Monday, June 14, 2010

We don't need a separate system for Moslems

I'm usually a believer in the "if it ain't broke, don't fix it" philosophy when it comes to making laws, but I think Oklahoma lawmakers are onto something with their desire to ban the use of Moslem Sharia law in their state.

The Edmond, Okla., newspaper has a story titled Sharia law, courts likely on 2010 ballot, and here are some excerpts:

State lawmakers say it’s a pre-emptive strike against Sharia law, needed to prevent here what has happened in the United Kingdom.

An Islamic leader says it’s another example of a rising tide of anti-Islamic bigotry in America.

State Question 755, which likely will be on the ballot in November, would make in-state courts rely on federal and state laws when deciding cases and forbid courts from using international law or Sharia law when making rulings.

The proposal, which has an Edmond connection, would amend Article 7, Section 1 of the Oklahoma Constitution, and stems from House Joint Resolution 1056, dubbed the “Save Our State” amendment, passed during the just-finished legislative session.

State Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, a co-author of HJR 1056, said American courts are being more frequently challenged that international law should trump U.S. law.

“Sharia law coming to the U.S. is a scary concept,” Sykes said. “Hopefully the passage of this constitutional amendment will prevent it in Oklahoma.”

Council on American-Islamic Relations spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said he has been working on Muslim civil rights issues for several decades and anti-Islam rhetoric is approaching “Nazi-like” levels.

“This is just the flip side of the anti-Semitic coin,” Hooper said.

The wording in SQ 755 is being altered. In a letter dated June 2, addressed to the secretary of state and legislative leaders, the Attorney General’s Office concluded the present wording does not comply with applicable laws because it does no adequately define either Sharia law or international law.

The legislation behind SQ 755 was inspired by the realization, through media observation, that Islam is spreading into America at an alarming rate, and that activist judges are beginning to give credence to “international law,” Duncan said.

Duncan said reaction to the proposal has been entirely positive, and he believes as Oklahomans become aware of the measure they will support it overwhelmingly.

Islam is one of the fastest-growing religions in the United States and in the world, according to CAIR. About seven million Muslims residing in America attend about 2,000 mosques, Islamic schools and Islamic centers.

Of course, the liberals are already calling this a racist proposal. A Portland, Ore., liberal has written an essay that says Oklahoma's "Save Our State" amendment to ban sharia law is abominable.

Here's an excerpt from his diatribe:

The Christian fascists who call Oklahoma home are proposing a constitutional amendment to "Save Our State" from what has been deemed the "coming onslaught" of Sharia law on the good white Christians of Oklahoma.

"Sharia law coming to the U.S. is a scary concept," state Sen. Anthony Sykes, a Republican who co-authored one proposal, dubbed the "Save Our State" amendment, told The Edmond Sun. "Hopefully the passage of this constitutional amendment will prevent it in Oklahoma."

"It is a cancer upon the survivability of the UK," state Rep. Rex Duncan, primary author of State Question 755, the ballot initiative, told The Sun. "SQ 755 will constitute a pre-emptive strike against Sharia law coming to Oklahoma."

He was referring, of course, to the right wing fundamentalist myth that Europe is set to become an Islamic state ruled by Sharia. In the UK two parties can agree to a hearing under Sharia law, as long as it doesn't conflict with standing law. It's no different from going in front of The People's Court or Judge Judy. It cannot override any law.

Other lawmakers spoke of a coming "onslaught" of Sharia cases, and suggested other states would follow Oklahoma's first-in-the-nation example.

I'm one Missourian who wouldn't oppose following that example. I did a little bit of reading about Sharia law and found that it doesn't sound like something we need in the United States. Here from an Asian online publication are some excerpts from an essay titled Wife beating, sharia and Western law

Nonetheless, some Western legal authorities, including the president of Britain's Supreme Court, Lord Phillips, promote the use of sharia courts to adjudicate family disputes in Western nations. Dr Rowan Williams, the archbishop of Canterbury, drew a storm of criticism in 2008 when he proposed that sharia courts could hear domestic cases among Muslims in the United Kingdom.

Several months later, Lord Phillips said at a London mosque, "Those who are in dispute are free to subject it to mediation or to agree that it shall be resolved by a chosen arbitrator. There is no reason why principles of sharia law or any other religious code should not be the basis for mediation or other forms of dispute resolution."

Punishments, he added, should be "drawn from the laws of England and Wales". Stoning, whipping and amputating hands were "out of the question". He did not mention spanking, a telling omission, for Islamic authorities explicitly allow husbands to inflict limited corporal punishment on their wives. A number of putatively pro-family legal scholars in the United States argue that sharia should be applied to American family law. That is monstrous. Not since German jurists endorsed Adolf Hitler's race laws during the 1930s have legal theorists in the West betrayed their principles so egregiously.

I can find no record of a recognized Muslim authority repudiating wife-beating. Tariq Ramadan, the Swiss Muslim scholar who purports to offer a Westernized version of Islam, notoriously defended wife-beating in a 2003 televised debate with then-French interior minister Nicolas Sarkozy.

We have a Constitution and a whole boxcar trainload of laws (too many of them) that are supposed to fall in line with that document. We have a judicial system that is supposed to make decisions based on laws that apply to all of us equally. The United States does not need a separate system for Moslems. They should conform to our laws and legal system or get out.

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