(PJ Media) -- Judges’ consideration of Shari‘a when deciding cases may be the most alarming avenue by which Islam influences Western legal systems, but it is not the only one. With increasing regularity, Islamic practices sway the administration of courtrooms, affecting when sessions are held, who must rise, and what attire is permissible. This trend should not be overlooked. Courts that yield to Islamic norms, even in mundane matters, encourage Islamists and cast doubt on the future of equal rights and responsibilities under the law.
Ramadan. The Islamic month of fasting can require significant shuffling of schedules by devout Muslims, but are secular courts obligated to alter theirs? Some answer in the affirmative.
Muslim convert Mark Edward Wetsch is one recent beneficiary. Charged with robbing 13 Minnesota banks, he objected to a hearing set for July 20, 2012, the first day of Ramadan, and asked that it be pushed back for a month. Though Judge Jeanne Graham initially declined the request, he persisted. Ramadan means “not engaging in conflict and argument,” but rather taking part in “work to reconcile differences and seek peace,” according to a motion filed on his behalf. “Clearly, a contested hearing in which the government is making allegations against Mr. Wetsch and he is fighting against [them] causes him to engage in conflict and argument.” Graham relented and issued the desired continuance.
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