Justice Halim Dhanidina was recently advanced to California’s Courts of Appeal, making him the state’s most senior judge of Muslim faith and one of the few among this country’s judges.
In this interview with NewsHour, PBS Correspondent David Tereshchuk reports that prior to the appointment, Governor Jerry Brown received “slews of hate mail about Dhanidina, including threats to his safety.” But the harassing messages did not stop the governor from promoting Dhanidina to the state Courts of Appeal, making him the country’s highest-ranking Muslim judge.
“Muslims can participate fully in the civic institutions of the United States with honor or even with distinction,” remarks Judge Dhanidina in the interview. “And that your religious background doesn’t need to be an obstacle to that.”
When asked how his Muslim faith informs his decision-making in court, Judge Dhanidina replied “Within the religion of Islam, just like Judaism and Christianity, Buddhism, etc, there are ethical codes and probably not surprising, maybe surprisingly, they’re the same across the board. Honesty. Integrity. Fairness. Justice. Mercy. These are concepts that all of the major religions that I’m aware of have in common. And to that extent, my religious upbringing or beliefs play a role because I think it is important to be honest, have integrity, and treat people fairly.”