On tonight’s Glenn Beck Program, Glenn was joined by Dr. Taher El-Badawi and Imam Moujahed Bakhach to discuss the Islamic Tribunal in Texas. Believed to be the first such body operating in the United States, the tribunal operates as a legal non-profit and follows Sharia law. In the interview, Glenn let the two men speak at length about the role of the Islamic Tribunal in their community and why people shouldn’t be afraid of Sharia law.
While both guests said that they don’t have the authority to enforce the Islamic Tribunal’s rulings and those involved have to decide for themselves if they will adhere, they also didn’t shy away from some of the harsher punishments in Sharia law.
This is one interview you need to watch and decide for yourself how you feel about the story:
Below is the transcript of the interview.
Glenn: Well, hello, America, and welcome to The Glenn Beck Program and to TheBlaze. This is the network that you are building. North Texas is the last place in the world I would expect to hear about sharia law in the local news, but that’s exactly what is happening. Texas, you’d better wake up. It’s now catching the eye of the nation, but the gentlemen you’re about to hear tonight are ones…they are the principals involved, and they have not been on the national news yet.
Let me quickly get you up to speed on the story. A group of Muslims have created what is believed to be the very first official sharia law system in the United States of America in the form of an Islamic tribunal. The leaders of the tribunal call it a “nonbinding arbitration firm that adheres to Islamic principles.” Leaders also claim that it would only make decisions on noncriminal cases and defer to state and local laws and courts on criminal cases.
Now, many people are concerned that this is the beginning of what has already happened in the UK, where they now have 85 sharia courts. The BBC investigated and found extensive abuse among women, among other human rights violations. Can we expect the same pattern to follow here in the United States?
I want to make it really clear. All of our churches, our synagogues, we have our own tribunals, if you will. You can be excommunicated from your church. You have councils that tell you and help counsel you on how to live your life in your own personal life. If that’s what this is, then we can’t expect anybody to be any different.
I spoke earlier today with the leaders of the Islamic tribunal. They are at the center of all of this. I want you to watch carefully and listen carefully, and you decide what this tribunal is really all about.
When people hear sharia law, they tend to get a little nervous. Can you understand that?
Imam Bakhach: Yes, I understand that, but I want them to understand what is sharia law, why we didn’t speak about sharia law the way that they think about. Sharia law is not what they are talking about and they are protesting, because we protest the same way if that would be sharia law. Sharia law, the word sharia first as an Arabic term refers to a set of rules and regulations, principles, guidelines for the Muslim to live with, and this includes family issues, includes manners, behavior characters, including marriage divorces, including inheritance law, including a lot of aspects of the family and the social things.
Also, if there is true state, to say, to claim that I am Islamic, which we don’t have today, long time ago, even Saudi Arabia is not practicing sharia law the way that it should be, there’s no need to talk about it, because it does not exist. But we have here as we are dealing with the Islamic tribunal that we are trying to help those who came from different backgrounds, culture packages, and Muslim from different nationalities in this society just really being here, and they have issues.
When they have disputes, in a family dispute, to say, they appoint one or panel to arbitrate or to mediate and to tell them what they should do from Islamic point of view.
Glenn: So, if a woman goes to the tribunal, or she doesn’t go to the tribunal, she goes to a U.S. court to get a divorce, is she divorced?
Imam Bakhach: That’s the very great misconception. Both of them parallel with each other, because the Islamic divorce will not be sufficient without the American civil divorce. At the same time, if she went to the court that we have many times on most of the cases are true to say that go to the court first, being granted decree from the judge that being divorced in the court would not be sufficient for the Muslim individual, he or she, that to be enough. He still is in need or she is in need to have the Islamic divorce, because the marriage being established through the word of God—
Glenn: But will she get the divorce? If the U.S. gives her a divorce, will she get the divorce through the Islamic court as well?
Imam Bakhach: That’s what I’m saying, because here there’s no need for that maybe, but when she go back home to travel to go like…on a very common, the most and the strongest our ally in the Middle East, Jordan, will not accept the only American divorce. They ask the embassy from here and go back to the country. Go back, we need the Islamic divorce. So, where to go? She will come to our tribunal to be granted that way. As a mediator, I mediate. We mediate the issue first, and then there is no solution, you got the American divorce? Yes, so we can discuss that and have meeting for the process.
