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TEXAS: Muslims Outraged That Irving City Council Backs Bill That Will Ban Islamic Sharia Law Tribunals There

The intense national spotlight on Islam has shifted to Irving, where Mayor Beth Van Duyne has accused mosque leaders of creating separate laws for Muslims and the City Council voted Thursday to endorse a state bill that Muslims say targets their faith. (You can practice your so-called ‘faith’ in 56 countries. Pick one)

Dallas News: The dispute has made Van Duyne a hero among a growing movement that believes Muslims are plotting to take over American culture and courts. “It fuels anti-Islamic hysteria,” said Zia Sheikh, imam at the Islamic Center of Irving. “Her whole point was to rile up her supporters. … The problem is we become the whipping boys.”

The mayor stands by her statements, including an interview with former Fox News host Glenn Beck last month, when she said Sheikh and other imams were “bypassing American courts” by offering to mediate disputes among their worshippers according to an Islamic code called Sharia.

The mediation is advertised as voluntary, nonbinding, and in harmony with the law. But it has led Van Duyne to back a bill by state Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, that would forbid judges from using foreign law in their rulings.

While the bill does not mention religion, Leach has singled out the Islamic mediation panel as a “problem” it will solve. The wording is largely identical to that in a previous bill pitched by another lawmaker as a way to stop the influence of “large populations of Middle Easterners.”

Muslims in hijabs, burqas and business suits packed City Hall on Thursday, voicing protests before the council endorsed the bill in a 5-4 vote. “This bill does not reference Shariah, Islam or even religion. It has nothing to do with preventing any tribunal,” Van Duyne told the crowd. “Why anyone would feel this is hatred or bigotry is absolutely beyond me.”

“This is how it starts,” a writer warned, sharia law courts/tribunals are the “vicious, misogynistic, and brutal” systems in other countries. The Islamic Tribunal, a panel of Dallas-area imams, offers to mediate disputes between Muslims for a fee.

While the tribunal is headquartered in Dallas, blog posts around the country pegged its home as Irving: the purported ground zero in a Muslim takeover of the U.S. legal system. Irving’s perceived link went viral with a February Facebook post in which Van Duyne vowed to contact state legislators and “fight with every fiber of my being” if the group was violating basic rights.


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