American Law? Or Christian Law, Muslim Law, Jewish Law?

The Minnesota Court of Appeals has rejected an argument that would essentially have required a lower court to divide the proceeds of a wrongful-death suit under shariah (Islamic law) rules governing inheritance. The decision was based on technical grounds, leaving open the question of whether a state court would apply shariah in the future.

Nadir Ibrahim Ombabi, a 57-year-old taxi driver, was killed October 29, 2012, in a car accident outside Minneapolis. Ombabi was a native of Sudan, where he was a family doctor, and was working on becoming certified as a medical doctor in the U.S. when he died. He was active in Minnesota’s Sudanese community.

Ombabi left behind a wife, mother, brother, and sisters. He married Nariman Sirag Elsayed Khalil in Sudan, under Islamic law. Reportedly, she was still living in Africa when Ombabi died, and he would “often send back money to help his family.” His brother was living in California and a sister in Canada.

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