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A Project of The Annenberg Public Policy Center

No Legalization of Sharia Law

Q: Did a Muslim federal judge rule two parts of sharia law legal?

A: No. That only happened in a fake story on a satirical website.


Sharia is a term for the religious and secular duties, as well as punishments for lawbreaking, based on the tenets of Islam. A headline on NewsFeedObserver.com declares that a “Muslim Federal Judge Rules Two Items Of Sharia Law Legal” in the United States.

According to the July 24 post, “Judge Mahal al Alallaha-Smith of the 22nd District Federal Court of Appeals ruled this morning that ‘two critical issues for Muslims’ in Sharia Law had to be abided by in the United States court system because of the systematic infusion clause and because the 14th Amendment guarantees them the rights guaranteed by other states.”

Facebook users flagged the story as potentially fake news, and for good reason.

A disclaimer on a separate page of the website says: “NewsFeedObserver.com is a satirical publication that may sometimes appear to be telling the truth. We assure you that’s not the case. We present fiction as fact and our sources don’t actually exist.”

Even without that warning, which isn’t readily apparent to readers, some major details in the story prove it’s bogus.

First, Judge Mahal al Alallaha-Smith isn’t real. The photo featured in the story on NewsFeedObserver.com has been altered. In the original version on CNN.com, the nameplate says Halim Dhanidina. Dhanidina is a Muslim and a judge, but for the Los Angeles County Superior Court, which is not a federal court.

The “22nd District Federal Court of Appeals” doesn’t exist, either. The U.S. Courts of Appeals is made up of just 13 appellate courts.

There’s also no such thing as the “systematic infusion clause.” And the 14th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution says, “No state shall … deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws.” It says nothing about “rights guaranteed by other states.”

The fake story appears to have been originally published on Asamericanasapplepie.org, another satirical website. A disclaimer on its “about us” page says: “When no one can trust the lying fake news liberal media anymore because they hate us and guns and Harley Davidson and meat and OUR president, As American as Apple Pie is here to be your beacon of something you can kinda rely on sometimes but not really.”

That site published a fake follow-up story on July 27 under the headline “Trump Removes Muslim Federal Judge For Allowing Sharia In America.”

Editor’s note: FactCheck.org is one of several organizations working with Facebook to help identify and label viral fake news stories flagged by readers on the social media network.


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Leovy, Jill. “Great Read: Faith Informs Work of State’s First Muslim Judge.” Los Angeles Times. 2 Feb 2015.

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About the U.S. Courts of Appeals.” Uscourts.gov. Accessed 28 Jul 2017.

14th Amendment.” Law.cornell.edu. Accessed 27 Jul 2017.

As American As Apple Pie. “Muslim Federal Judge Rules Two Items Of Sharia Law Legal.” Facebook.com. 24 Jul 2017.

About.” Asamericanasapplepie.org. Accessed 27 Jul 2017.