Is There Really a ‘Sharia Law’ Islamic Tribunal in Dallas, Texas?

January 28, 2015 Updated: January 29, 2015

Users on Twitter and Facebook this week are saying parts of Texas are now under Sharia law, or Islamic law.

The whole thing appears to be an unfounded rumor that was twisted around when conservative news website Breitbart published an article that says, “ISLAMIC TRIBUNAL CONFIRMED IN TEXAS; ATTORNEY CLAIMS ‘IT’S VOLUNTARY.'”

Some users and other blogs went along with the story but apparently misinterpreted its premise.

The article reads:

Breitbart Texas spoke with one of the “judges,” Dr. Taher El-badawi. He said the tribunal operates under Sharia law as a form of “non-binding dispute resolution.” El-badawi said their organization is “a tribunal, not arbitration.” A tribunal is defined by Meriam-Webster’s Dictionary as “a court or forum of justice.” The four Islamic attorneys call themselves “judges” not “arbitrators.”

El-badawi said the tribunal follows Sharia law to resolve civil disputes in family and business matters. He said they also resolve workplace disputes.

In matters of divorce, El-badawi said that “while participation in the tribunal is voluntary, a married couple cannot be considered divorced by the Islamic community unless it is granted by the tribunal.” He compared their divorce, known as “Talaq,” as something similar to the Catholic practice of annulment in that the church does not recognize civil divorce proceedings as ending a marriage.

According to the Islamic Tribunal’s website, it appears to deal mainly with divorce. However, people apparently thought the organization was trying to interpret a Saudi Arabian- or ISIS-style version of Sharia law, complete with executions, restrictions on women, and other forms of punishment.

The Islamic Tribunal, on its website or in the Breitbart report, never said it was trying to overrule existing federal, state, or local laws and replace it with its interpretation of Sharia law.

So yes, while there is a Islamic Tribunal, all American citizens have to adhere to the laws of the U.S. first and foremost. No other entity can supersede that.

A few weeks ago, Facebook said it would attempt to clean up its news feed for users by offering them the ability to report fake news stories or hoaxes.

Hoax-Slayer’s Brett Christensen told Epoch Times that regarding the Facebook change, “I don’t think the changes will backfire as such, but it remains to be seen how effective they are. After all, Facebook is not actually going to delete the fake-news posts. It will just slow their distribution if a lot of people report them as fake news. A lot of people believe and share the stories, so they are not likely to report them anyway.”

“And, despite the false news annotation that Facebook is promising to display on reported posts, many people will likely share them anyway.”