NJ.com, the online news amalgamator, reports on an interesting legal case. An American Muslim has been convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting his wife. His arguments—at one time accepted by a lower court—were that his behavior was withing the traditional bounds of his culture. A higher court disagreed and sent him back for a new trial.
I do not doubt that many Muslims share this man’s belief that he was behaving correction and appropriately. Indeed, his behavior would not raise many eyebrows in more than a few countries. He is not, however, being railroaded by an anti-Muslim judicial system. Rather, the State of New Jersey is applying its laws uniformly and noting that personal beliefs, including religious beliefs, do not hold a higher value than laws generated by a state or country’s own values.
I don’t know whether we’ll be seeing YouTube videos calling for the President to pardon this man. He may have enough friends to make that happen. Bus, as in the case of Homaidan Al-Turki, the arguments will be no more persuasive. The just observation of human rights—including the right of women to say no to sex—is considered far more worthy of protection than an individual’s perception of what is permissible.
A Bayonne man faces up to 20 years in prison after being convicted of kidnapping and sexually assaulting his wife, whom he met for the first time at their wedding in Morocco in 2008.
The case made headlines in August when an appeals court reversed a ruling by Hudson County Superior Court Judge Joseph Charles, who refused to give the wife a restraining order even though the judge concluded there was “clear proof” the husband engaged in nonconsensual sex with her in November 2008 and January 2009.
Charles, a former assemblyman and state senator, said he did not feel the husband “had a criminal desire to or intent to sexually assault . He was operating under his belief that it is, as the husband, his desire to have sex when and whether he wanted to, was consistent with his practices and was something that was not prohibited.”
The appellate court’s June 23 reversal said Charles was “mistaken” in his theory that the husband’s personal belief system trumped state statutes against rape.