CNN Fact-Checks Trump Campaign's Claim That Parts Of America Are Under Sharia Law

Tom Foreman: “Our Finding Is That This Statement Is Simply False”

From the August 16 edition of CNN's Anderson Cooper 360:

Video file

TOM FOREMAN: Well, let's take a look at the claim itself. What he's saying is a couple of states are dealing with the imposition of Sharia law. We will start with the definition. Sharia law is a legal system based on Islamic teachings. It covers crime, business, marriage, diet, etiquette, and much more. So where is this being imposed upon people in the United States? As you just heard the general say, Texas is one of those places. What has happened there is that some Muslim community leaders have formed what they call an Islamic tribunal. This is a place where members of the community can come together if they have some dispute, some civil dispute, they can air their grievances in front of this group and they can get arbitration based upon Sharia. Now it's important to note this kind of arbitration has existed for Christians and Jews and other people for many decades out there, and importantly, as they note on their own website, look, “these proceedings must be conducted in accordance with the law of the land, local, state and federal within the United States,” Anderson.

ANDERSON COOPER (HOST): So just to be clear, this isn't quote, “Sharia law” like that found in Islamic countries and it doesn't supersede any US law or challenge any US law?

FOREMAN: No. There is no way in which somebody under this arbitration system cannot challenge the results or go back and get justice from the courts if they wish. 

COOPER: It's the same kind of system that in some communities in New York, among orthodox Jews, they have the same sort of setup. If someone wants a religious ruling. 

FOREMAN: Exactly. Same sort of thing.

COOPER: Tom, the other example that General Flynn cited was in Florida. I hadn't heard of anything happening there. What is happening? 

FOREMAN: Florida is one of at least nine states that have passed what we refer to as anti-Sharia laws. What this means is they have basically said the courts there cannot give too much weight to Sharia or indeed, any foreign law in making a ruling here. Now, why would you have such a thing? Think about this. Say you had a couple that got married in Egypt and they had certain expectations when they immigrated to the United States, certain legal expectations, and they decide to get divorced. The courts here can and do consider their expectations from back home but not if those expectations fly in the face of US law or US customs. Then they get pushed aside. Otherwise they can be considered. The bottom line is even though if states are pushing these anti-Sharia laws, that does not prove that anyone is trying in any credible, tangible, big way to establish Sharia law. That's why our finding is that this statement is simply false.


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