A Texas judge has ruled that a Muslim woman seeking a divorce from her husband must seek to have the matter settled in an Islamic court in what attorneys are calling a highly unusual move.
The Blaze reported that Collin County District Judge Andrea Thompson ruled that the woman be sent to what is known as a Fiqh Panel in March, which considers her testimony to have half the weight of her husband’s, despite her attorneys arguing that this is completely unconstitutional.
Mariam Ayad sought to divorce her husband last year when he revealed that she had signed an Islamic prenuptial agreement which dictated she go to the Fiqh panel for such matters as per Sharia law.
Ayad says she was essentially tricked into signing the agreement when she married husband Ayad Hashim Latif in 2008 according to court documents, believing she was simply signing two copies of a customary Islamic marriage form.
The Texas judge is reportedly completely disregarding both state and federal law with this original ruling and has since essentially doubled down on the order.
According to documents obtained by The Blaze, the judge vacated the original ruling after Mariam’s attorneys challenged it, appearing to merely change the wording and ultimately force the woman to settle her divorce with the Islamic Association of North by Muslim clerics.
“It is therefore ordered that Respondent’s Motion to Enforce Islamic Prenuptial Agreement and Refer Case to Muslim Court or Fiqh Panel is granted and the Court refers the case to a Muslim Court or Fiqh Panel for [Alternative Dispute Resolution],” the court order dated March 24, which was viewed by TheBlaze, said.
An updated order, dated June 14, removed words such as “Islamic,” “Muslim,” and “Fiqh,” but reiterated the court’s decision.
“The Court has no discretion but to enforce the agreement of the parties in their Prenuptial Agreement signed on December 26, 2008, and refer the parties to arbitration per the terms of their agreement,” the June order states.
“Never in my life have I ever seen a judge do that,” [one of Mariam’s attorneys] said in a phone conversation.
The attorneys also noted that our nation should be “long past the days” when women need to seek permission from their husband to divorce, and that the Sharia court will distinctly undermine the equal rights so previously hard-fought by American women.
“Judge Thompson’s ruling requires this American woman citizen to submit to a non-American, unconstitutional, male-run, Muslim religious court to ask for permission to divorce her husband where her right to a divorce could very well be denied to her under Sharia law’s family code,” said lawyer Michelle O’Neil, providing a chilling contrast between the rights of American women and the rights of Muslim women not only around the world, but right here on our soil.
Mariam’s legal team has filed a writ of mandamus with the Fifth Court of Appeals in Dallas to try to prevent the lower court from enforcing the ruling sending her to Sharia court.
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