As Mayor of Irving, Beth Van Duyne’s public clash with the local Islamic Tribunal more than four years ago gained her fame and admiration when she went up against mosque leaders for creating a special court just for Muslims in non-criminal cases. The mayor’s stance against the Islamic tribunal made her an internet celebrity with headlines such as “Texas Mayor Shuts Down ‘Shariah Court’ in Heroic Way.”
Dallas News As s mayor of Irving, Van Duyne accused Zia Sheikh, imam at the Islamic Center of Irving and other imams of “bypassing American courts” by offering to mediate disputes among their worshippers according to an Islamic code called Sharia.
At the Islamictribunal.org website, Van Duyne noticed the imams at the website referred to themselves as “attorneys” and “judges” even though none of them were lawyers or practice law in the State of Texas. She noted a phone number for legal services. There was also a disclaimer at the bottom that read: “Don’t send us any confidential material, before an attorney client relationship has been established.”
They were even charging for their services. They listed divorce cases, product liability, business, and real estate litigations as their legal specialties. Mayor Van Duyne wanted to know why anyone would subject themselves to Sharia law in the United States while everyone is protected under the U.S. Constitution!
And she repeatedly noted, her biggest concern was for women were treated differently than men under Sharia law, put at a great disadvantage, and denied basic rights we are all guaranteed.
In a Facebook post, Van Duyne vowed to contact state legislators and “fight with every fiber of my being” against creeping sharia law which violates the most basic human rights. But setting up a separate court with separate laws where imams are called “judges” cannot be allowed in this country.”
The mayor said Sheikh asked for an apology and retraction of her Facebook post. Sheikh said he simply “asked her to clarify a statement … which seemed very Islamophobic.” “She flat-out refused,” he said. “She said, ‘My statement wasn’t inflammatory in any way, shape or form.’”
Despite a great deal of pushback and non-stop attacks from Muslims and the leftist media in Texas, Beth Van Duyne, a woman of great courage managed to push the envelope off the table on Sharia’s implementation in Irving, Texas. It led to the introduction of a bill that would forbid judges from using foreign law in their rulings.
In response to the bill’s passage, Zia Sheikh said, “We don’t care about the bill. It’s not going to affect us in any way, shape or form. The bottom line is the foundation of this bill is anti-Islamic.”
In March 2015, at the behest of Van Duyne, the Irving City Council voted 5-4 to pass a resolution in support of an anti-Sharia bill then making its way through the Texas Legislature. While that anti-Sharia bill in Texas died, a similar law passed in 2017.
Although the bill does not specifically mention the words “Islam,” “sharia,” or “Muslims,” local Muslims feel this is clearly “anti-sharia” legislation. “I think it’s the most disgraceful day in the city of Irving,” Omar Suleiman, a Muslim resident of Irving told a local CBS affiliate. “The elephant in the room is that it’s the anti-sharia bill.”
For her efforts, Van Duyne was honored by the national ACT for America organization during its annual conference in Washington in 2016. She was given the group’s National Security Patriot Award. One of ACT’s main goals is to use its chapter network across the country to lobby state lawmakers to introduce anti-Muslim legislation, including anti-Sharia bills.
In June 2015, Van Duyne received an award from the Center for Security Policy, a group known for publishing dubious reports about Muslims and Sharia.
On Aug. 5, Van Duyne stepped down as the Fort Worth regional director of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, a post she had held since 2017. She is seeking the Republican nomination for Texas’ 24th Congressional District after Rep. Kenny Marchant announced he wouldn’t run for re-election. From 2011 to 2017, Van Duyne was mayor of Irving, Texas, a Dallas suburb.
Under Beth’s leadership as a Mayor of Irving, TX, the city became one of the best and safest towns in the great state of Texas. Beth Van Duyne’s achievements attracted the attention of President Trump’s administration and accepted to serve, this time, at the national level in the Department of Housing and Urban Development Office in Fort Worth.