I wrote on September 8 and on August 30 about the fact that under strict Islamic Shariah law, there are no juries for civil and criminal cases. And during the panel discussion on November 16 that I assembled on Capitol Hill, I discussed the lack of civil or criminal procedure or discovery under Shariah. It’s a system that is not only un-Constitutional but anti-Constitutional, and it has no place in American jurisprudence.
So it’s encouraging to see that states legislators are recognizing the dangers of Shariah principles and acting to prevent their use in state courts. The latest state to pursue the matter is South Dakota, where a bipartisan effort is underway to enact SB 201, which would, according to the Dakota Voice, “prohibit South Dakota courts from using dangerous foreign laws that deprive parties of the same fundamental rights granted under the constitutions of the United States and the State of South Dakota.” State Senator Dan Lederman gets it right, saying, “Invoking Shariah law, in criminal and especially in civil cases, is a means of imposing an agenda on the American people while circumventing the US and state constitutions by using foreign laws which do not recognize our constitutional rights and liberties in US courts. It’s a hostile foreign law that has no place in American courts.” And he would know, since Muslim women are signing marriage contracts offered by the Islamic Center of Sioux Falls, where the mosque leader advised Muslim husbands whose wives are “disloyal” to “admonish them (first), (next), refuse to share their beds, (and last) beat them (lightly).”
SB 201 proponents have assembled a group of cases to cite as rationale for state legislative action. In one Massachusetts case, Rhodes v. ITT Sheraton Corp, the Massachusetts Superior Court, the judge ruled that “Saudi Arabia was not an adequate alternative forum because the Plaintiff would experience severely restricted rights under the Shariah-based Saudi legal code” due to the following deficiencies in basic civil procedure (quoting from the case):
“The first significant drawback to trial of this case in Saudi Arabia is that plaintiff would not be permitted to testify… All parties are presumed to be prejudiced in favor of themselves and therefore are not considered to be reliable witnesses… Prevailing in Saudi Arabia would be even more difficult for plaintiff in light of the requirement that, ‘[i]n financial matters, a party must produce two male witnesses or one male and two female witnesses in order to prove a point.’…
Another disadvantage to a Saudi forum is that Saudi courts do not follow any uniform rules of procedure… Saudi Arabia does not offer parties the opportunity to be heard by a jury… a Saudi forum would deprive plaintiff of basic procedures which she expects to enjoy in a Massachusetts forum.” (Emphasis mine.)
Nothing about Shariah jurisprudence is compatible with the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights. Shariah means NO civil (or criminal) procedure, NO due process, NO discovery, limited eyewitness testimony, and most importantly, NO JURIES IN ANY CRIMINAL OR CIVIL CASE. State legislatures and Congress should mandate that courts not compromise our principles for Shariah, and also be very wary of recognizing foreign court decisions based on Shariah.