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Sharia Law Preventing American Muslim Couples From Adopting?

(AP)- Helene Lauffer knew Muslim children – orphaned, displaced, neglected – needed homes in the United States. She knew American Muslim families wanted to take them in.

But Lauffer, associate executive director of Spence-Chapin, one of the oldest adoption agencies in the country, couldn’t bring them together.

The problem was a gap between Western and Islamic law. Traditional, closed adoption violates Islamic jurisprudence, which stresses the importance of lineage. Instead, Islam has a guardianship system called kafalah that resembles foster care, yet has no exact counterpart in Western law.

The differences have left young Muslims with little chance of finding a permanent Muslim home in America. So Lauffer sought out a group of Muslim women scholars and activists, hoping they could at least start a discussion among U.S. Muslims about how adoption and Islamic law could become compatible.

“At the end of the day, it’s about trying to find families for kids,” said Lauffer.

Lauffer is not alone in raising the issue. As Muslim communities become more established in the United States, pressure is building for a re-examination of Islamic law on adoption.

Refugee children from Afghanistan, Iraq and elsewhere are being resettled here. Muslim couples who can’t conceive want to adopt, but don’t want to violate their faith’s teachings. State child welfare agencies that permanently remove Muslim children from troubled homes usually can’t find Muslim families to adopt them because of the restrictions in Islamic law.

www. washingtonpost. com

Answer Question

Asked by SavageGrl at 11:57 AM on Nov. 29, 2010 in Politics & Current Events

Level 18 (6,045 Credits)
Answers (5)
  • oh, that's so sad.

    Answer by lovinangels at 12:07 PM on Nov. 29, 2010

  • There are still closed adoptions in this country? I thought those went the way of the Edsel.

    Answer by gdiamante at 1:24 PM on Nov. 29, 2010

  • Here I was thinking there was NO Sharia Law in the US...................................

    Answer by yourspecialkid at 1:33 PM on Nov. 29, 2010

  • So arrange open adoptions. How hard can that be! I mean I can see a problem if the children are removed, but if the chldren are orphaned what is the problem with open adoptions. Maybe the problem is at Spence-Chapin where they like to be in charge of the information. Isn't that a Catholic organization anyway? Maybe the Islamic community needs to establish their own adoption agency. Maybe it already has, but Spence-Chapin has all the government contacts with CPS?  Very interesting question.  It doesn't sound all that complicated to me though.


    Answer by LoveMyDog at 4:36 PM on Nov. 29, 2010

  • YSK, the complications have nothing to do with "Sharia Law" in the US, but rather the laws regarding Islam outside of the US. It takes both countries to make international adoptions happen. Do you remember the story about the Tennessee woman who put her adopted son an an international flight back to Russia, his homeland, because he was, according to her, out of control? Russia banned adopting Russian children to American families after that, and whether or not we agree with it, it's within their rights to decide who can adopt their children. This is no different. It may be sad, but it certainly does not offer any proof of Sharia Law in the US.


    Answer by jsbenkert at 6:47 PM on Nov. 29, 2010

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