An Islamic Tribunal using Sharia law in Texas has been confirmed by Breitbart Texas. The tribunal is operating as a non-profit organization in Dallas. One of the attorneys for the tribunal said participation and acceptance of the tribunal’s decisions are “voluntary.”
Breitbart Texas spoke with one of the “judges,” Dr. Taher El-badawi. He said the tribunal operates under Sharia law as a form of “non-binding dispute resolution.” El-badawi said their organization is “a tribunal, not arbitration.” A tribunal is defined by Meriam-Webster’s Dictionary as “a court or forum of justice.” The four Islamic attorneys call themselves “judges” not “arbitrators.”
El-badawi said the tribunal follows Sharia law to resolve civil disputes in family and business matters. He said they also resolve workplace disputes.
In matters of divorce, El-badawi said that “while participation in the tribunal is voluntary, a married couple cannot be considered divorced by the Islamic community unless it is granted by the tribunal.” He compared their divorce, known as “Talaq,” as something similar to the Catholic practice of annulment in that the church does not recognize civil divorce proceedings as ending a marriage.
He also said there is a difference between how a man and a woman can request a divorce under their system. “The husband can request the divorce directly from the tribunal,” El-badawi stated. “The wife must go to an Imam who will request the divorce for her.” He called it “two paths to the same result.” The practice of Khula is the process where a wife can initiate a divorce proceeding and where the husband can agree to the divorce in exchange for a financial compensation. It appears the wife must agree to give up any claim to the “dower” that was not already paid or to return it if it has already been paid. Once the financial issues are resolved the husband can then proclaim the Talaq (divorce).
El-badawi said they follow Texas family law when it comes to child support, visitation, and custody. He said that in most cases, custody of children is awarded to the mother.
Breitbart Texas asked what happens when there is a conflict between Sharia law and Texas law. El-badawi said most of the time, the laws are in agreement. When pushed further he admitted that, “we follow Sharia law.”
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