Glenn: Is a woman’s testimony as valuable as a man’s testimony?
Imam Bakhach: Absolutely. Most of the cases that woman applying, not for men. Actually, we see the men object. I have a case yesterday, today is Monday, yesterday in Fort Worth, a lady from Djibouti. They married tribal system way. I’m not familiar with that. I’m from Lebanon. What they do, the chief of the tribe, he performed the marriage, and it was verbal. There is no document to sign. There is no paper, nothing. She came here as a refugee, been here now two years. Her husband was not granted the refugee status, so he still in Djibouti.
Now she wants to finish the relationship. What to do? She doesn’t have the money to go to the court or to give the lawyers or something, but she need only Islamic divorce. What to do? When I asked give me the address, there’s no address. “Why there’s no address?” to me, I wondered. She said because he has three cows and one donkey in that village. There is no way to reach. So, how to reach him to contact him to tell him that your wife applying for divorce? I didn’t accept the case yet to say, but this case happened yesterday, is the most recent situation we have.
Muslim community, wherever they are, they came from different background, different culture packages, and different traditions, you know, so different understanding. Misunderstandings really common among the men to understand that wife have no right to apply for divorce. We say no, it’s not true. Fourteen hundred years ago, God gave her the right to apply for divorce, but what we as Islamic tribunal do, advise to go first to the court and then to be granted that way, whatever now, especially when they have children and custody and all the child support and the visitation rights and no traveling, documents, international law, all this stuff that we cannot ourself handle it.
Glenn: So help me out, because, you know, I look at sharia law as it is being used around the world, and it allows for abuse. It allows for slavery. It allows for the stoning of homosexuals. I mean, it pretty much makes lawful everything that most Americans despise.
Imam Bakhach: That’s what the mistake misconception. I’m very thankful to all of you to help us to come here to clarify this position. As you know, there is a criminal court, and there is civil court. We cannot, no way to discuss the criminal court because all the time scary tactics here, sharia, no sharia, in a way that cutting the hand off or chopping the head, this is not sharia. It is not sharia. What we see and overseas now with ISIS, ISIL, the whole Muslim world condemned that and rejected it, unacceptable.
Glenn: Not true.
Imam Bakhach: At least from our side to say we condemn that.
Glenn: Where’s the reformation come from then? You’re saying that you don’t practice that kind of sharia law. Who is the reformer that you look to that says—
Imam Bakhach: For every Muslim actually that’s a student of knowledge or a scholar to start, first of all, the sharia law does not refer to the government, not refer to the civil…it was in the hand of scholars, religious scholars, to translate the text that mentioned in the Qur’an, and that’s called the first resource of the law. With the Jews, they have their law. The Christians, they have law. So the law based on any, as we say to any Muslim, wherever you are living, if you have a problem, first to say what God says in the book. Then you go to the next.
Glenn: But Jews and Christians don’t believe that man making laws is an abomination, where it’s my understanding that in the Islamic culture, man doesn’t make laws, God makes laws, and that’s sharia law.
Imam Bakhach: Who is beyond the sharia? The sharia means a holy text mentioned, whether general or specific. For example, Muslims, we do not drink alcohol. Why? Because God says in the Qur’an don’t drink alcohol.
Imam Bakhach: Why we don’t eat swine, for example, prohibited, so the law prohibition, that permissibility is mentioned in the Qur’an even when we pray and when we respect our parents, respect the elders, all of this in the law. My point really I want to make clear here is not the issue of cutting the hands and even the criminal law. It’s not just because somebody steal and then cut the hand. It’s not that way. There is a system of investigation, a system of hearing, and a system of finding out if it’s criminal. We have execution. Just recently somebody executed in the jail because confessed and proven beyond doubt.
Glenn: There is a separation here. I’m assuming you both would say the Constitution is great, but God willing, you would rather live under sharia law, under Islamic rule.
Imam Bakhach: If you understand what the intents and the objectives and the principles of the Islamic law from Islamic perspective to say what the goal achieved, what the desire of God intended from these laws. We have five major departments—to preserve the faith for the individual, regardless what his faith is or the Christian, Muslim, Jewish, atheist, doesn’t matter in the society, to protect the soul that nobody to attack without any right.
