Florida judge dismisses case in which he permitted Islamic law but says sharia court rulings binding

He dismissed the case but his assertion on sharia tribunals is troubling. via Judge dismisses case he planned to use Islamic law in – Tampa Bay Times.

TAMPA — The Hillsborough judge who touched off controversy by saying he would use Islamic law to help decide a lawsuit against a mosque cited a different authority as he ordered the case dismissed.

The U.S. Constitution.

Circuit Judge Richard Nielsen ruled last week that the Constitution barred the court from getting involved in a dispute between the mosque — the Islamic Education Center of Tampa — and several ousted trustees.

The order is something of an about-face for Nielsen, whose earlier ruling that he would use “ecclesiastical Islamic law” to decide an issue in the case triggered national publicity and criticism from some commentators.

In a brief two-page order, Nielsen cited an earlier, precedent-setting ruling by another court in a different case that found “the trial court could not intervene in an internal church governance dispute.”

Quoting that decision, Nielsen wrote that the Constitution “permits hierarchical religious organizations to establish their own rules and regulations for internal discipline and governance, and to create tribunals for adjudicating disputes over these matters.”

To be clear, the judge quoted another judge’s interpretation decision not the Constitution.

Nielsen concluded, “Once such matters are decided by an ecclesiastical tribunal, the civil courts are to accept the decision as binding on them.”

An ecclesiastical tribunal being a sharia tribunal or sharia court. Nielsen concludes then, that civil courts are to accept sharia court rulings as binding.

Attorney Lee Segal, representing the four ousted trustees, has 30 days to file an appeal. He said Monday that he was unsure if such an appeal would be filed.

“My clients are still weighing their options at this point,” Segal said. “We don’t know if there is anything we can do.”

Nielsen made no attempt in his ruling to reconcile his earlier decision to use Islamic law with the new order dismissing the case. And judges do not comment on pending litigation.

“I just think the judge punted, which he is entitled to do,” Segal said.

Nielsen’s order may simply leave both sides to settle the dispute among themselves, attorneys say.

“Maybe they’ll do the proper Muslim thing and resolve their differences,” Segal said.

Or maybe they’ll resort to another Muslim thing, jihad. Previously:

12 thoughts on “Florida judge dismisses case in which he permitted Islamic law but says sharia court rulings binding

  1. Pingback: Monday afternoon news update, picks from the Grumpy Daily | Grumpy Opinions

  2. And I think of Congress debating about closer supervision of the court system. Two-edged sword to say the least, especially if anothe undercover muslim like obama or America-hater like billary clinton are in office.

  3. ” Nielsen concluded, “Once such matters are decided by an ecclesiastical tribunal, the civil courts are to accept the decision as binding on them.”

    SO, this would set a legal precedent!!!
    if an “ecclesiastical court” decided a woman needed stoning to death for adultery, or a thief to get his hand cut off, or to hang a homosexual, a civil court of the land would have to accept that decision as binding to them..effectively thats what this idiot judge is saying!
    Yep, one small legal step at a time, and before we know it full blown Sharia, and the Jihad is complete!
    This twit of a judge should be struck off the bench!

  4. Anne–

    I think that you are reading the judge’s statement too broadly (although the article is not all that clear). There is a series of cases dealing with church property and/or personnel matters in which the secular courts have been called upon to resolve is dispute within the parish. Generally speaking, the secular courts first determine if the church in question is “congregational ” or “hierarchical.” In the former case, the courts will resort to “neutral principles of law” to settle the property or employment dispute by looking to the language of contracts, charters, or articles of incorporation to resolve the dispute, discarding any religious provisions that would require the courts to decide theological questions. For example, let’s say that the board of trustees for a Presbyterian parish somewhere is trying to fire its pastor because they feel that he is not sufficiently Calvinist; the courts would look to see if they had followed the procedures set forth in their own organizational documents to decide whether the fired pastor is entitled to damages and would refuse to engage in an inquiry into the nature of Calvinism or try to determine just how Calvinist this pastor was. If the court were to engage in such religious inquiry, it would be entangling itself in the community’s theological self-understanding and thereby violate the Free Exercise Clause. On the other hand, for hierarchical churches–primarily the Roman Catholic Church and the Eastern Orthodox Church–the secular courts recognize that these churches believe that their internal organizational functions are theological questions. If the secular court were to second-guess the organizational decisions made by the internal tribunals of hierarchical churches, the court would be essentially engaging in a religious inquiry and entangling itself in the church’s theological self-understanding and thereby violate the Free Exercise Clause. For this reason, if a church is “hierarchical,” the courts will defer to organizational decisions of the internal church tribunals. Incidentally, the most interesting cases come out of litigation involving the Russian Orthodox Church in the early 20th Century when (1) a bunch of so-called “Eastern Catholics” decided to break communion with Rome to enter into communion with Moscow, causing schisms within parishes and consequent litigation over church property and (2) a bunch of Russian Orthodox parishes broke communion with Moscow after the Communists took over Russia.

    As for this thing down in Tampa, the judge was certainly correct to reverse himself. I never thought of Islam, at least Sunni Islam, as particularly hierarchical, but if this particular mosque is part of some hierarchical Muslim organization, longstanding precedent would dictate that if these plaintiff trustees were terminated pursuant to the decisions made by the internal mosque authority, the secular courts would not over-rule that decision by trying to interpret sharia law for itself. In any event, the original decision by the judge was erroneous because it would put him in the position of trying to interpret sharia law (regardless of whether the mosque is congregational or part of hierarchical church), which the Free Exercise Clause prevents him from doing.

  5. SHARIA DOES NOT APPLY IN AMERICA. IT IS UNCONSTITUTIONAL.The Judge is a CRIMINAL traitor.,giving aid and comfort to our enemies,the islamics.

  6. Pingback: Florida judge dismisses case in which he permitted Islamic law but says sharia court rulings binding « Windsor, CO ACT! For America

  7. Pingback: Florida House Approves Bill Banning Foreign Law in Certain Cases « Creeping Sharia

  8. Pingback: Florida: Senate committee clears bill banning some aspects of foreign law | Creeping Sharia

  9. Pingback: Florida: So-called ‘anti-Shariah’ bill passes House | Creeping Sharia

If sharia law continues spreading, you'll have less and less freedom of speech - so speak while you can!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.