An interesting precedent has been set here. From the Chicago Sun-Times, with thanks to EPG:
Attorney Reem Odeh said Saturday that her client, Mae Sallal, of Frankfort, should be able to collect her $15,000 dowry, pending a court ruling in Jordan expected soon.
“They have respect for the American judicial system,” Odeh said.
Sallal won what Odeh thinks is a virtually unprecedented legal victory last month before Will County Circuit Court Judge Robert Baron. He ruled that an Islamic marriage contract — known as an Aqed Zawage — could be enforced in the United States. In the past, Odeh said, judges have been reluctant to uphold religious contracts as binding law.
In that contract, which the couple signed in Jordan where they were married eight years ago, husband Rami Sallal agreed to pay $10,000 Jordanian dinars as a Muacher, or deferred dowry, if the couple split up. He also agreed to give her gold and other jewelry at her wedding as a dowry. In Muslim culture, dowries are given from males to females, said Mae Sallal, who is Palestinian. Rami Sallal is from Jordan.
Here is the main point:
Aaron Jaffe, a Cook County Chancery Court judge who formerly worked in the domestic relations division, said there are no legally binding religious contracts in American law. Jaffe, who is Maria Jaffe’s father-in-law, could recall no instances when he upheld Islamic religious law.