Archive for anti-Sharia

Cheryl Baisden: Fear Propels Religious Attacks

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 1, 2012 by loonwatch

A very good article by Cheryl Baisden on the movement against sharia, and what they fundamentally don’t understand about American history and law:

Fear Propels Religious Attacks

by Cheryl Baisden (njsbf.org)

A guarantee of religious freedom was what compelled the Pilgrims to risk their lives to cross the Atlantic Ocean and settle along the inhospitable Massachusetts coast in 1620. And yet it didn’t take long for these new inhabitants of America to begin railing against individuals with different religious views and practices. Failing to follow the Puritan way of life could leave you condemned to a dark, dank prison cell; sentenced to a painful and public punishment clamped in the town square’s stockade; or banished from the village altogether.

In those early days of America’s settlement, religious and civil law were one and the same. In fact, each community enforced its own laws, based on the dictates of their church leaders. With the passage of the U.S. Constitution, religious freedom became a right guaranteed to all citizens, explains Grayson Barber, a New Jersey attorney whose practice focuses on individual rights issues.

“The First Amendment says ‘Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof…,’” Barber says. “Notice that there are two main provisions, the establishment clause and the free exercise clause. The first makes the United States very unusual. Unlike most countries, the U.S. has no official or ‘established’ church. The free exercise clause provides that in the U.S. we are free to pray wherever and whenever we want, and the government cannot force us to participate in religious activities we disagree with. As a result, the U.S. is the best place in the world to be religious. You can practice any religion you want.”

One religion singled out

In the past few years, however, several states have passed or are considering legislation that would restrict the way followers of one specific religion practice their faith. The legislative movement was launched following

a 2010 family court ruling involving a Moroccan couple in New Jersey, where a Hudson County judge denied a wife a restraining order against her husband because he claimed his alleged sexual assaults on his wife were justified under Islamic religious law, known as sharia law. The ruling was later overturned by the appellate court, which found that the original decision in the case of S.D. v. M.J.R. was based on a misunderstanding of sharia law and its place in the court system. But by then, anti- Islamic groups like the Society of Americans for National Existence were strongly pushing lawmakers around the country for a ban on sharia law.

What is sharia law?

For followers of just about any religion there are certain rules that apply to their faith, from kosher laws among Jewish people to the disapproval of divorce among Catholics. In the same way, sharia is the law that governs certain aspects of everyday life for Muslims.

In an interview with Salon, Abed Awad, a New Jersey attorney who regularly handles Islamic law cases and is an adjunct professor at Rutgers Law School—Newark, explains that sharia is based on the Quran, which is the Muslim Holy Scripture, much like the New Testament is for Catholics and the Old Testament is for Jewish people.

Just like the religious laws in those faiths, sharia focuses on the ways and times followers pray and observe their faith, as well as rules regarding marriage, divorce, child rearing, business dealings and estate matters. These religious laws help followers live within the guidelines of their religion, but don’t take the place of the civil and criminal laws applied by our courts. Awad points out that the appellate ruling in the New Jersey case of S.D. v. M.J.R. was actually “consistent with Islamic law, which prohibits spousal abuse.”

While most people have some familiarity with Jewish and Catholic religious laws because they have been exposed to them for so many years in American culture, sharia is still unfamiliar to many. With an estimated eight million Americans now practicing Islam, sharia is becoming more visible, according to Awad.

“Islam is a major world religion,” explains Barber, “but largely unfamiliar in the U.S. Fear of the unknown is probably lurking behind the hostility to sharia. Of course the shadow of 9/11 is behind much of this, as the hijackers claimed to be Muslim. As we become more familiar with Islam, we will learn that every large group is comprised of a wide variety of people…. Apart from a radical criminal element, Muslims are peaceful, law-abiding people with the same variety of personalities and characteristics you would find in any other population.”

The movement against sharia

The first state to propose legislation against sharia law was Oklahoma, where in November 2010, 70 percent of voters approved an amendment to the state

constitution dictating that the Oklahoma courts “shall not consider international law or sharia law” when making judicial decisions.

Oklahoma State Representative Rex Duncan, one of the bill’s two sponsors, told CNN before the proposal received voter approval, that part of the legislation’s purpose was to ban religious forms of arbitration. “Parties would come to the courts and say we want to be bound by Islamic law and then ask the courts to enforce those agreements,” he said. “That is a backdoor way to get sharia law into courts. There…have been some efforts,

I believe, to explore bringing that to America, and it’s dangerous.”

Read the Rest…

Over the Rainbow in Kansas, pt.2: Gov. Brownback Signs Bill Aimed at Blocking Sharia

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2012 by loonwatch

Gov. Brownback has signed the bill passed by the Kansas legislature aimed at blocking “foreign law” (i.e. the non-existent “sharia threat”) in Kansas.

It will likely be challenged in Kansas courts:

Kan. gov. signs measure blocking Islamic law

BY JOHN HANNA (Kansas City Star)

TOPEKA, KAN. – Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a law aimed at keeping the state’s courts or government agencies from basing decisions on Islamic or other foreign legal codes, and a national Muslim group’s spokesman said Friday that a court challenge is likely.

The new law, taking effect July 1, doesn’t specifically mention Shariah law, which broadly refers to codes within the Islamic legal system. Instead, it says courts, administrative agencies or state tribunals can’t base rulings on any foreign law or legal system that would not grant the parties the same rights guaranteed by state and U.S. constitutions.

“This bill should provide protection for Kansas citizens from the application of foreign laws,” said Stephen Gele, spokesman for the American Public Policy Alliance, a Michigan group promoting model legislation similar to the new Kansas law. “The bill does not read, in any way, to be discriminatory against any religion.”

But supporters have worried specifically about Shariah law being applied in Kansas court cases, and the alliance says on its website that it wants to protect Americans’ freedoms from “infiltration” by foreign laws and legal doctrines, “especially Islamic Shariah Law.”

Brownback’s office notified the state Senate of his decision Friday, but he actually signed the measure Monday. The governor’s spokeswoman, Sherriene Jones-Sontag, said in a statement that the bill “makes it clear that Kansas courts will rely exclusively on the laws of our state and our nation when deciding cases and will not consider the laws of foreign jurisdictions.”

Muslim groups had urged Brownback to veto the measure, arguing that it promotes discrimination. Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, said a court challenge is likely because supporters of the measure frequently expressed concern about Shariah law.

Hooper said of Brownback, “If he claims it has nothing to do with Shariah or Islamic law or Muslims, then he wasn’t paying attention.”

Both the Washington-based council and the National Conference of State Legislatures say such proposals have been considered in 20 states, including Kansas. Gele said laws similar to Kansas’ new statute have been enacted in Arizona, Louisiana and Tennessee.

Oklahoma voters approved a ballot initiative in 2010 that specifically mentioned Shariah law, but both a federal judge and a federal appeals court blocked it.

There are no known cases in which a Kansas judge has based a ruling on Islamic law. However, supporters of the bill have cited a pending case in Sedgwick County in which a man seeking to divorce his wife has asked for property to be divided under a marriage contract in line with Shariah law.

Supporters argue the measure simply ensures that legal decisions will protect long-cherished liberties, such as freedom of speech and religion and the right to equal treatment under the law. Gele said the measure would come into play if someone wanted to enforce a libel judgment against an American from a foreign nation without the same free speech protections.

“It is perfectly constitutional,” he said.

The House approved the bill unanimously and the Senate, with broad, bipartisan support. Even some legislators who were skeptical of it believed it was broad and bland enough that it didn’t represent a specific political attack on Muslims.

“This disturbing recent trend of activist judges relying upon the laws of other nations has been rejected by overwhelming bipartisan majorities in both the Kansas House and Senate,” Jones-Sontag said.

The measure’s chief sponsor, Rep. Peggy Mast, an Emporia Republican, also has said all Kansans, including Muslims, should be comfortable with the new law, but she did not immediately respond Friday to telephone and email messages seeking comment.

Rep. Scott Schwab, an Olathe Republican, acknowledged that the measure merely “made some people happy” and that a vote against it could be cast politically as a vote in favor of Shariah law.

“Am I really concerned that Shariah law is going to take over the Kansas courts? No,” he said. “I’m more concerned about getting jobs to Kansas.”

