When someone sets foot on American soil there is at least one thing that can be expected of them—they need to follow American laws.

With the solitary exception, perhaps, of diplomats who are granted certain immunities, people living in America are bound by U.S. federal and state laws.

So when Muslims in the Texas city of Irving recently opened an Islamic Tribunal, a center for arbitration within the Muslim community, the question naturally came up: what laws will the tribunal be instituting and upholding?

The tribunal’s website states that they will help resolve conflicts and other domestic issues, but according to what law? There is a natural and well-founded fear of citizens in Irving and around the country that the establishment of a foreign-based center for legal decisions won’t rely on American law, but instead on Sharia law.

As a result of this center’s construction and activation Irving’s mayor, Beth Van Duyne, pledged her support of a new Texas House bill that “forbids the use of foreign law” and reasserts the dominance of Texas state laws and the United States Constitution.

Beth Van Duyne

Immediately after pledging her support Mayor Van Duyne came under attack.

She was accused of provoking angst and bad feelings against Muslims and of instigating Islamophobia. However, Mayor Van Duyne posted a lengthy and articulate response to these people on Facebook and said that people living in America should embrace and obey the law.

Still, it’s scary to see how much this action has angered Muslims living in America. For some reason they seem to believe that a Muslim court should be able to make decisions in a different way than “normal” courts in the state of Texas.

Now it’s important that state and federal law doesn’t impede the exercise of someone’s religion—that’s a fundamental right of Americans. But there should be no wiggle room for these so-called courts or tribunals to skirt the law by having decisions made in their own courts.



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