Florida Judge Defends Decision to Apply Islamic Law in Tampa Case

March 24, 2011


A Florida judge is defending his controversial decision to apply Islamic law instead of state or federal statutes in determining whether an arbitration award was correct, the St. Petersburg Times reports.

The case in question involves former trustees of a local Tampa mosque, the Islamic Education Center of Tampa, who are suing because they claim they were unfairly removed as trustees.

Hillsborough Circuit Judge Richard Nielsen said that the two parties can seek guidance from the Koran to resolve their dispute, according to MyFoxOrlando.com.

Nielsen said that based on testimony, “under ecclesiastical law,” and pursuant to the Koran, “Islamic brothers should attempt to resolve a dispute among themselves.”

“If Islamic brothers are unable to do so, they can agree to present the dispute to the greater community of Islamic brothers within the mosque or the Muslim community for resolution,” he said.

To read more, visit: http://www.foxnews.com/us/2011/03/23/florida-judge-defends-decision-apply-islamic-law-tampa-case/#ixzz1HVrYPY6o


2 Comments - what are your thoughts?

  • barry dennis says:

    It’s interesting that some people emigrate to the U.S. because they love the idea of justice that applies equally to all; for others, it’s religious freedom, for some economic opportunity.
    ALL see the American system as supportive of individual freedom and rule of law.
    Perhaps this judge could have used American law to resolve this dispute; perhaps the brothers should have depended on their own laws to resolve a dispute in a “religious institution’ namely the mosque and the dispute in question, BEFORE bring it to court.
    In this case the judge erred by not resolving the dispute, brouht to his court by the parties indeed using the judicial system to resolve an issue of law. We are a secular society, or supposed to be, and disputes, even religious disputes, brought into the system are resolved by the system, In an ideal world, perhaps the Solomon-like effort by the judge would be worthy of consideration. In this real world of growing secular conflict with religions of all types, the secular system must be given preference.

  • Pastor Jeff Russell says:

    It seems people are rushing to conclusions. I have read what the judge has said in this matter. The best example to compare this to is when private home owners enter into agreements with the Community Associations. They have a dispute and take it before a judge… the first thing the judge does is, (assuming its a legally biding contract) is to look at the contract and its terms. For instance, if you agree in a community association contract not to paint your house red… and you do… the judge will use the entered contract as the basis for making his decision.
    This judge is not ignoring US law… and its wrong to characterize it as such. There are 2 components to what the judge is doing: 1. Determining if the contract, entered into under US law, although utilizing Islamic guidelines is a valid contract. i.e. quid pro quo….

    If there is a legal agreement between the parties which meets the legal threshold then, 2. Seeing what the parties agreed to, as they established their covenants using a set of guidelines common to both.

    There is a process of sensationalizing this matter. Any attorney will tell you, the judge is using proper legal protocol in adjudicating this.

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