The Michigan-based alliance advocates model “American Law for American Courts” legislation. Its website says, “America has unique values of liberty which do not exist in foreign legal systems, particularly Shariah Law.”

During the Kansas Senate’s debate on the bill earlier this month, Sen. Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican described a vote for the measure as a vote for women’s rights, adding, “They stone women to death in countries that have Shariah law.”

Hooper said supporters of such proposals have made it clear they are targeting Islamic law.

“Underlying all of this is demonizing Islam and marginalizing American Muslims,” he said.

Tennessee Congressional Race Gets 100 Percent More Anti-Shariah-y

Posted in Loon People, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on April 8, 2012 by loonwatch

We may have spoke to soon when we wrote that the Murfreesboro Mosque saga in Tennessee may be coming to an end.

Tennessee Congressional Race Gets 100 Percent More Anti-Shariah-y

By Tim Murphy (Mother Jones)

If you live in Middle Tennessee, get ready for another four months of overheated rhetoric about Islam. On Thursday, tea partier and anti-Shariah activist Lou Ann Zelenik announced that she’s challenging incumbent Rep. Diane Black (R), setting up a rematch of a 2010 GOP primary that focused heavily on the question of whether Muslims in Murfreesboro should be allowed to build a new mosque.

In that campaign, Zelenik lashed herself to the mosque issue, speaking at a march to protest the construction, and accusing Black of being soft on Shariah. As she told Talking Points Memo, “This isn’t a mosque. They’re building an Islamic center to teach Sharia law. That is what we stand in opposition to.” Zelenik feared that a new mosque in Murfreesboro would be a stepping stone to a more sinister end—the encroachment of radical Islam into Middle Tennessee. It wasn’t a winning issue, it turned out, but Zelenik’s argument resonated in the city. Later that year, a handful of residents filed a lawsuit to block the construction of the mosque, arguing that Muslims weren’t protected by the First Amendment because Islam is a totalitarian political system, not a religion (the Department of Justice was forced to file an amicus brief noting that, yes, Islam is a religion).

Although Black took a relatively moderate stance on the mosque when she ran for Congress, promising to respect Tennesseans’ freedom of religion, she has an anti-Islam history, too: as a state Senator, she sponsored Tennessee’s 2010 law designed to ban Islamic law from being enforced in state courts.

The added wrinkle here, which should give the primary an added degree of out-in-the-open animosity, is that until two weeks ago, Zelenik was being sued by Black’s husband. The suit centered on an ad Zelenik ran during the 2010 pointing out that then-state Sen. Black had steered contracts to her husband’s forensic science business. Black and his company, Aegis Sciences, considered this charge defamatory, but the court ruled that Zelenik’s spot was accurate, and in this case the truth was the only defense necessary. So: drama.

One quibble, though: The Murfreesboro News-Journal notes that Zelenik will step down from her job at the Tennessee Freedom Coalition, “a nonprofit 501(c)4 organization that has been instrumental in sounding the alarm over the growing Islamic movement in America and the threat of Sharia Law.” That’s not quite accurate, as there is no real threat from Shariah law in the United States. More accurately, TFC has been instrumental in running around stirring up fears over a phantom menace. This would be a small point, except that Murfreesboro isground-zero for the Islamophobia movement, so it’s something the local newspapers really ought to get right.

Anti-Sharia Bill Dropped In Minnesota

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on March 19, 2012 by loonwatch

Update on the ‘anti-Sharia’ legislation, this time from Minnesota:

Anti-Sharia Bill Dropped In Minnesota

(RadianceWeekly)

The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) on Mar 5 announced that a lawmaker in that state’s legislature will drop a proposed “anti-Sharia” bill written using a template provided by an anti-Islam extremist. That announcement came following a news conference CAIR-MN held on Mar 5 with interfaith leaders to challenge the threat to religious freedom posed by the bill. In announcing his decision to drop the bill, Republican State Senator Dave Thompson said: “It was never my intent to introduce legislation that was being targeted to any one group.”

“We thank Senator Thompson for dropping this discriminatory bill and hope his responsible decision sends a message to all those elected officials in other states who are supporting similarly unconstitutional legislation,” said CAIR-MN Civil Rights Coordinator MunazzaHumayun.

According to media reports, Thompson’s anti-Islam bill (S2281) was a “boilerplate copy-pasted verbatim from a far right policy group.” Last week, CAIR’s national office released a community toolkit designed to assist those seeking to preserve America’s ideal of religious pluralism in the face of similar unconstitutional anti-Sharia bills that have been introduced in more than 20 states nationwide.CAIR’s toolkit includes background on David Yerushalmi, the anti-Islam extremist who authored the template for the anti-Sharia bills.

Updates on Anti-Sharia’ Legislation: South Dakota Signs, Florida Drops, New Jersey Withdraws

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on March 16, 2012 by loonwatch

South Dakota’s governor signs a law that says it targets “religious law” but which in fact was drafted to target Muslims:

South Dakota Governor Signs Unconstitutional Anti-Muslim Bill

By Ian Millhiser

Yesterday, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard (R) signed an unconstitutional law that purports to target courts applying religious law, but which is almost certainly part of a broader push by Islamophobic advocates to fight the imaginary problem of courts substituting Islamic law for American law. The brief bill Daugaard signed provides simply that “[n]o court, administrative agency, or other governmental agency may enforce any provisions of any religious code.”

Although this bill does not specifically call out any particular religion for ill treatment, it violates the Free Exercise Clause of the Constitution. As the Supreme Court explained in Church of Lukumi Babalu Aye v. Hialeah, “the protections of the Free Exercise Clause pertain if the law at issue discriminates against some or all religious beliefs or regulates or prohibits conduct because it is undertaken for religious reasons.”

While it is uncommon for American courts to apply religious law, it is not unheard of. Private parties sometimes enter into contracts where they agree to resolve their disputes under something other than U.S. law, and individuals sometimes write wills devising their property according to the tenets of their faith. Under the bill Daugaard signed, however, courts will be allowed to enforce contracts requiring disputes to be resolved under French law or ancient Roman law or under the Advanced Dungeons and Dragons second edition rules, but they won’t be allowed to enforce contracts requiring disputes to be resolved under the requirements of someone’s religious beliefs. This is discrimination “against some or all religious beliefs,” and is therefore unconstitutional.

Some good news from New Jersey:

NJ Becomes Latest State To Drop Anti-Shariah Bill

by 

Among a series of setbacks for the McCarthyist-style anti-Shariah movement, New Jersey became the newest state to drop its ridiculous A-919 bill penned to prohibit the application of “foreign laws”.

Fabricating an imaginary threat of an impending Shariah law that would somehow take over each US state, leading Islamophobes met with initial success as they attempted to influence various lawmakers into considering such a bill for implementation.

As of late however, anti-Muslim hate tactics appear to be falling flat on their face as NJ becomes the latest state – after GA, FL & MN – to withdraw its so-called foreign law bill drafted to protect it from the non-existent Shariah threat.

New Jersey need not follow other states that have either passed or attempted to pass similar legislation that has the principal objective of demonizing the faith of millions of American Muslims,” said Dr. Aref Assaf, president of the American Arab Forum.

CAIR-NJ Chair Nadia Kahf had the following to add, “Rather than strengthening constitutional protections, these bills undoubtedly violate religious freedom and weaken the independence of our courts.”

We thank Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi for her decision in support of religious freedom and constitutional rights.”

And some surprising and even more good news from Flordia:

Anti-Shariah bill died when session ended

A critic of the unsuccessful Florida bill to ban Shariah law and other foreign legal codes says its failure to pass is evidence of turning public tides on such measures, though a sponsor is promising to try bringing it back.

Though the bill easily passed the House, it was never called for a vote by the full Senate before the Legislature closed its session, effectively killing the legislation for the year.

“I think we may be seeing the tide turn on this wave of anti-Shariah bills around the country,” said Ibrahim Hooper, a spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, which opposes such legislation.

A wave of anti-Shariah bills have been introduced in statehouses across the country. Several have stalled or failed, but dozens more await a verdict.

South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed a foreign law measure Monday, the first victory among advocates for such laws this session.

Three other states — Louisiana, Arizona and Tennessee — previously approved legislation curtailing the use of foreign laws.