I mean any right if not violated by a human being that he did not commit a crime to be deserving the punishment, then will be Islam very sure and very clear and very strict that nobody has a right to violate and attack this innocent person as we see today done by many so-called ISIS, ISIL, or others. That’s not Islamic sharia, by the way or to protect the mind or to preserve the mind or preserve the offspring, the children and the wealth, the fifth one.
So, all the objectives of the sharia are of Islamic law, to say, that’s called sharia in Arabic to preserve all this point. It’s not just cutting or chopping. That’s not the issue. We have nothing to do…let’s go back to the point. We are here today. We are here. We’re dealing with the issue of family disputes, and we mediate, and we arbitrate. They ask us we need help, what Islam say, because a lot of ignorance among the Muslims themselves.
So, what we should do? What should I do as a wife? Where to go? What do you advise me to do? Do I have the right or not have right? We have somebody an Islamic point of view, when a husband marry his wife, he must, not an optional, must give his wife gift and to be mentioned in the contract, and this gift can be paid during their life together or at divorce or after death if not paid during the lifetime. That’s her right, because from Islamic law that the wife is not requested to spend any penny on the house. If she want to volunteer chair, that’s okay but not requested.
The husband, there’s the commitment from the beginning of the marriage, I’m willing to commit myself to take care of you and the family. There’s talking of commitment but must be given. Why must be given? Because God says in the Qur’an the husband must give his wife. So here now come a time of dispute, he would run away from that. He will try. Fifty thousand dollars, $100,000, he doesn’t want to pay it, so what to do? The wife will ask the help.
The system, with my respect to all the judges, they have no idea what we’re talking about, so I was invited to different courts in Tyler Texas, in Dallas in family court that explain to us what we have, what you do, and how we perform and what does it mean, these things, because through the lawyers, they present the issue, Your Honor, that the husband commit himself to pay on this and this and that, so we need you to approve that and order him to get it through that court, not our court.
Glenn: I think where a lot of people come from is we can all live side by side, and we can all have different faiths. You know, every church has their own kind of little tribunal where, you know, you can be excommunicated, etc., etc., and if that’s what’s happening with the sharia court, then every religion has that, but I think where people come from is there has been no reformation.
I mean, our president just accused Christians of slaughtering people, you know, during the Crusades, but there’s been a reformation. There’s no reformation in Islam. I mean, for instance, the Qur’an says that the trees and the rocks will cry out there is a Jew hiding behind.
Imam Bakhach: It’s not true.
Glenn: It’s not true?
Imam Bakhach: No, I challenge you to bring me that. What’s her name, Barbara Walters, she challenged the minister of education in Saudi Arabia in his palace. I remember that years back.
Glenn: It is in the charter of Hamas.
Imam Bakhach: I don’t know about Hamas. I’ve nothing to do with that issue, but here we are here as Muslim too. You are referring to me that the Qur’an as in the God mentioned in this book, what you are saying about, the cry, that’s not true.
Glenn: Is it in the hadith?
Imam Bakhach: I’m sorry?
Glenn Is it in the hadith?
Imam Bakhach: This is fabricated.
Glenn: It’s fabricated? There is no place in any Islamic scripture that says that?
Imam Bakhach: No. You know, when you have every, let’s say the hadith sciences, I’m talking about, they have the sound hadith. They have weak hadith. They have a preferable hadith, so the ranking, more than 23 ranks and levels of hadith sciences that the scholars worked very hard on this to verify how many people added to what is not from. That’s the point.
Glenn: Okay, so well then, an easy way to solve this is you reject Hamas?
Imam Bakhach: Absolutely.
Glenn: One hundred percent reject?
Imam Bakhach: Not reject, condemned.
Glenn: Condemn Hamas?
Imam Bakhach: Absolutely.
Taher El-badawi: I am here, I am sorry to say it, back to the first point, I am here to discuss issue with Islamic tribunal, so please don’t get up ask us to another situation. We are ready for any discussion. It is open.
Glenn: No, I know that.
Taher : We are ready for any point to discuss with, but the main point here, the reason we are here to discuss this issue what kind of cases Islamic tribunal handle, and you start with the sharia. Why the people afraid from sharia? I’m sorry to say it, one point related to this, cut head is not just in sharia law, just in Islamic law. It’s everywhere. Who said that just in Islamic law? That’s even another sharia, in Jewish sharia, in Christian sharia, in American here, we cut we cut head for some reason.
