Archive for Sharia ban

Civil War in Tennessee: Right Wing in Dispute Over Sharia Ban

Posted in Loon Politics with tags , , , , , , , , on April 26, 2011 by loonwatch
That Sharia is pretty scary stuff, when it’s written in creepy blood font

The right wing loons supporting the anti-Sharia bill probably view Coley as a stealth jihadi.

Mother Jones – Tennessee Sharia Bill Too Extreme For Tea Partiers by Tim Murphy

Today in Nashville lawmakers will hold hearings on SB 1028, a bill that makes it a felony in Tennessee to provide material support for terrorism. That’s already a federal crime, of course, but that’s hardly the point: The bill, introduced by State Sen. Bill Ketron and Rep. Judd Matheny, both Republicans, is the most radical of the more than two-dozen proposals nationwide to block the implementation of Islamic Sharia law on the unsuspecting citizenry. Now Ketron and Matheny are facing opposition from an unlikely source: the tea party.

According to William Coley, a member of the Knoxville Tea Party and a Muslim-American, his group will formally condemn the legislation at a press conference this morning, warning that the bill expands the powers of the police state while doing nothing to make Tennesseans any safer.

(Update: I’ve got a copy of the statement; it’s not a condemnation, but it’s hardly an endorsement either. Here’s the crux of it: “While the Knoxville Tea Party truly appreciates the sincere intentions behind SB1028, we do not feel that peaceful gatherings by ourselves, our friends, or neighbors is the problem, nor do we feel that increased surveillance by the State of Tennessee and intrusion into its citizens’ lives is the answer. The federal government already does far too much of that.”)

Last week, Coley says, he was thrown out of Rep. Matheny’s office, along with a coalition of Tennessee Muslim leaders, after a contentious exchange over the legislation. In his version of events, Coley told Matheny he and the Knoxville Tea Party would work to defeat the legislation. Matheny told him that if that happened, he’d simply introduce the bill again next year. That was too much for Coley: “I was just like, ‘Look, Bro, if you’re going to propose this bill again next year, this is just a waste of our time.’ This guy has forgotten he’s an elected official.’ I got up to leave and I said, ‘You don’t have job security and you will not be back again next year.’” (Coley does not live in Matheny’s district.)

According to Coley, Matheny was supported in the meeting by a representative of the Tennessee Eagle Forum, the local chapter of Phyllis Schlafly’s right-wing organization. It was the Eagle Forum that pushed for the Tennessee legislation originally, enlisting Arizona-based attorney David Yerushalmi’s help in drafting the bill. But Matheny’s argument that he has strong grassroots backing is misleading, Coley says, because the tea party is not fully on board. “Not the way Matheny is trying to make it look. Basically, when I told Matheny that, he told me he didn’t believe me. I told him ‘You can believe what you want; I’ve got the Knoxville Tea Party on speed dial—you can call them. I didn’t threaten him with bodily harm, I threatened him with removal from office.”

Coley’s opposition to the bill stemmed originally from its broad prohibition on adherence to Islamic law, which the text defined as fundamentally counter to the nation’s founding principles. As orginally written, the state could have punished observant Muslims like Coley with prison sentences for providing material support to any organization that supports Sharia—a local mosque, for instance. After the ensuing public outcry, the bill was modified substantially; previous references to Islam have been stricken, and the legislation now serves as a sort of replica of existing federal material support for terrorism statutes.

To the Knoxville Tea Party, that’s alarming for a totally new set of reasons. As Coley explains, ”It’s the Patriot Act for the State of Tennessee!” He and fellow activists are concerned that the law as written would apply not only to conventional Islamic terrorist networks, but tea party groups as well, by giving the state power to investigate right-wing groups. As proof, they cite the 2009 Department of Homeland Security memo warning of a possible uptick in right-wing extremism, particularly among disaffected veterans. That report, commissioned by George W. Bush’s Department of Homeland Security, has become a rallying cry on the right.

Still, it’s unclear just how widespread tea party opposition to the anti-Sharia legislation is. Nationally, anti-Muslim politicians like Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) have been embraced by the movement, and the Knoxville group’s closest neighbors, the Smoky Mountain Tea Party Patriots, have supported the Tennessee measure. Coley tried to encourage members of that group to attend an informational presentation on Islam that he conducted at a local library, but the response was decidely negative. Coley, for his part, dismisses them as “a bunch of crazy extremists.”

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.”

 

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.”

 

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

 

NYT: Intolerance and the Law in Oklahoma

Posted in Loon-at-large with tags , , , , , , , on November 29, 2010 by loonwatch

Intolerance and the Law in Oklahoma

(Editorial)

For a few days this month, it was illegal in Oklahoma for a state judge to base a court decision on Islamic religious law or consider any form of international law. It was a manufactured problem; the issue has never come up in the state’s courts. But more than 70 percent of voters in Oklahoma still approved a state constitutional amendment to that effect, apparently persuaded by anti-Islamic activists, and a few cynical politicians, that Oklahoma was about to be brought under Islam’s heel.

After Muslim groups challenged the constitutionality of the “Save Our State Amendment,” a federal district judge issued a temporary restraining order. Last Monday, the judge, Vicki Miles-LaGrange, held a hearing to determine whether to issue a preliminary injunction against the measure, and said she would make a decision by the end of November. A federal injunction is warranted to save Oklahoma from its pernicious folly and to prevent other states from following the same path.

Islam-bashing for political gain was a chilling feature of this year’s campaign. The proposed Islamic center and mosque in downtown Manhattan was publicly announced last year, but no one paid much attention until activists began loudly denouncing it in the middle of the midterm election campaign. Right-wing groups then made commercials attacking several Democratic candidates for respecting the First Amendment and saying they had no problems with the project.

Islamic law, known as Shariah, is no threat to our legal system and is not in force anywhere in the United States except within a religious community, in the same manner as Jewish Halakhic law or Catholic canon law.

Nonetheless, supporters of the amendment raised absurd fears that it could entangle the American courts at any minute. Rex Duncan, a Republican state representative and the author of the ballot measure, told The Los Angeles Times that Oklahoma does not yet have that problem. “But why wait until it’s in the courts?” he asked. He has also said that Muslims want to take away American liberties and freedom.

It is fear-mongering, of course, and all too successful. As James McKinley Jr. recentlyreported in The Times, the issue helped drive the high Republican turnout at the polls in Oklahoma.

That, combined with the national Republican wave, helped give the party veto-proof control of the Legislature and a Republican governor for the first time. Now Republicans in several other states are talking about similar measures. Muslim leaders in Oklahoma say they are getting more hate mail.

It’s bad enough that in its hatred the state amendment singles out a religion’s law for condemnation, in violation of the nation’s Constitution. Or that it forbids a longstanding practice of mentioning the laws of other nations in a legal ruling. It is not even clear what the implications might be if the courts allowed this measure.

Would private contracts or wills drawn up under religious law, a common practice, be unenforceable, or only those drawn up by Muslims? Could a judge refer to the Bible in a ruling, but not the Koran? How about the Book of Mormon or the teachings of Confucius?

The voters of Oklahoma were badly misled by demagogues into passing a profoundly un-American measure. Now it is up to the federal courts to prevent the hatred from spreading further.