Thursday, March 24, 2011

Florida Judge Issues Explanatory Opinion In Mosque Arbitration Case

On Tuesday a Florida state circuit court judge issued a written opinion in Mansour v. Islamic Education Center of Tampa, Inc., (FL Cir. Ct., March 22, 2011), in order to "discuss the facts, procedural history and analysis" that led to a now-controversial order that Islamic law would be used in deciding whether to enforce an arbitration award between a mosque and certain trustees of the mosque who had been removed from office. (See prior posting.) The court explained:
From the outset of learning of the purported arbitration award, the court’s concern has been whether there were ecclesiastical principles for dispute resolution involved that would compel the court to adopt the arbitration decision without considering state law. Decisional case law both in Florida and the United States Supreme Court tells us that ecclesiastical law controls certain relations between members of a religious organization, whether a church, synagogue, temple or mosque....

The court has concluded that as to the question of enforceability of the arbitrator's award the case should proceed under ecclesiastical Islamic law.... The court will require further testimony to determine whether the Islamic dispute resolution procedures have been followed in this matter.
[Thanks to Michael A. Helfand via Religionlaw for the lead.]