Q: Is Sharia law now in effect in Utah and other U.S. states?
A: No. Two stories circulating online falsely claim that various American courts have instituted Sharia.
Two bogus stories being shared on Facebook claim that Sharia has been adopted by American courts at the state and federal level.
One story says the Islamic religious law is in effect in Utah, and the other story says it applies nationwide. Both stories are false and were rightly flagged as such by Facebook users.
Appeals Court Didn’t Legalize Sharia
The headline on the story claiming that Sharia is now the law of the land nationwide says: “9th Circuit Court Betrays America: Sharia Law Now Legal In All 50 States.”
It originated on Reagan Was Right, a self-described satirical website that says it tries to fool conservatives. Its “about” page says: “Everything on this website is fiction.” But other sites that posted the story had no such disclaimer.
The original story’s opening line says: “The liberal 9th Circuit Court of Appeals extended their session to 10 PM eastern last night to finalize their ruling to overturn a case that essentially makes Sharia Law legal in America.”
For example, the story quotes a fictional “legal analyst” named “Professor Art Tubolls,” who was referred to in other stories on the same site as a “correspondent” and a “publicist.” It also refers to a nonexistent law clerk for Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts.
We checked with the Supreme Court, and “Bobby Mulvaney” does not work for Roberts. The legal website Above the Law posted the names of his current clerks here.
The fact is, 11 states prohibit the use of foreign or religious laws in their courts, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The 9th Circuit Court of Appeals hasn’t done anything to change that.
Distorting a Utah Rape Case
The headline on the second story wrongly proclaims: “Sharia Law Now In Full Effect In One State After What Judge Gave Muslim Rapist Special Permission To Do.”
That story was originally published by Freedom Daily, a conservative website that says: “We post and decipher content to a level that is consistent with a common sense approach and falls in line with the ideals of American liberty and freedom.”
In reality, Mohammed Ali Mohammed, a Somali refugee, served six years in a juvenile detention center after pleading guilty to raping two women in Salt Lake City, Utah, in 2011 when he was 14, according to the Salt Lake Tribune. In November, a Utah judge sentenced Mohammed — now almost 21, and too old for a juvenile facility — to probation instead of time in state prison.
But Freedom Daily spun that story into an anti-Islamic diatribe that starts this way: “American citizens continue to feel the devastating effects where Muslim refugees have been allowed to invade… Now it appears as though Sharia Law in a state of Utah is in full effect, after the sickening thing that Muslim refugees are now allowed to do to American women without any fear of legal repressions.” (The emphasis is the website’s own.)
The story — without any evidence — says that the state trial court judge, Vernice Trease, decided “to let the Muslim go free apparently because he was a Muslim.” It also falsely says: “One of the pillars of Islam is raping non-Muslim women.”
Actually, the five pillars of Islam are: professing faith, praying five times a day, giving to charity, fasting for Ramadan and making a pilgrimage to Mecca. And Trease didn’t let Mohammed off completely free, either.
As we said, he was sentenced to five years of probation, and he has to wear an ankle monitoring device, among other restrictions. Trease said she “won’t bat an eye” at sending him to prison if he violates his probation in any way, the Tribune reported.
In addition, two images published side-by-side at the top of the story on Freedom Daily have nothing to do with Mohammed’s case.
One is a 2015 photo of refugees at a train station in Munich, Germany, and the other is a photo from the scene of a 2015 accident in which a Los Angeles police sergeant was hit by a car while investigating a late-night robbery.
“9th Circuit Court Betrays America: Sharia Law Now Legal In All 50 States.” Reaganwasright.com. 28 Nov 2017.
Schwartz, John. “‘Liberal’ Reputation Precedes Ninth Circuit Court.” New York Times. 24 Apr 2010.
Wheeler, Russell. “Trump wants to ‘break up the Ninth Circuit.’ How would that help him?” The Brookings Institution. 16 May 2017.
Zapotosky, Matt. “Federal appeals court rules 3 to 0 against Trump on travel ban.” Washington Post. 9 Feb 2017.
Jackson, Brooks, et. al. “Facts on Trump’s Immigration Order.” FactCheck.org. 1 Feb 2017.
“Sharia Law Now In Full Effect In One State After What Judge Gave Muslim Rapist Special Permission To Do.” Freedom Daily. 30 Nov 2017.
Miller, Jessica. “A 14-year-old Somali refugee raped two Utah women in 2011. Six years later, a judge gives him probation instead of prison time.” Salt Lake Tribune. 27 Nov 2017.
Francis, Simone. “Teen rapist sentenced to probation.” ABC 4 Utah. 30 Nov 2017.
Pillars of Islam. Encyclopaedia Britannica. Accessed 5 Dec 2017.
National Conference of State Legislatures. “State Resources on the Prohibition of the Use of Foreign or Religious Law in State Courts.” 6 Jul 2017.
Hardach, Sophie. “The refugees housed at Dachau: ‘Where else should I live?’” The Guardian. 19 Sep 2015.
“LAPD officer struck by car while responding to robbery call.” ABC 7. 15 Sep 2015.