Florida’s bill made no mention of Shariah law or any other specific foreign system. It said the use of foreign law would be banned in state courtrooms when it violates rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and in certain domestic situations, such as divorces and child custody cases. It would not have applied to businesses.

Opponents called the law unnecessary and anti-Muslim. Muslim groups were joined by the Anti-Defamation League, a defender of Jewish causes, in their opposition.

“You might as well pass legislation to ban unicorns,” Hooper said. “If it wasn’t so destructive to interfaith relations, to our image around the world, to our commitment to religious and constitutional rights, it would be laughable.”

The most fervently outspoken supporters of such bills caution Shariah law could begin to spread outside of Muslim countries in a slow-speed Islamic takeover of the world. Others say not outlawing Shariah jeopardizes the rights of American women.

Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, who sponsored the Senate bill, said though “wild accusations” have been made about what the legislation would do, its purpose was to ensure only American laws are heard in Florida courtrooms.

“I expect to file the bill again next year if I’m fortunate enough to be blessed by the people of Florida with another term, and I expect it to pass next year,” Hays said.

Robert P. Jones: The State of Anti-Sharia Bills

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2012 by loonwatch

Bad news for the hate brigades? It looks like  the ever shifting poll numbers are indicating that the anti-Sharia’ drive is no longer as popular with Americans now that it impedes upon the free exercise of religion by Jewish and Christian groups and also makes life difficult for business leaders:

The state of anti-sharia bills

by Robert P. Jones (WaPoBlog)

Earlier this month, before the furor over several proposed abortion bills threw Virginia into the national spotlight, another controversial bill began moving in the House of Delegates.

House Bill 825 proposes to ban the use of any legal code established outside the United States in U.S. courtrooms. While it is largely understood that the primary target of the legislation was sharia, or Islamic law, the expansive bill has drawn unexpected criticism from other groups that are concerned that, as written, it could easily be interpreted to ban the use of halacha, Jewish law, and other Catholic canon laws. Muslim advocates had already condemned the bill, as they’ve done with the dozens of state-level bills that have explicitly or implicitly targeted Islamic law. But Jewish groups were also speaking out, saying that the law could limit their ability to settle family matters like wills and divorces according to their religious guidelines. Catholic officials also voiced concerns that bills like these could prevent the Roman Catholic Church (based in Italy) from owning parish buildings and schools. Business leaders also added their voices to the clamor against the bill, citing concerns that it could hurt international business relations. Deciding to reevaluate their approach, the bill’s proponents sent the bill back to committee.

Virginia is just one of two dozen states with bans on foreign laws moving in their legislature. Last week, a similar bill made its way out of Florida’s House Judiciary Committee, amid protests from the Council on American-Islamic Relations, the Florida Bar’s Family Association, and the ACLU. A third measure preventing the use of foreign law in U.S. courtrooms headed toward a vote in the Georgia House of Representatives.

But as the debate in Virginia shows, the tide could be changing. Lawmakers have had to revamp their approach since an Appeals court struck down Oklahoma’s earlier version as discriminatory for specifically mentioning sharia law. In order to pass constitutional muster, the new bills are written with broad-strokes prohibitions, which have had the unintended effect of drawing other religious groups and business interests into the fray.

Public opinion is also shifting. While these legal challenges evolved, Americans’ concerns about the threat that sharia law’s threat to the American legal system have fluctuated considerably, largely in response to public events that captured national attention. A year ago, when Rep. Peter King’s congressional hearings on alleged radicalization among American Muslims, 23 percent of Americans agreed that American Muslims want to establish sharia as the law of the land in the U.S. Nearly two-thirds (65 percent) disagreed, while 13 percent said they did not know. In September 2011, near the 10th anniversary of 9/11 and amidst debates around the Park 51 Community Center and Mosque in Manhattan, which opponents dubbed the “ground-zero mosque,” this number rose to nearly one-third (30 percent) of the general population. Over six-in-10 (61 percent) disagreed, while 8 percent said they did not know.

Over the few months, though, these issues have had a much lower media profile. And in the absence of prominent national stimuli, concerns about the threat of sharia have dropped by more than half since September. PRRI’s February 2012 Religion and Politics Tracking Survey showed only 14 percent of Americans agree that American Muslims want to establish sharia or Islamic law as law of the land. More than two-thirds (68 percent) disagree, and nearly 1-in-5 (17 percent) say they do not know.

These two trends suggest that, despite early momentum, the sponsors of anti-sharia legislation may have an uphill battle ahead of them. By widening the bills’ scope to include all laws that originate outside the U.S., sponsors of anti-sharia legislation are wading more deeply into the waters of religious liberty. Given that 88 percent of Americans agree that the U.S. was founded on the idea of religious freedom for everyone, including religious groups that are unpopular, fighting these legislative battles openly on religious liberty terrain may be difficult. It certainly won’t help that the current bills are being considered at a time when Americans’ concerns about the threat of sharia law have ebbed.

By   |  03:55 PM ET, 02/29/2012

Brigitte Gabriel: Liberals and Muslims Doing “Exactly What Hitler Did”

Posted in Feature, Loon People with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 9, 2012 by loonwatch
Brigitte Gabriel

Right-wing Christianity’s favorite self-hating racist, Hanan Tudor, a.k.a Brigitte Gabriel has been making a killing through her anti-Islam organization “ACT! For America,” also better known as Hate! for America.

Not too long ago she was at the Cornerstone Church in Nashville, Tennessee, (yes, the same church that hosted European fascist Geert Wilders) participating in the “anti-Shariah Conference.” You can watch the video yourself here.

As you can see Gabriel is up to her usual gimmick, fear-mongering about the deadly and dire “Islamization of the USA,” which is supposedly happening right under the patriotic noses of: good, wholesome, real Americans! According to her the Muslims are being aided in this anti-American endeavor by the liberals who wish nothing more than to see America destroyed!

She says at the 6:00 minute mark about the “Liberal-Islamic axis of evil”:

They’re doing exactly what Hitler did. What did Hitler say, what did Hitler do? “Give me the children and I’ll change society in ten years.”

Really? The Hitler card? Isn’t that played out by now?

Cornerstone Church has a history of giving a platform to this sort of anti-Islam and anti-Muslim propaganda. I won’t be surprised if one of its congregants believes he/she has to take out the Muslims before they take over, or perhaps a la cultural-Christian-Templar-Knight-Terrorist Anders Breivik, take out the liberals who are facilitating the so-called “demise of the USA.”

*********************

While Brigitte Gabriel’s reputation has been severely discredited and she is unable to get the kind of access that she was accustomed to in the past she is still able to weasel her way at times into the mainstream.

Such was the case recently in an article written by Frida Ghatis for McClatchy Newspapers and which was picked up by the Miami Herald, Sacramento Bee and several other papers. Ghatis’ article was titled, Truly Revolutionary: Arabs Speaking Well of Israel.

The piece is pro-Israel propaganda through-and-through and while maintaining a veneer of objectivity it degrades the successes of the Arab Spring and revolves around the not-so-hidden thesis that a real revolution in the Arab world would be one in which Arabs “speak well of Israel.” No explanation is given of why many Arabs are anti-Israel (i.e. occupation, apartheid, discrimination, war crimes, the bombing of Arab countries, etc.).

Instead the focus is: will Arabs finally love Israel and say nice things about it. All pretense to objectivity is dropped when we come to this sentence:

Pro-Israel Arabs, Muslims, and former Muslims who use their real names are usually people living safely in the West, such as Lebanon’s Brigitte Gabriel, Somalia’s Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Egypt’s Tawfik Hamid, or Canada’s Irshad Manji.

We have covered all of the loons mentioned above by Ghatis. If Ghatis was willing to do a basic search on Gabriel she would realize that Gabriel doesn’t even consider herself an Arab! In fact, Gabriel believes Arabs have no soul!:

The difference, my friends, between Israel and the Arab world is the difference between civilization and barbarism. It’s the difference between good and evil [applause]…. this is what we’re witnessing in the Arabic world, They have no SOUL!, they are dead set on killing and destruction. And in the name of something they call “Allah” which is very different from the God we believe….[applause] because our God is the God of love.

One can see why Ghatis would be so enthusiastic about Gabriel, she really speaks so “well” of Israel.

In Islamic Law, Gingrich Sees a Mortal Threat to U.S.

