Karen Lugo

In 2006 a young woman, born and raised a Muslim, came to America. She had escaped an arranged marriage and fled to the Netherlands where she applied for asylum. While in Holland, this woman fell in love with Enlightenment values and became a leading activist in the cause for reform of sharia laws. This woman's name is Ayaan Hirsi Ali.

The harder Ali worked to draw attention to the plight of Muslim women in Western countries, the more she was placed in personal danger from Muslim retaliation. After a high- profile friend was murdered for 'insulting Islam' by making a film about it - and she was warned she would be next - Ayaan came to the United States.

Ali says that multiculturalism often deprives women of their rights when it is tolerance for the sake of consensus. This anniversary of 9/11 is a good time to think about what that message means.

In 2008, a young Muslim woman moved to America from Morocco with her husband, a man to whom she was married forcibly at the age of 17. She filed for divorce after arriving in America the next year, complaining of abuse and what her husband called “punishment.” She told the courts that her husband continued to torment and rape her during the divorce process.

This 18 year-old girl asked the New Jersey judge for a restraining order but the request was denied after the judge considered an iman’s testimony saying that Islamic law requires a wife to comply with her husband’s sexual demands. The imam explained that the husband is prohibited from obtaining sexual satisfaction elsewhere so the wife must obey. The judge acknowledged that this was a case in which religious custom clashed with state law and that the wife had a right to refuse husband’s advances. However, the judge also found that domestic violence and assault did occur, but the judge ruled that the husband did not act with criminal intent since he believed that his estranged wife was required to comply with his demands.

It is true that this ruling was overturned when the appellate judge found the husband’s conduct in forcing sexual relations was “unquestionably knowing,” but why was an un-American standard of justice applied by the trial court judge in this young woman’s case?

Karen Lugo

Karen Lugo is the Founder of the Libertas-West Project and a co-director of the Center for Constitutional Jurisprudence.