Texas Senate Advances Bill Banning Sharia Law in Family Court When in Conflict With U.S. Law

Texas Capital Credit Kumar AppiahAUSTIN, Texas — The Texas Senate recently advanced what is dubbed as the “anti-Sharia bill,” sending the matter on to the House for consideration.

S.B. 531, an amendment to the Texas family code, was introduced by Sen. Donna Campbell (R-New Braunfels). Although the bill does not mention Islam or Sharia law, its intent has been understood to keep Sharia law from overriding federal and local Constitutions—specifically in marriage and family matters.

“A ruling or decision of a court, arbitrator, or administrative adjudicator under this title may not be based on a foreign law if the application of that law would violate a fundamental right guaranteed by the United States Constitution or the constitution or a statute of this state,” it reads.

The statute particularly relates to any “proceeding involving marriage, a suit for dissolution of a marriage, or a suit affecting the parent-child relationship.”

“It’s just to provide some belt and suspenders to make sure that, with judicial discretion, we don’t trump Texas law, American law, with a foreign law regarding family law,” Campbell said.

But some have stated that the bill is unnecessary as they do not see an imminent threat.

According to WOAI radio, Sen. Kirk Watson (D-Austin) asked Campbell to demonstrated why the law is needed.

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“What foreign law are you attempting to prevent being used, and can you give examples of where it has created a problem in the state?” he asked.

“No foreign law,” Campbell replied. “This just provides a context for judicial discretion.”

The bill passed the Senate 20-11 and is to be considered next by the House. It passed a House committee 5-1 last week.

“Sen. Campbell has done a great job in leading senators to advance the laws that protect our basic rights from infringement,” commented Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick in a statement. “SB 531 upholds Texas morals from foreign laws that contradict or violate our laws and our beliefs.”

As previously reported, earlier this year, it was reported that America’s first Islamic tribunal based on Sharia law was being operated in North Texas.

The court, located in Irving, availed itself to the community to arbitrate disputes between Muslims, such as divorce proceedings, business conflicts and other civil matters.

“All our decisions point back to the Koran and Sunna … and what the prophet Mohammed left to us,” Dr. Taher el-Badawi, Islamic Tribunal judge, told KEYE TV.

But the three men who operate the court stated that they do not seek to override the existing courts or the U.S. Constitution.

“We are not here to invade the White House or invade Austin,” Imam Moujahed Bakhach told reporters. “We are humble and want to settle a problem between Muslims.”

While the Texas bill applies only to family courts, nine other states have passed similar laws in an effort to outlaw Sharia law within their borders: Tennessee, Louisiana, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Washington, Alabama, and Florida.

Photo: Kuman Appiah

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