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 22, 2011 by loonwatch
For Newt Gingrich, in New Hampshire on Wednesday, Shariah is a concern akin to terrorism.
For Newt Gingrich, in New Hampshire on Wednesday, Shariah is a concern akin to terrorism.

Discuss.

In Islamic Law, Gingrich Sees a Mortal Threat to U.S.

By 

WASHINGTON — Long before he announced his presidential run this year, Newt Gingrich had become the most prominent American politician to embrace an alarming premise: that Shariah, or Islamic law, poses a threat to the United States as grave as or graver than terrorism.

“I believe Shariah is a mortal threat to the survival of freedom in the United States and in the world as we know it,” Mr. Gingrich said in a speech to the American Enterprise Institute in Washington in July 2010 devoted to what he suggested were the hidden dangers of Islamic radicalism. “I think it’s that straightforward and that real.”

Mr. Gingrich was articulating a much-disputed thesis in vogue with some conservative thinkers but roundly rejected by many American Muslims, scholars of Islam and counterterrorism officials. The anti-Shariah theorists say that just as communism posed an ideological and moral threat to America separate from the menace of Soviet missiles, so today radical Islamists are working to impose Shariah in a “stealth jihad” that is no less dangerous than the violent jihad of Al Qaeda.

“Stealth jihadis use political, cultural, societal, religious, intellectual tools; violent jihadis use violence,” Mr. Gingrich said in the speech. “But in fact they’re both engaged in jihad, and they’re both seeking to impose the same end state, which is to replace Western civilization with a radical imposition of Shariah.”

Echoing some Republicans in Congress, Mr. Gingrich blasted the Obama administration’s policy of declining to label terrorism carried out in the name of militant Islam as “Islamic” or “jihadist.” Administration officials say such labels can imply religious justification for a distortion of doctrine that most Muslims abhor, thus smearing an entire faith.

But to Mr. Gingrich, whose campaign did not respond to a request for comment, the administration’s language smacks of the willful blindness of an earlier era. “The left’s refusal to tell the truth about the Islamist threat is a natural parallel to the 70-year pattern of left-wing intellectuals refusing to tell the truth about communism and the Soviet Union,” Mr. Gingrich said.

Shariah (literally, “the path to the watering place”) is a central concept in Islam. It is God’s law, as derived from the Koran and the example of the Prophet Muhammad, and has far wider application than secular law. It is popularly associated with its most extreme application in societies like Afghanistan under the Taliban, including chopping off a hand as punishment for thievery.

But it has always been subject to interpretation by religious authorities, so its application has varied over time and geography, said Bernard G. Weiss, professor emeritus at the University of Utah and an authority on Islamic law.

“In the hands of terrorists, Shariah can be developed into a highly threatening, militant notion,” Professor Weiss said. “In the hands of a contemporary Muslim thinker writing in the journal Religion and Law, Shariah becomes an essentially pacifist notion.”

The Arab Spring has set off a lively political and scholarly debate over the growing power of Islamists in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya. But those are all overwhelmingly Muslim countries. The idea that Shariah poses a danger in the United States, where the census pegs Muslims as less than 1 percent of the population, strikes many scholars as quixotic.

Even within that 1 percent, most American Muslims have no enthusiasm for replacing federal and state law with Shariah, as some conservatives fear, let alone adopting such ancient prescriptions as stoning for adulterers, said Akbar Ahmed, chairman of Islamic studies at American University in Washington, who spent a year traveling the United States and interviewing Muslims for his 2010 book “Journey into America: The Challenge of Islam.”

The notion of a threat from Shariah to the United States “takes your breath away, it’s so absurd,” Dr. Ahmed said. He sees political demagoguery in the anti-Shariah campaign, which fueled rallies against mosques in the last two years from Manhattan to Tennessee.

All of the Republican presidential candidates have been asked about the supposed threat from Shariah. Representative Michele Bachmann told the conservative Family Research Council in a November speech that Shariah “must be resisted across the United States,” endorsing moves by several states to prohibit judges from considering Shariah.

Mitt Romney said in a June debate: “We’re not going to have Shariah law applied in U.S. courts. That’s never going to happen.” He immediately added, “People of all faiths are welcome in this country.”

For Mr. Gingrich, concern about Shariah has been a far more prominent theme. He and his wife, Callista, produced and narrated a 2010 film on the threat from radical Islam, “America at Risk,” that discusses the danger of both terrorism and Shariah against a lurid background of terrorist bombings, bloody victims, wailing sirens and chanting Muslim crowds. (Mrs. Gingrich does say, at one point, “This is not a battle with the majority of Muslims, who are peaceful.”)

One Muslim activist who is shown in the film calling for “separation of mosque and state,” Dr. M. Zuhdi Jasser, said he appreciated Mr. Gingrich’s support in an ideological contest with large Muslim advocacy groups in the United States that he believes have an Islamist slant.

But Dr. Jasser, a Phoenix physician and founder of the American Islamic Forum for Democracy, said non-Muslims like Mr. Gingrich were not the most effective advocates for what he believes is really a debate within Islam.

“Unfortunately, as long as a non-Muslim opens the discussion, whether it’s Gingrich or someone else, it’s going to hit a brick wall in the Muslim community,” Dr. Jasser said.

Mohamed Elibiary, a Muslim and an adviser to law enforcement agencies in Texas and to the Department of Homeland Security, is a conservative Republican who said he once idolized Mr. Gingrich. He said he no longer did.

He said the anti-Shariah campaign in the United States was “propaganda for jihadists,” offering fuel for the idea of a titanic clash of faiths. Those who truly want to protect American values should talk to Muslims, he said, not demonize them.

“There are plenty of American Muslim patriots who will defend American freedoms,” Mr. Elibiary said. “But you can’t be anti-Islam and find those allies.”

Video: Simpsons Episode Mocks Anti-Sharia Hysteria

Posted in Anti-Loons with tags , , , , , , on December 12, 2011 by loonwatch


Tennessee’s Anti-Muslim Bill is an American Disgrace

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , on May 19, 2011 by loonwatch

Tennessee is quickly becoming a hotbed of extremist anti-Muslim hatred.

Tennessee’s Anti-Muslim Bill is an American Disgrace

(Huffington Post) Daniel Tutt

In a matter of days, Tennessee’s state legislature is expected to pass a bill ostensibly designed to combat radical Islamic terrorism in Tennessee known as the “Material Support” bill or HB 1353. While the bill has removed direct references to Islam or Muslims at the pressure of civil rights groups such as the ACLU and others, if it is passed, it will seriously harm our security by alienating our biggest allies in combatting homegrown terrorism: our fellow American Muslims.

The impact of this bill on Muslims in Tennessee was on display in a recent training I conducted in Murfreesboro for educators and law enforcement officials. The training brought together local Muslim leaders and more than 80 civic leaders to look at ways to respond to a spike in bullying towards Muslim youth and rising reports of prejudice. Last summer, Murfreesboro was rocked by a series of protests against a mosque building project that resulted in two hate crimes directed toward the 1,000 person Muslim community, followed by a national media expose by CNN called, “Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door.”

Through my discussions with community leaders in Murfreesboro, the problem seems not so much one of a widespread level of fear or bigotry toward Islam and Muslims by average Tennessean citizens. On the contrary, they felt a sense of embarrassment about what they see as a new type of anti-Muslim sentiment.

It’s important we understand the agendas and ideas that compose this movement to ban sharia in Tennessee and now more than 15 other states. On a national level, David Yerushalmi, a self-appointed expert in Islamic law and its intersection with Islamic terrorism and national security, wrote the original bill that serves as the template for each of the bills. Yerushalmi’s organization, the Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE) is deemed a “hate group” by multiple civil rights groups including the Anti Defamation League. SANE’s founding mission is resonantly white supremacist as it declares that historically America was “the handiwork of faithful Christians, mostly men, and almost entirely white.”

Yerushalmi and his associates at the Center for Security Policy have published a recent report, “Sharia and the Threat to America,” that has served as the basis for anti-sharia bills currently under vote or review in more than 14 states. In a 2007 report, Yerushalmi wrote on homegrown terrorism in the American Muslim community, called the Mapping Sharia Project, he urged Congress to declare war on the “Muslim nation,” which he defined as “Shari’a-adherent Muslims,” and further asked Congress to define Muslim illegal immigrants as alien enemies “subject to immediate deportation.”

