POLICIES, FRAMEWORKS, AND CONCERNS REGARDING SHARI'A TRIBUNALS IN THE UNITED STATES-ARE THEY KOSHER?

Kai Hafez
unpublished
INTRODUCTION Shari'a law has become the topic of much contemporary debate in the United States. The debate has largely revolved around the compatibility of shari'a law with American law and Western values. 1 One prominent American politician warned that proponents of shari'a law want to "impose Sharia on all of us," and, with that in mind, has called for a federal law precluding the application of shari'a as a "replacement for American law" in any court of the United States. 2 On a state level,
more » ... Oklahoma recently attempted to amend its constitution so as to preclude the application of shari'a law in the courts of that state. 3 A recent report by national security experts went so far as to warn that shari'a is a threat to the integrity and the very existence of the United States of America. 4 In contrast, proponents of instituting shari'a law in the United 1 See, e.g., Kai Hafez, Islam and the West: The Clash of Politicised Perceptions, in THE ISLAMIC WORLD AND THE WEST 3, 3 (Kai Hafez ed., 2000). Samuel Huntington hypothesized that the greatest conflicts of the modern world would be between civilizations rather than states. Samuel P. Huntington, The Clash of Civilizations?, FOREIGN AFFAIRS, Summer 1993, at 22, 22, 39. Specifically, he stated that Islam as a civilization would fundamentally and literally clash with the West, because "Western ideas of individualism, liberalism, constitutionalism, human rights, equality, liberty, the rule of law, democracy, free markets, the separation of church and state, often have little resonance in Islamic . . . cultures." Id. at 40. Scholars have criticized Huntington's theory based on the origin of this "clash." See, e.g., SHIREEN T. HUNTER, THE FUTURE OF ISLAM AND THE WEST: CLASH OF CIVILIZATIONS OR PEACEFUL COEXISTENCE? 19, 168 (1998) (arguing that the clash is, on one hand, a power struggle and, on the other hand, a clash of faith and secularism rather than Islam and the West); FAWAZ A. GERGES, AMERICA AND POLITICAL ISLAM: CLASH OF CULTURES OR CLASH OF INTERESTS? 17 (1999) (asserting that politics and security concerns, from an American policy perspective, drive the conflict with Islam more so than culture and history). Most noteworthy, for present purposes, is one scholar's hypothesis that the clash between Islam and the West will unfold in the context of law. KATHLEEN M. MOORE, THE UNFAMILIAR ABODE: ISLAMIC LAW IN THE UNITED STATES AND BRITAIN 4 (2010) ("Law becomes the site where . . . the clash-of-civilizations thesis finds material support . . . .").
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