Part 6 of 10 – Aug 26, 2011 (Day 2)
This was an 8 hour Symposium at NY Law School Law Review On “Sharia in America:Principle and Prospects”. The purpose was to examine the place of Islamic Law in The United States.
The introduction for Professor Asifa Quraishi was by Professor Sadiq Reza.
At approx (00:29) in Reza’s intro of Professor Quraishi, Sadiq leads with his usual playfulness as he mocks David Yerushalmi while reading a long list of Quraishi’s accomplishments vs Yerushalmi’s perceived assault on Sharia.
Asifa is very personable. Seems to be very American and with her lovely hajib, looked more Israeli than Muslim. Her husband appears to be non-Muslim.
She speaks for approximately 30 minutes.
Some written Notes from her speech:
- Professor Quraishi mentions the term ‘barbaric’ sharia.
- Is it one law that Muslims live by?
- Do Muslims organize their lives by Sharia?
- Can we tolerate it? Yes.
Quraishi discusses the legal organization of lives and points out that
- A woman’s property is her own
- sharia builds in the marriage contract a woman’s financial independence
- Marriage contract up front is about money
- Family Law is mostly about divorce.
- Experts on Islamic Law speak to our courts.
- American courts are trying to understand Sharia.
- Mentions mahar in Marriage Contract.
- In U.S. history, when a man divorced the woman, she was left with nothing
- Figh is same as Community Property. Muslim women feel empowered. U.S. Law can intrude on expectations
- Need experts in U.S. Law and Sharia Law. Muslim Tribunals but, FEAR is so great, can’t talk about this.
- There is no one unilateral Sharia Code. Can they choose? Yes, within limits.
- This isn’t about Sharia, it’s about American Religious Diversity. Respect. We can disagree without Sharia bans.
- American Strength is diversity. And a Muslim family living by Sharia is that diversity.
The Q and A was after lunch break (and prayers). As Professor Sadiq Reza recommended prayer rooms at the school, he also (playfully) suggested that those who desire group prayer might walk over to the infamous Park51 (which he also referred to as the WTC Mosque)
The Q and A lasted more like about 30 minutes (instead of the planned 15 minutes) since the audience was allowed to ask very long questions.
Some written notes from Q and A:
- A child custody question and a discussion on cultural differences and nervous responses. Quraishi understands the fear is based on what we hear
- Quraishi says she can’t change you fear. But, it would be helpful to talk to Muslims to address those fears
- If a woman agrees to Muslim Marriage Contract, why should we interfere?
- Mentions respect for other countries. (respecting their right to stone?) Islamic Law is different from country to country…
- A black woman asks about customs and traditions
- A young man mentions the uncertainty regarding Sharia. The fear of infiltration through Sharia Law
- Islamic Law originally resolved around scholars
- A woman from Hyde park spoke for awhile. Seemed to want more from Quraishi regarding the mistreatment of women under Sharia.
- Another woman asked about fatwas and American Law. “…other foreign laws always had comity here within limits”
- French Law contracts get adjudicated here
- The Muslim Americans who want Islamic Law. Let them. This will only go so far in an American Court. Cannot go against American Constitution.
- Someone mentions that Pelosi wants to abrogate U.S. Law
- Diversity of figh interests her, not centralized command
- Quraishi stresses that Muslims are empowered by marriage contracts. These are not pre-nups. Muslim contract is about the marriage; finances. This should not be awkward.
- Works within the Muslim Community to inform women how to do contracts
Complete AUDIO of speech and Q and A