A right-wing citizen group called the Tennessee Eagle Forum was the first group to push the bill into the state legislature. In a recent video produced by the group, “Losing Our Community,” they conflate all Tennessee Muslims with Islamic theocracies in Iran and Saudi Arabia, and seek to smear Muslim leaders in Tennessee with radical clerics such as Anwar Awlaki, without providing any tangible evidence of this association.

While Yerushalmi and his associates seek to institutionalize a series of Islamophobic bills into state legislators, American Muslims are left on the sidelines feeling isolated and alienated.

Understanding Sharia and its Meaning for Muslims

As David Schnazer of Duke University discovered in a recent comprehensive study of homegrown terrorism, “Anti-Terror Lessons of the American Muslim Community,” American Muslims are at the forefront of combatting potentially radicalized members of their community. For example, of the surprisingly small number of domestic terror threats initiated by American Muslims since 9/11 (154 in total), 46 of these perpetrators were turned over to the authorities by the American Muslim community.

The Center for American Progress has recently put forward a new policy brief, “Understanding Sharia Law,” designed to challenge the conception of sharia that Yerushalmi and others are proposing in these bills. The idea of sharia being a purely “legal-political-military doctrine” is far from accurate according to actual Islamic legal opinion and the ways that Muslims themselves interpret sharia.

Dr. Sherman Jackson, a respected scholar of Islam at University of Michigan, points out that most Muslims tend to speak not of sharia but of fiqh, which literally means “understanding” and underscores the distinction between God’s prescriptions on the one hand and the human attempt to understand these on the other.
While the common translation, “Islamic law,” is not entirely wrong, it is under-inclusive: Sharia includes scores of moral and ethical principles from honoring one’s parents to helping the poor to being good to one’s neighbor. In most all laws, sharia prescribes no “earthly punishments” for those who violate the dictates. Reward and punishment in these areas are the preserve of God in the Afterlife.

Despite Being a Non-Issue, HB 1353 Will Hurt Tennessee’s Economy

The movement to ban sharia is a non-issue both for Muslim scholars, who overwhelmingly support Muslims living by the U.S. constitution as the law of the land, and also as clearly laid out by the Supreme Court. More than half a dozen leading Muslim clerics in the United States recently produced a video PSA, “Injustice Cannot Defeat Injustice,” condemning homegrown terrorism and the misinterpretation of Islamic theology that supports it.

In a 1990 Supreme Court case, Employment Division vs. Smith, over the use of peyote for religious practices, Justice Antonin Scalia deemed that all religious laws must adhere to the law of the land, the U.S. Constitution. In other words, for law to be respected and followed, Scalia declared that the United States can have only one law.

Just last week, as legislators gathered for a hearing on the bill, 350 concerned Tennessee Muslims gathered at the Capitol to urge lawmakers not to vote in favor of the bill. They argue that the bill is more than simply anti-Muslim; it’s harmful to Tennessee’s economy. As it is currently crafted, the bill gives an unprecedented and unchecked designation of power to Tennessee’s attorney general and the governor. This consolidation of power into one lawmaker is something that citizen groups such as the Tennessee Eagle Forum ought to despise.

The bill seriously hampers the economy of Tennessee by undermining the effect of trade and commerce with Muslim-majority societies throughout Tennessee if the bill becomes law. For example, international airports such as the one in Memphis may see a marked decline in flights coming from Muslim countries. Nearly every hospital in Tennessee has a substantially high number of Muslim doctors. Dr. Gary Gunderson of Memphis notes that the bill will have serious economic repercussions for all Tennesseans because of an anticipated flight of Muslim doctors from Tennessee.

A recent survey has reported that more than 75 percent of Tennesseans are worried about the economy and jobs as their first priority, making the economic implications of the bill especially important for lawmakers weighing the bill’s legitimacy.

Daniel Tutt is the Outreach Director of Unity Productions Foundation, and a fellow at the Institute forSocial Policy and Understanding, a non-partisan think tank. An activist, speaker and Ph.D. student in philosophy and communication, his work seeks to build greater understanding across religious and cultural lines, with a particular emphasis on Islam and Muslims.

Texas GOP Rep. Pushes Anti-Sharia Bill

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on April 14, 2011 by loonwatch
“Well, I heard it on the radio, so, ya know…”

I cannot begin to fathom the shame some Texans are feeling right now…

ThinkProgress – Texas GOP Rep. Introduces Sharia Ban Because He Heard Sharia Is A Threat On The Radio, Asks “Isn’t That True?”

Texas is now joining over 15 states that have introduced bills to guard against the non-existent threat of Islamic Sharia law. In proposing legislation to ban state courts from considering foreign religious or cultural laws like Sharia, Texas state Rep. Leo Berman (R) — the bill sponsor — said, “We want to prevent it from ever happening in Texas.”

Berman insisted one U.S. city offered unquestionable proof of this supposed threat:Dearborn, MI. Dearborn is home to one of the largest Muslim populations and the largest mosque in North America. Therefore, according to Berman, Sharia law necessarily is being implemented there. “It’s being done in Dearborn, Mich., because of a large population of Middle Easterners,” Berman said, “and the judges in Dearborn are using and allowing to be used Sharia law.” He mentioned the city six times throughout his testimony. However, when pushed for details, the only actual evidence Berman could offer was, “I heard it on a radio station”:

Rep. Berman himself acknowledged knowing nothing about Dearborn.

I heard it on a radio station here on my way in to the Capitol one day,” Berman said Monday in an interview. “I don’t know Dearborn, Michigan but I heard it (Sharia is accepted law here) on the radio. Isn’t that true?

No, says Dearborn Mayor Jack O’Reilly (D), who must repeatedly debunk Islamophobic theories about the city. “These people know nothing of Dearborn and they just seek toprovoke and enflame their base for political gain,” he said. But such cultural ignorance doesn’t stop “Dearborn-Sharia theorists” from citing the city as proof of a Muslim threat. Likely GOP presidential candidate Newt Gingrich cited the arrest of four Christian missionaries during a Dearborn Arab festival as an example of “radical Islamism” to argue against the Islamic Center in New York City. Perpetual candidate Sharron Angle (R-NV) said Dearborn faces “militant terrorist situation” and is ruled by Sharia law.

But even Berman, who is no stranger to outlandish extremism, must realize “I heard it on a radio station” fails as evidence for anything. Unless, of course, he’s planning an anti-Martian bill in response to War of the Worlds.

Alaska: Why is anti-Muslim Hater Pamela Geller Allowed in front of Legislature?

Posted in Loon Blogs, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 29, 2011 by loonwatch

I would ask Alaska to keep Pamela, but one more crazy lady  is just too much to wish upon a state.Pamela “kookoo for Cocoa Puffs” Geller is bragging that she will be testifying in favor of an anti-Sharia’ bill in Alaska where the Mooslim hordes are around100-200 strong. Don’t-chya-know the Mooslims had the temerity to open up Alaska’s first mosque a few months ago!!

Pamela writes,

Heads up — I will be testifying  in favor of anti-sharia legislation, HB88 Alaska onWednesday the 30th at 1 PM AST (that’s 2 PM West coast and 5 PM East coast). Tune in to the live feed at: http://www.alaskalegislature.tv/

Use Of Foreign Law Sponsored by Rep. Carl Gatto Co-Sponsors: Rep. Bob Lynn,Rep. Wes Keller

Alaskan legislators are not only misguided in their choice of Geller as a speaker but they are complicit in her hate because they are essentially giving validity to a person and her organization (SIOA) that has been labeled a hate group by the SPLC.

Instead of focusing on real threats to Alaska, like Global Warming, or Separatists and militants (five of which were arrested for attempting to kidnap and murder state troopers), officials are battling the good old fight against non-existing threats.

Nice way to deflect from real problems plaguing Alaska!

TPM: Tension amongst anti-Sharia’ Islamophobes and More Shocking Video

Posted in Loon Pastors, Loon People, Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 4, 2011 by loonwatch

Ryan J. Riley of TPMuckracker reported on two anti-Sharia’ protests being led by Islamophobes Terry Jones and Frank Gaffney in Washington D.C. The protests were supposed to be in response to a “pro-Sharia’” rally by goonish buffoon and well known media whore Anjem Choudary. Choudary canceled his rally, but the anti-Sharia advocated went ahead with their rally. Of course it turned into a bit of a joke with the usual anti-Islam and anti-Muslim message.

