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 S. Corzine made him the first Muslim-American appointed to state Superior Court.
UPDATE: Alimony reformers distance themselves from ‘anti-Muslim’ attack
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 Mawla, whose parents moved to Egypt when he was a boy, 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.