharia does; a very very big difference. Please don't compare the two

18

 May 02, 2011 at 05:02 AM Anonymous Says:

To Esther: I don't agree with the pompous remarks of "PMO in FL" (#11), or #15 (Anonymous). Both are birds of a feather, as both of their postings are completely arrogant, illogical, abrasive, and condescending. Unfortunately, some people on this board get a lot of pleasure by attempting to humiliate and degrade other commentators on this discussion board. If one cannot say anything good about others, they should keep their reprehensible remarks to themselves!

19

 May 02, 2011 at 08:12 AM mnmys1987 Says:

The state should never intefere with religious matter. The Halachah is followed by those who want to follow it, and those who don't want to consult a Rabbi has the right not to. So the State has nothing to do in that matter. The same with the Sharia law: those Muslmi who want it, let's give them the right to follow it, but those who don't want, leave them alone. The State has no saying on matter like belief and religion.

20

 May 02, 2011 at 08:48 AM PMOinFL Says:

Reply to #14  
esther Says:

i am flabergasted that you compare a few jewish lunatics in burkas to the thousands and thousands of muslim women who have no right to own property, decide who they will marry or have a say in most aspects of their lives..it is sharia law that a man may discipline his wife with beatings or slaps depending on who is the deciding relgious leader. those jewish men who beat their wives are clearly going against halacha as accepted by klal yisroel. for you to compare present day sharia to the halachas involved in being mechalil shabbos during the time of the bais hamikdash is absurd!

I'm flabbergasted at how you missed the point. The point was that ANYTHING can be taken out of context. Comparing the numbers of nutcase Jews to the number of nutcase Muslims is a ridiculous comparison when Muslims make up over 20% of the world's population and we typically fall under the "other category" with witches.

Yes, it is only a "handful" who subscribe to this Taliban-like culture. However, when used as the basis for a PER CAPITA comparison to Muslims, it would be hundreds of thousands of Muslims doing these crazy things, which is exactly what we see in the real world.

21

 May 02, 2011 at 11:05 AM esther Says:

Reply to #18  
Anonymous Says:

To Esther: I don't agree with the pompous remarks of "PMO in FL" (#11), or #15 (Anonymous). Both are birds of a feather, as both of their postings are completely arrogant, illogical, abrasive, and condescending. Unfortunately, some people on this board get a lot of pleasure by attempting to humiliate and degrade other commentators on this discussion board. If one cannot say anything good about others, they should keep their reprehensible remarks to themselves!

i agree with you,pmo and #15's postings are arrogant etc. should you have kept tha tto yourself?

22

 May 02, 2011 at 12:42 PM Anonymous Says:

Reply to #4  
Dead_Rebbe Says:

If proper church-state relations are to be maintained, prudence dictates that municipal law (as used in a jurisprudential sense) should give no recognition whatsover to halakha, sharia or any religion-based system, nor should it allow these systems in any way to be subsumed or incorporated by reference or agreement into domestic law. Any other course transforms the state into religious judge and enforcer.

Perhaps it is possible for halakhic or shariac litigants to conclude their religious proceedings and mask the religious origins in the final agreement/order issued by the arbitrator. But so long as that act is subject to judicial review, and it is impossible to see how it would not be, the state is put in the position of using, reviewing or approving, at some level, the religion-peculiar content by which the agreement/order was arrived at by the supposedly incognito sectarians.

If arbitration by non-religious arbiters is permitted, there is no way that a similar system administered by religious arbiters cannot be permitted.

23

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