Gaffney, Jones Fight For Soul Of Anti-Sharia Movement At Rally By White House (VIDEO)

Rev. Terry Jones, the man who rose to national prominence last fall when he announced (but later backed off of) a plan to burn copies of the Koran, was clad in a beat-up black leather jacket when he showed up to a park across the street from the White House a few minutes before noon on Thursday.

His black sunglasses resting a few inches above his signature handlebar mustache, Jones hopped up on a bench in Lafayette Park and announced that his organization Stand Up America was holding a rally.

An aide to Frank Gaffney, the founder and president of the American Center for Security Policy, didn’t take kindly to that and quickly told the National Park Service that Jones wasn’t a part of their group and didn’t have a permit for his rally. So Jones and his crowd, many of them decked out in biker gang gear, set up shop in the midst of Pennsylvania Avenue.

The common enemy of both groups was radical Muslim Anjem Choudary, a London-based preacher who has been dubbed a “media whore” and has already made the rounds on Fox News promoting his “Sharia4America” rally, which was postponed just a few hours before it was supposed to begin on Thursday.

Jones claimed credit for Choudary’s decision not to show up. But the Gaffney team apparently wasn’t eager to have their event usurped by the mustachioed pastor from Florida.

“I don’t know who they are. We were just going to stand there on the bench, seemed like a good place to speak, but I guess they had reserved that,” Jones told TPM. “Then I heard somebody jump up and say ‘they’re not associated with us!’ So I honestly don’t know who they are.”

Gaffney told TPM after his press conference that he “didn’t see any squabble” when Jones showed up to the park, but said Jones “is not associated with us” and “didn’t have a permit.”

“I have no association with him at all,” Gaffney said, adding that he “was not inclined to share” his view on Jones.

So despite their common enemy, there is a ideological and tactical divide between the Gaffney and Jones camps.

“It’s a difference of approach, and some of it is territorial,” said one member of team Gaffney who requested anonymity. “One is more comprehensive and professional — he’s got his whole group behind him — whereas Terry just has his biker crew. One is more intellectual, the other is more agitated. One is based on patriotism and constitutional law, the other is based on theology.”

The formal events had both ended but attendees were still hanging around by the time a Muslim man holding a Starbucks cup and wearing a bluish winter coat with writing on the back began chanting Arabic prayers in front of the White House. That’s when attendees of both rallies merged around the man soon breaking into chants of “U.S.A.” and “Jesus” and renditions of “Amazing Grace.” Those throwing tiny crosses at the man’s feet appeared to be from the Jones camp.

“Is he yelling U.S.A.?” asks one man in the crowd. “It doesn’t matter — he’s anti-women, he’s anti-freedom,” one woman said. “Take it back to your own country!” said another man. “No Sharia law!” shouted another.

As the man kept worshipping and the crowd thinned out, Jones ran into Randall Terry, the militant anti-abortion activist who has been churning out the type of media coverage Jones’ Koran burning stunt got for years.

“You should’a burned the Korans by the way, you blinked. You should’a burned them,” Terry said.

Thanks to a “International Judge the Koran” event Jones and his group have in the works for March 20, he may get a shot to do just that — provided that’s how the people vote on his website. If the people decide the Koran deserves to be burned, that’s just what they’ll do.

“We’ll definitely do it, yes,” Jones said.

I don’t know where this Muslim man came from, from the report below it seems he was not there for the Choudary rally but actually shows up every couple of days to pray near the White House. Why? I have no idea. He also has something written on his back which I can’t quite make out, but the video below shows him being subjected to something along the lines of what happened at Yorba Linda. He is peaceful and non-confrontational and the crowd levels heavy amounts of invective his way. Maybe he was trying to send a message of defiance, that “I don’t care what you think, and that this is a free country”?

Here is the report from Riley on the Muslim man who was praying:

Anti-Muslim Protestor Throws Crosses At Feet Of Man Praying By White House (VIDEO)

A group of anti-Sharia protestors who planned to counter-protest the planned pro-Sharia rally by the radical provocateur Anjem Choudary in front of the White House on Thursday found themselves without an opponent to debate.

The counter rally planned by Frank Gaffney in response to Choudary’s pro-Sharia demonstration was left without a raison d’etre after Choudary failed to show up as he’d previously announced (and promoted on Fox News). That left Gaffney and his group preaching to the choir so to speak as they denounced Sharia law to their followers as well as media and curious onlookers.

But just as the rally was dying out, a Muslim man who showed up to pray in front of the White House. He was quickly surrounded by a large group of protestors who shouted an array of insults at him: mocking him for drinking Starbucks coffee, telling him to go back to his country and even throwing tiny crosses at his feet as he prayed. I captured the scene in the video below.

He’s still worshipping as I write this, but the anti-Sharia crowd is beginning to thin out. A police officer on the scene told me the man showed up to pray at the White House every couple days.

I’ll have more on the counter protest this afternoon.

 

Bill Would Make it Illegal to Be Muslim in Tennessee

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on March 1, 2011 by loonwatch

Will it be illegal to be a Muslim in Tennessee soon?

American-Islamic group, others to ask TN lawmakers to drop anti-Shariah bill

(The Tennessean)

The Council on American-Islamic Relations will hold a media conference at noon Tuesday at the Tennessee Capitol, with support from the American Civil Liberties Union, the Interfaith Alliance and the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.

Representatives will ask lawmakers to drop an anti-Shariah bill that would criminalize the support of that Islamic code.

The bills supporters are calling it an anti-terrorist measure that protects the constitution, but Muslims say Shariah a set of rules for living, like the Catholic canon or Jewish religious law, not anything that conflicts with the state for U.S. constitutions.

“This clearly unconstitutional and un-American legislation would make it illegal to be a Muslim in the state of Tennessee,” CAIR staff attorney Gadeir Abbas said in a media release this morning.

“Consideration of this legislation, which completely disregards equality before the law, would send the unfortunate message that Tennessee is an intolerant state.”

 

Think Progress: 13 States Trying to Ban Non-Existent Threat of Sharia’

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , on February 9, 2011 by loonwatch

Who’s trying to ban the non-existent threat of Sharia Law takeover?

REPORT: At Least 13 States Have Introduced Bills Guarding Against Non-Existent Threat Of Sharia Law

This past November, Oklahoma voters by a 70-30 percent margin passed a ballot question that barred “state courts from considering international or Islamic law when deciding cases.” The new law — which was widely considered as unfairly targeting the Muslim community and blaming it for the non-existent threat of Sharia law in the United states — was blocked by an injunction issued just a few weeks later by federal judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange. The judge argued that the Sharia ban was unconstitutional because it violated the establishment clause of the First Amendment and unfairly singled out Muslims.

Yet despite the injunction of the Oklahoma law, legislators in at least 13 states across the country have introduced or passed similar bills designed to protect us from the non-existent threat of Sharia law being imposed on the United States. Here is a list of the bills being introduced around the country that build off the same ideas as the Oklahoma law:

– ALASKA: Rep. Carl Gatto (R) has introduced SB 88, which invokes the Constitution to make sure that “foreign law is prohibited.”

– ARIZONA: Arizona’s anti-Sharia law is HB 2582, the “Arizona Foreign Decisions Act.” In addition to banning the implementation of Sharia law, the bill would also ban “canon law, halacha and karma.”

– ARKANSAS: Arkansas’s anti-Sharia bill is SB 97, which says that the “therecognition and enforcement of a foreign judgment or ruling is limited to the extent that its 33 enforcement would not directly conflict with the public policy of Arkansas.”

– GEORGIA: Rep. Mike Jacobs (R) has introduced a bill that would “ban the use of Sharia law in state courts.” Jacobs says of the issue, “We’re seeing more of a feelingthat Sharia law should be applied in domestic cases.” “Arbitration is a routine business exercise by people who are prepared to sacrifice some of their constitutional rights in return for reduced cost and expediency,” said Michael J. Broyde, a “member of the Beth Din of America — the largest Jewish law court in the country,” in response to the law. “[The bill would] incapacitate Georgia companies as they engage in international commerce.”

