Sharia in NJ? More crazy talk from Gingrich and Co.

Gingrich has aligned himself with the wackos.

Sharia in NJ? More crazy talk from Gingrich and Co.

The small cadre of hysterical conservatives who’ve been stirring up local fear of Islamic law like to point to New Jersey.

That’s where they found their one — and only — example of “creeping Shariah” in our courts. In 2009, a Hudson County judge gave too much weight to the religious beliefs of a Moroccan man accused of sexually assaulting his wife. The decision was overturned on appeal, and now the convicted defendant, who lives in Bayonne, faces up to 20 years in state prison.

But no matter. Commentators like Newt Gingrich, who wants a federal law banning Shariah, still use this case to insist that Islamic law is taking over. He talks only about the trial judge, who wrongly ruled this wasn’t assault because the man was motivated not by criminal intent, but by his cultural belief that a wife must yield to her husband.

As with other clearly bad decisions, it was promptly reversed by appellate judges. Religious beliefs do not trump U.S. laws, just as they don’t in cases of Mormon men defending their right to polygamy, or Jehovah’s Witnesses refusing blood transfusions for children, they ruled.

Still, the case was used to fan anti-Muslim fervor across the country, with Nevada tea partier Sharron Angle wildly claiming that Shariah law had taken hold in Michigan and Texas, and Oklahoman voters approving a ballot measure banning Shariah in their state.

Oddly, no one seems worried about a similar takeover by polygamists. Just wait ‘til Gingrich tunes in to that HBO series, Big Love.

 

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