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Why American Courts Should Sometimes Consider Islamic Court Rulings (and Islamic Law)
by Eugene Volokh
Tuesday, I blogged about a Massachusetts court's decision not to honor a Lebanese Islamic court's child custody order; I thought the Massachusetts decision was a sound application of religion-neutral Massachusetts law, under which foreign child custody orders dealing with Massachusetts resident children are honored only when they are entered based on standards that are close enough to the Massachusetts "best interests" test. One commenter, though, would have gone further:
What happens in Lebanon should stay in Lebanon. Okay, I admit a bit corny but Shira law does not belong in the U.S. as long as we have the Bill of Rights and the Constitution. We believe we are a nation free of religious influence (some may have valid arguements against this) and should remain as such. Granted, christianity had significant influence on our legal foundation but we don't go to Bishops or Pastors for their input. Shira is strictly religious law and nothing else.
Others have made similar arguments, arguing against any American court consideration of foreign Islamic court rulings, and of Islamic law. I think those arguments are mistaken, and here's why.
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