– INDIANA: Indiana’s SRJ 16 would make it so that courts could not enforce a “law, rule, or legal code or system established and either used or applied in a jurisdiction outside the states of the United States, the District of Columbia, or the territories of the United States if doing so would violate a right guaranteed by this constitution or the Constitution of the United States.”

– LOUISIANA: Louisiana passed a law guarding against “international law” being used in its courts in June 2010.

– MISSISSIPPI: House bill 301 was introduced to ban “Mississippi courts from using foreign laws, including Sharia law, which is a guide to Islamic religious practice.”

– NEBRASKA: Legislative Bill 647 aims to “prohibit Nebraska courts from using foreign laws in decisions.” If passed, it will have to be voted on by Nebraska voters in 2011 because it is a constitutional amendment.

SOUTH CAROLINA: In South Carolina, Sen. Mike Fair (R) has introduced legislation to ban the implementation of Sharia law, saying there is “a need to clarify that cultural customs or foreign laws don’t trump U.S. laws.” He does admit, however, that his bill is “stating the obvious.”

– TEXAS: State Rep. Leo Berman (R) recently introduced a constitutional amendment “prohibiting a court of this state from enforcing, considering or applying a religious or cultural law.” If the legislature passes the amendment, it will appear on the November 2011 ballot for Texas voters to approve.

– SOUTH DAKOTA: South Dakota’s anti-Sharia bill is HRJ 1004, which says that no court “may apply international law, the law of any foreign nation, or any foreign religious or moral code with the force of law in the adjudication of any case under its jurisdiction.”

– UTAH: Rep. Carl Wimmer (R) introduced a bill banning Sharia but then shortly withdrew it after being warned it could harm “international business,” admitting it was “too broad.” He is still looking for ways to ban Sharia.

– WYOMING: State Rep. Gerald Gay (R) says his bill banning Sharia law is “a ‘pre-emptive strike‘ to ensure judges don’t rely on Shariah [sic] in cases involving, for example, arranged marriages, ‘honor killings’ or usury cases.”

The proliferation of fearmongering anti-Sharia laws over the past year demonstrates a rise in legislative action that threatens to entrench feelings of hostility and ill will towards Muslim Americans. “I’ve never seen it like this, even after 9/11,” Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesman Ibrahim Hooper told USA Today. “In another time, this would be laughed out of the Oklahoma Legislature.” Yet unfortunately, leading conservatives continue to lend support to the sensationalist anti-Sharia movement. Newt Gingrich is even pushing for a federal law that “clearly and unequivocally states that we’re not going to tolerate any imported law.”

 

Georgia Going the Way of Oklahoma and other States

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on February 7, 2011 by loonwatch

Oklahoma got the Islamophobic ball rolling.

Lawyers Speak Against Ga. Bill That Bans Use of Foreign Laws in State Courts

(Law.com)

Critics of legislation in the General Assembly that would prohibit the adoption and practice of foreign laws in state courts say it unfairly targets Muslims, could discourage international business in Georgia and violates federal arbitration laws.

House Bill 45, introduced by Rep. Mike Jacobs, R-Atlanta, states “it shall be the public policy of this state to protect its citizens from the application of foreign laws when the application … will result in the violation of a right guaranteed by the Constitution of this state or of the United States.” The bill also would prevent arbitrators or tribunals from enforcing a foreign law that didn’t meet constitutional standards.

Jacobs, a lawyer and vice chairman of the House Judiciary Committee, told the Fulton County Daily Report the bill would “ban the use of Sharia law in state courts.” He acknowledged that he was not aware of any instances in Georgia where a plaintiff or defendant asked the court to apply Sharia law but believes it has happened elsewhere.

“We’re seeing more of a feeling that Sharia law should be applied in domestic cases,” he said, such as divorces.

The chairman of the House Judiciary panel, Rep. Wendell Willard, R-Sandy Springs, has signed on as a sponsor but hedged when asked whether he supports the bill.

“I want to see what comes up in hearings,” Willard said, to answer this question: “Does it serve a real purpose or is that standard [that federal and state laws trump foreign laws] already recognized by courts in the state?”

M. Khurram Baig, a litigator with Kumar, Prabhu, Patel & Banerjee in Atlanta and a member of the Georgia Association of Muslim Lawyers, said the answer is no: “I don’t know of any instance where foreign law has prevailed in a Georgia court ever. So why is this necessary?”

“On its face,” he added, the bill “sounds fairly benign, fairly neutral. But given the political climate and timing, it’s fair to say it brings to bear the popular concerns that Sharia law will infiltrate America and is part of the Islamaphobia wave.”

Jacobs said he disagrees with the accusation of Islamaphobia.

“The bills speaks for itself on its merits,” he said.

Supporters and critics have mentioned a 2010 case in New Jersey in which a Moroccan man accused of domestic violence claimed a religious right to have nonconsenual sex his wife. But the state’s appeals court overturned the ruling of a superior court judge that the husband engaged in conduct constituting sexual assault but did not have the requisite criminal intent in doing so, finding that the man’s cultural and religious beliefs did not trump state statutes outlawing rape.

William E. Raftery, a research analyst for the National Center for State Courts, is tracking similar legislation being considered in about seven other states.

The first was in Oklahoma, where legislators called for a referendum in November 2010 banning Islamic law in state courtrooms. More than two-thirds of voters there passed the measure, but a federal judge issued an injunction a few days later blocking it, finding it posed a First Amendment infringement.

Raftery says Georgia’s bill appears to be like a “cut and paste” of the ones drafted in Tennessee, Louisiana and South Carolina.

“There are two different flavors. One is like Oklahoma’s, which specifically mentions Sharia law and calls for a constitutional amendment and bars recognizing the law of other states if they adopt Sharia law,” Raftery said. “The other is like Tennessee’s, which was the first state to propose a statutory change and didn’t mention Sharia. It just says ‘foreign laws.’”

Isam Salah, head of King & Spalding’s Middle East and Islamic Finance Practice Group, said he views the bill as a fearful reaction to the Islamic faith but maintains it won’t directly affect his practice.

“All investment and financing agreements we are drafting are U.S. law-governed documents,” he said. “Clients sometimes come to us and say, ‘Can this transaction be under Georgia law with the provision that it also be subject to Sharia law?’ And we say no.”

But Salah said he is concerned that HB 45 would advance the view among some Americans “that anything that is Islamic-related is evil. And people hearing about this [in predominantly Muslim countries] could be saying, ‘Maybe the U.S. is not the most hospitable place for our investments.’”

Salah noted that in New York, where he practices, legislators are considering tweaking tax laws to make them more acceptable to Sharia-compliant investments, namely Islamic bonds called sukuk.

Jacobs said he understands the concern but believes “Georgia courts ought to be in the business of making sure the law applied in Georgia courts meets minimal constitutional standards.”

Michael J. Broyde, academic director of Emory University’s law and religion program, said he thinks “the consequences of the bill have not been well thought out” partly because its restrictions on arbitrators and choice of venue would “incapacitate Georgia companies as they engage in international commerce.”

A bigger problem, he added, is that the bill “violates the Federal Arbitration Act and becomes an unconstitutional exercise of state authority.”

“Arbitration is a routine business exercise by people who are prepared to sacrifice some of their constitutional rights in return for reduced cost and expediency,” said Broyde, who also is an ordained rabbi and member of the Beth Din of America — the largest Jewish law court in the country.

Banning people from “willingly submitting to an ecclesiastical tribunal” is “inconsistent with traditional American practice.”

Jacobs said he’s hoping to resolve any perceived problems in Judiciary Committee meetings.

“I’m certainly willing to hear from practitioners who have concerns about specific applications of the bill as it is introduced.”

 

South Dakota Considering Ban on Courts Using “Foreign Religious or Moral Code”

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , on February 3, 2011 by loonwatch

South Dakota Considering Ban on Courts Using “Foreign Religious or Moral Code

(RightWingWatch)

In states like Wyoming and South Carolina, numerous state legislators are proposing measures to limit the application of “international” or “religious” laws in the court. An amendment that “forbids courts from considering or using international law” and “Sharia Law” passed easily in 2010, only to be blocked by a federal judge.