So, I’m asking you an easy question, if anyone kill another, he should get killed by law, by Islamic law, by government. He should get killed. What is wrong with that? If a thief jump, I’m sorry, to your house, scare your wife, scare your children, scare your neighbor, and they did that with our stores, this is the law, the law to cut his hand because if he feels my hands were cut because of that, he will think about this 100 times. He will never do it. If he do that one time, he will never do it again.
Look how many millions of dollars American here or other states or other states outside spend to keep the criminal in jail, a lot of millions of dollars. We can save that, just let him go, and that’s it, because he did something wrong in the whole community and this kill the whole community. Why not? So, back please to the point. Islamic tribunal, yes, we never deal with anything of that. We don’t have authority for that. We don’t have power for that. We just have two cases.
Glenn: You seem to be okay with that if you had the power for that, but you don’t have the power.
Taher: Absolutely not. As Imam said, we have system. We are very organized people. If, last time, sorry for this example, somebody killed my dad, I shouldn’t kill him. I have to take this case to the judge, and judge have to consult the governor. There’s a system, procedure, I have to follow, so it is not like this one killed this, let’s get him killed—no.
I give you just an easy example for leader, [indiscernible]. This is after Prophet Muhammad [indiscernible]. He sent one to Yemen, and he told him, before he leaves, he ask him always as a habit, “What did you do if the people bring a thief for you?” He said I will cut his hand. Okay, he said, you do that, okay? [indiscernible] said, after [indiscernible], he said, okay, if one person came with me without work, unemployed, I will cut your head because he has no job.
If you rob something from the store or grab something from here to eat, nothing happen to you, but if you have your job and enough income to care about your children, and you have house, and you have car, and you rob from any store or thief from here or there, you have…so this is the law, but please, the point with sharia I ask people, we are not here to do that at all. It is not our authority. It is not our power. It is not our job.
We have specific people to do that stuff, and those people have full of power and full of authority, full of knowledge too. So, we are not dealing with these cases at all. It is not our job, and our cases is family cases, just religious part, that’s it.
Imam Bakhach: Even the point that you mentioned, I mean, there is a procedure that there is a judge, hearing sessions to investigate and find out to bring the proof and the evidences beyond doubt that this man, he committed the crime, whether to confess or other evidences or witnesses that saw, the same with the system we see in the civil world today. Then, after all this procedure now found out that there is no doubt that this man, he committed this crime, not toward the hunger, not for the unemployment or whatever the reason, excuses, you know, there is an excuse and doubtful, you know, what’s the reason of doubt of what a crime committed for.
I think at that time the judge would say your case would be, if that any doubt, even the sharia article that you mention about that even a single doubt that this man did not with the intention ahead of time and planning of this, then it would be excused, lesser punishment will be then to be maybe in prison, maybe to pay lien, whatever. But beyond doubt, beyond all this, so there are a lot of procedures to wait until finally he is the one. Then what is the code? And the code, yes, we have a verse in the Qur’an that says—I will say it in Arab—
Taher: Absolutely right.
Imam Bakhach: We in Texas here, we used to have in cowboy time that to hang the people in the public square, downtown maybe to say. Why it was in public, not behind the walls in the jail? Because let the people to see the crime committed like this will be the same punishment and preserve, as we said, one of the principles and objectives that the sharia are to see what to accomplish that to observe and protect the rest of the society from such crime or such, you know, person to be evil that way.
Glenn: What do you think? We let them say their piece, and you have to decide. By the way, I’m not an Islamic scholar, but it is in the hadith what I referred to. Let me quote. “I heard Allah’s Apostle saying, ‘The Jews will fight with you, and you will be given victory over them so that a stone will say, ’O Muslim! There is a Jew behind me; kill him!’” That’s in the second-highest or most accepted volume of the hadith.
The most accepted volume of the hadith uses it, saying, “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘You Muslims will fight with the Jews till some of them will hide behind stones. The stones will (betray them) saying, ’O ’Abdullah (i.e. slave of Allah)! There is a Jew hiding behind me; so kill him.’”
If we can’t trust an Imam, a scholar that knows the hadith, the two most respected volumes of the hadith, and he denies that he has ever even heard that, how do we trust the rest of what he said? Back in a minute.