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Sunday, November 18, 2012

Muslim Judge Accused of Using Sharia Law in Family Court

United States Defense League
November 17, 2012
FLEMINGTON — The legal battle over alimony payments in New Jersey has turned into a clash of civilizations with an activist group accusing an Arab Muslim judge of imposing Sharia, or Islamic law, on Family Court cases.

Family Court Judge Hany Mawla first made headlines in 2010 when then-Gov. Jon Corzine made him the first Muslim-American appointed to the state Superior Court.

Mawla lately has drawn renewed attention for his rulings on alimony payments. In one case, which is being championed by advocates of alimony reform, Pennsylvania resident John Waldorf remains in Hunterdon County Jail after a month because he was unable to pay his ex-wife the $8,000 monthly payments Mawla ordered

“It is obvious what Judge Mawla is doing is a ‘jihad’ against men in general and fathers specifically,” Bruce Eden, civil rights director of the state chapter of Dads Against Discrimination, said in a statement this week. “Therefore, as a fathers' rights group we intend to initiate a ‘crusade’ to remove this vermin from the bench.”

In an interview, Eden said Malal, whose parents left Egypt when he was a toddler, is following the Sharia practice of throwing debtors in jail.

“(His religion) is compounding the issue,” he said.

Mawla could not be reached for comment, but Gadeir Abbas, staff attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, called Eden’s statement “an anti-Muslim rant that relies on the same type of slanders that have been used in the past to attack Catholics and Jews.”

“I’m not comfortable mirroring Gov. Christie’s statement on anti-Muslim sentiment as ‘just crap,’ but I certainly share that sentiment,” he said, referring to comments Christie made last year defending his appointment of Indian-born Sohail Mohammed as the state’s second Muslim Superior Court judge.

“The guy is an American citizen!” Christie said at the time. “Sharia Law business is just crap (..) and I’m tried of dealing with the crazies.”

Other advocates for alimony reform, including N.J. Alimony Reform, see the issue as more of a legal problem than a religious one, calling alimony laws outdated and biased against men.

A state Senate committee in June approved a resolution to create a blue ribbon committee to study alimony. A separate bipartisan bill (S1388) allowing judges to modify child support and alimony payments based on an obligator’s change in employment and income was approved by Senate and Assembly committees in February.

Currently, judges are allowed to calculate alimony payments based on a spouses’ standard of living before the divorce, ability to pay and what a spouse could be expected to pay in the future.

“If you’re not working and can’t find full-time work, what are you supposed to do?” said Mitchell Jakubowski, a contractor from Raritan Township, who joined a demonstration Friday morning outside the Hunterdon County Courthouse to protest Mawla.

“This particular judge in here right now forced me two years ago to liquidate everything I have. I’m 57 years old, I have no retirement, no savings, I have absolutely nothing,” he said. “Granted, you have a certain amount of people who are deadbeats. But when you have people showing a genuine effort and you just lump them in with everybody else? What does that accomplish?”

Debbie Frank, 61, Waldorf’s live-in girlfriend, said Waldorf was making $4,500 monthly payments, but not enough to meet the $8,000, which he is no longer able to afford as an engineer. He also is no longer able to afford an attorney, Frank said.

“He is short $3,000 a month, so it adds up quickly,” she said at the demonstration. “He may be losing his job if he is not released from jail.”

Eden said he reviewed 10 years of Waldorf’s federal tax returns showing that his “best year ever” he made $147,000.

“Waldorf is paying over 100 percent of his income” after taxes, Eden said.

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