An update on the Florida judge who is forcing Muslims to abide by sharia law, via Judge issues opinion in Islamic law case – St. Petersburg Times.
TAMPA — A Hillsborough judge under withering attack from conservatives for saying he will use Islamic law to decide if an arbitration award was correct apparently wants to explain himself.
Circuit Judge Richard Nielsen took the unusual step of issuing an opinion Tuesday even though the 2nd District Court of Appeal has stayed proceedings in a lawsuit against the Islamic Education Center of Tampa filed by four ousted trustees.
The opinion does not add anything that isn’t already in the court file nor does it make any finding of law. But Nielsen appears to take great pains to explain the reasoning behind his controversial decision.
The issue involves whether an arbitration award in the case by an Islamic scholar, called an a’lim, was proper. The a’lim ruled Dec. 28 that the mosque’s ex-trustees were ousted improperly, a decision that, if it sticks, might wrest control of $2.2 million from the center’s current leaders.
The mosque got the money from the state after it used some of the mosque’s land for a road project.
The judge noted in his opinion that he must hear further testimony to determine whether “Islamic dispute resolution procedures have been followed in this matter.”
So a Florida judge is going to determine if sharia was properly followed in the matter? Is he qualified to determine if sharia has been followed? Is he using the Koran as his reference?
Nielsen’s assistant said Tuesday the judge would not comment on pending litigation.
The judge’s March 3 ruling saying he would use Islamic law, known as sharia, to decide the arbitration issue was quickly appealed by the mosque’s attorney to the 2nd DCA. The mosque argues that state law should decide the issue and to inject religion into the case violates the U.S. Constitution.
The mosque trustees, i.e., Muslims do not want to be subject to Islamic sharia law. Will CAIR, the left/media cry Islamophobia, xenophobia, racism?
The mosque’s attorney, Paul Thanasides, also wants to take deposition testimony from the a’lim, who lives in Texas.
In an irony probably not lost on some of the litigants, the a’lim’s attorney has filed a motion with a Texas judge to prevent Thanasides from deposing the a’lim.
What does the attorney think bars testimony by an arbitrator?
Well, Texas has an Islamic sharia court but even the sharia judge arbitrator doesn’t want to be held to his own sharia rulings and wants the full rights of the state.
Recall from the original post,
“The mosque believes wholeheartedly in the Koran and its teachings,” Thanasides said Monday. “They certainly follow Islamic law in connection with their spiritual endeavors. But with respect to secular endeavors, they believe Florida law should apply in Florida courts.”
So what exactly is a secular endeavor? They still believe “wholeheartedly in the Koran and its teachings.” That doesn’t bode well for infidels in Tampa, and they aren’t commenting so it’s not clear how much secular law they endorse. Will they become spokesmen for banning sharia law in Florida? Elsewhere? Would they be branded apostates for doing so and be targeted for their secular preference?
The four ex-trustees suing the center did not return calls for comment. And attorneys representing them declined comment.
More than a year ago we posted on a report by Muslims on judges in the U.S. creating a body of case law based on Islamic sharia law. The post didn’t garner much attention, but suffice it to say, the issue is much bigger than what the media is telling you.