Kathryn Lopez

In a case in which a Muslim, Moroccan-born 26-year-old mother of two was petitioning for an expedited divorce from a man who had beaten her and threatened her life, Judge Christa Datz-Winter denied the woman's request, a woman who already had a restraining order on her husband after police were called last May because he attacked her. The reason for the injudicious divorce denial? The Koran, the judge said, instructs that "men are in charge of women." She explained further that the couple hails from a "Moroccan cultural environment in which it is not uncommon for a man to exert a right of corporal punishment over his wife."

I'm not normally a fan of speedy divorce -- or of divorce at all, for that matter. But surely divorce exists for precisely these circumstances.

Clearly, Datz-Winter's was a reprehensible ruling. But it's also one that highlights real problems we face all over the world. It's at the heart of this war we're in. It's at the heart of struggles by so-called moderate Muslims who would never dream of beating their wives or condoning anyone who would engage in or justify such brutality.

The ruling epitomizes the struggle that nations -- East and West -- are facing as they weigh issues of multiculturalism and Sharia (Islamic) law influences. And it shows that some nations have taken multiculturalism too far.

A friend who has been intimately involved in more terror cases than he'd ever want to think about remarked about the case: "I think we've hit a new low. Does the next judge say: 'We can't proceed against these jihadists because the Koran says jihad is a Muslim obligation'? Oh, wait a minute, I forgot -- a judge already did that in Yemen." He was referring to a case last year in which 19 alleged members of Al Qaeda were exonerated for plotting to kill Westerners by blowing up a hotel frequented by Americans because the presiding judge ruled, "Islamic Sharia law permits jihad against occupiers."

For years, commentators like Melanie Phillips, author of the 2006 book "Londonistan," have been cautioning otherwise ignorant Westerners of the threat to human rights abroad -- and, increasingly, at home. In her book, Phillips wrote: "Britain is in denial. Having allowed the country to turn into a global hub of the Islamic jihad without apparently giving it a second thought, the British establishment is still failing even now -- despite the wake-up calls of both 9/11 and the London bomb attacks of 2005 -- to acknowledge what it is actually facing and take the appropriate action."


Kathryn Lopez

Kathryn Jean Lopez, editor of National Review Online, writes a weekly column of conservative political and social commentary for Newspaper Enterprise Association.
 


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