Though it was overturned on appeal, advocates of anti-Sharia legislation believe a New Jersey judge's decision not to grant a woman a restraining order from an abusive husband because his faith allowed his behavior may help their cause.
Family Court Judge Joseph Charles denied the request in June 2009, even though the woman seeking it made it clear she had been raped by her husband. The husband claimed that, under Islamic law, the wife must submit to him "and do anything I ask her to do." An imam called as a witness backed up the husband, prompting Charles to rule:
"The court believes that [defendant] was operating under his belief that it is, as the husband, his desire to have sex when and whether he wanted to, was something that was consistent with his practices and it was something that was not prohibited."
The appellate court reversed Charles last month, finding religious law does not trump the state.
In an interview with Fox News, the woman's attorney said the case shows how judges may be prone to making similar mistakes. "Clearly here, this judge did walk down that road," said attorney Jennifer Donnelly." He may not have said 'Shariah law.' But I think it's indicative that, in trying to be respectful of religion, judges venture into a very slippery slope."
A ballot measure in Oklahoma would bar consideration of "international law or Shariah Law" in rulings.