Now, it appears South Dakota is jumping on the bandwagon. The Republican-dominated State Legislature is considering House Joint Resolution 1004, which similar to the South Carolina resolution, uses broad language and does not explicitly mention Sharia law:

The judicial power of the state is vested in a unified judicial system consisting of a Supreme Court, circuit courts of general jurisdiction and courts of limited original jurisdiction as established by the Legislature. No such court may apply international law, the law of any foreign nation, or any foreign religious or moral code with the force of law in the adjudication of any case under its jurisdiction.

Twenty-eight members of the St

 

More States Enter Debate on Sharia’ Law

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , on December 9, 2010 by loonwatch

Hate rolls on.

More states enter debate on sharia law

By Donna Leinwand, USA TODAY

Muneer Awad’s opponents label him “a foreigner” trying to change Oklahoma’s laws.
Awad, 27, a recent University of Georgia law school graduate born in Michigan, says he’s standing up for the U.S. Constitution. “I’m trying to defend the First Amendment,” says Awad, director of Oklahoma’s chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).

At issue is an amendment to Oklahoma’s constitution passed overwhelmingly on Election Day that bars judges from considering Islamic or international law in Oklahoma state courts. Awad sued, and last week a federal judge temporarily blocked the law from taking effect while she determines whether it violates the U.S. Constitution, which prohibits establishment of a state religion.

Although Oklahoma’s law is the first to come under court scrutiny, legislators in at least seven states, including Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah, have proposed similar laws, the National Conference of State Legislatures says. Tennessee and Louisiana have enacted versions of the law banning use of foreign law under certain circumstances.

Newt Gingrich, former speaker of the U.S. House, is pushing for a federal law that “clearly and unequivocally states that we’re not going to tolerate any imported law.”

Based on Quran

Islamic law or sharia, which means “path” in Arabic, is a code of conduct governing all aspects of Muslim life, including family relationships, business dealings and religious obligations. It is based on the Quran, or Muslim holy book, and the teachings of the Muslim prophet Mohammed. Islamic countries operating under the guidance of sharia may have varying interpretations of the code.

Awad says the Oklahoma law would prohibit a judge from probating his will, written in compliance with Islamic principles, or adjudicating other domestic matters such as divorces and custody disputes involving Muslims.

Supporters of sharia bans, including Frank Gaffney, president of the Center for Security Policy, say Islamic law is creeping into U.S. courts.

Earlier this year, for example, an appeals court in New Jersey overturned a state court judge’s refusal to issue a restraining order against a Muslim man who forced his wife to engage in sexual intercourse. The judge found that the man did not intend to rape his wife because he believed his religion permitted him to have sex with her whenever he desired.

The case “presents a conflict between the criminal law and religious precepts,” the appeals court wrote. “In resolving this conflict, the judge determined to except (the husband) from the operation of the State’s statutes as the result of his religious beliefs. In doing so, the judge was mistaken.”

Gaffney’s think tank recently published a book that argues jihadists who want worldwide Islamic rule try to establish sharia courts to weaken democracies. “I think you’re seeing people coalesce around legislation of the kind that was passed in Oklahoma,” Gaffney says.

South Carolina legislators proposed a resolution in April that says state courts “shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider Sharia Law” or other international laws.

In Utah, Rep. Carl Wimmer, a Republican from Salt Lake County, withdrew his bill to ban foreign law after he learned that it could harm banking and international businesses. “My bill was just too broad,” he says.

Wimmer says he’s concerned about “increasing amount of judges who continue to look to foreign law and foreign courts to make their decisions.”

“It’s not an issue in Utah,” he says, “but I wanted to make sure it doesn’t become an issue in Utah.”

‘Just fear mongering’

Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for CAIR, sees the laws as an indication of growing anti-Muslim sentiment. “I’ve never seen it like this, even after 9/11,” Hooper says. “In another time, this would be laughed out of the Oklahoma Legislature.”

Islamic principles are interpreted differently in different parts of the world, Hooper says. “We have not found any conflict between what a Muslim needs to do to practice their faith and the Constitution or any other American laws,” Hooper says. “We are, in fact, relying on the Constitution as our last line of defense.”

Americans have no reason to fear sharia law in America, says Barry Lynn, executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, which advocates for religious freedom.

However, Lynn says he expects to see more attempts to ban sharia law regardless of the outcome in Oklahoma.

“It’s just fear mongering tinged with anti-Islamic sentiment,” he says.

Oklahoma’s attorney general will ask an appeals court to lift the injunction and allow the law to take effect.

Constitutional expert Erwin Chemerinsky, dean of the law school at University of California-Irvine, says the Oklahoma law won’t stand because it discriminates against one religion and violates the requirement for “full faith and credit,” which requires Oklahoma courts to enforce judgments from other states and countries.

“There is no blossoming of sharia law in Oklahoma,” says Randall Coyne, a professor of constitutional law at the University of Oklahoma College of Law. “There’s no risk of Oklahoma falling under the sway of sharia law or any other law other than American law for that matter. It’s fear mongering at its worst.”

 

Pamela Geller Watch: “Kill the Scum”

Posted in Feature, Loon Blogs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 1, 2010 by loonwatch

On Monday Pamela Geller responded to the Constitutional victory for freedom of religion that struck down the Oklahoma anti-Sharia’ and unicorns measure with the usual shrill cries that it was the end of America and a “blow to freedom.”

She accused the Judge of being “ignorant.” She also wailed on about how all the judge had to do was look at Europe to see how Sharia’ is slowly taking over, “She only had to look to Europe and the UK to witness how sharia is slowly intorduced into free societies.”

Pamela also approved a comment that can still be viewed on her blog, “BLOW TO FREEDOM: JUDGE BLOCKS OKLAHOMA SHARIA BAN” (yes thats all Caps), which called for the death of “scum” (i.e. Muslims),

David Biograd said…
Absolutely. The scum must die then they need to die some more.
Maybe.
Eh.
I wish…

Oh no there’s no Islamophobia here! And then they wonder where violent attacks against Muslims come from?

I wonder if that arch hypocrite Spencer, who a week ago complained that Spencerwatch.com had approved a comment that called him a “cancer” will “refudiate” his pal Geller for approving a comment a million times worse than any on Spencerwatch or Loonwatch? Will he call on her to take down the comment? That is the very least he can do, but why would he since he publishes comments as egregious if not more so on his own website and on the SIOA page, but don’t hold your breath.

 

A Victory for the Constitution: OK Injunction Struck Down

Posted in Anti-Loons, Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 29, 2010 by loonwatch

Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange has strongly stated that the so called “anti-Sharia” measure is an affront to the Constitution. A sad day for fear-mongerers like Robert SpencerPamela Geller and others who wished to foster hate of Muslims. Special shame on the politicians who attempted to ride the wave of Islam-bashing to populist success.

Judge rules in favor of Muslim man on State Question 755; Injunction filed

BY NOLAN CLAY

A federal judge today issued a preliminary injunction that keeps a restriction against Islamic Sharia law out of the Oklahoma Constitution for now.

In a 15-page order, U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange ruled in favor of an Oklahoma City Muslim who complained the new constitutional amendment would violate his religious freedom.

Oklahomans on Nov. 2 approved the amendment — in State Question 755 — with more than 70 percent of the vote. The amendment forbids state courts from using or considering international law or Islamic Sharia law in making decisions.

Muneer Awad, 27, quickly challenged the amendment, saying it demonizes his faith. Awad is executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma.

The judge on Nov. 8 agreed to a temporary restraining order barring the state Election Board from certifying the SQ 755 results. Her order today means the Election Board is barred indefinitely from certifying the results.

In today’s order, the judge wrote that Awad “has made a strong showing that State Question 755′s amendment’s primary effect inhibits religion and that the amendment fosters an excessive government entanglement with religion.”

The judge also wrote: “This order addresses issues that go to the very foundation of our country, our (U.S.) Constitution, and particularly, the Bill of Rights. Throughout the course of our country’s history, the will of the ‘majority’ has on occasion conflicted with the constitutional rights of individuals, an occurrence which our founders foresaw and provided for through the Bill of Rights.”

Read more: http://newsok.com/judge-rules-in-favor-of-muslim-man-on-state-question-755-injunction-filed/article/3519080#ixzz16hxM0T35