The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations announced today it will file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of a state ballot measure that bars judges from considering Islamic law in any ruling.
On Tuesday, with about a dozen other states watching, Oklahoma became the first state to put before voters the proposition that Islamic courts, Islamic law – known as Shariah – and Shariah-based court decisions should be banned.
State Question 755, a constitutional amendment, was approved by 70 percent of Oklahoma voters. But at a news conference today, CAIR-OK Executive Director Muneer Awad called the measure unnecessary and offensive.
“There’s no threat,” Awad said, according to The Oklahoman newspaper. “It’s a legal impossibility.”
Awad was joined at the news conference by Chuck Thornton, deputy director of ACLU-Oklahoma; Imad Enchassi, imam of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City; and Nathaniel Batchelder, director of the Central Oklahoma Human Rights Association.
The local leaders charged Oklahoma politicians used fear-mongering and misinformation to scare citizens into supporting the measure, the Oklahoma paper reported.
Awad asserted the measure conflicts with the U.S. Constitution while Thornton warned it could discourage international investment in Oklahoma.
Thornton called the measure an “ugly piece of legislation that was used to inflame passions against the Islamic community.”
An author of the legislation, however, Republican state Sen. Anthony Sykes, said the measure, and one that requires official state actions to be conducted in English, reflected the values of Oklahomans.
“Certainly each of these measures had critics, but the crushing margins by which these constitutional amendments passed shows without a doubt that those critics are deeply out of touch with the values and views of Oklahomans, just as Washington, D.C., is out of touch with America,” Sykes said.
CAIR, whose national office is in the nation’s capital, describes itself as a civil-rights group, but FBI evidence points to its origin as a front group for the Muslim Brotherhood and its offshoot Hamas, and the Justice Department designated it an unindicted co-conspirator in the largest terror-finance case in U.S. history. The Washington, D.C.-based group, which has more than a dozen former and current leaders with known associations with violent jihad, is suing two investigators behind the best-selling expose “Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America”.
The chief sponsor of the measure, state Rep. Rex Duncan, has argued that while the threat of Shariah in Oklahoma is not “imminent,” there’s “a storm on the horizon.”
As a bill in Oklahoma legislature, the Shariah ban, called “Save Our State,” received the support of 82 of 92 members in the state House and 41 of 43 members in the Senate.
Critics of the measure argue there’s never been a single use of Shariah in Oklahoma, and Islamic leaders have called it “fear-mongering.”
The non-profit advocacy group Act for America contributed 250,000 automated telephone calls to voters, warning them of what founder Brigitte Gabriel calls “the destructive effects of this radical legal system in Europe.”
Gabriel called Shariah, which stipulates punishments ranging from chopping off the hand of a thief to death for infidelity, “is an oppressive, discriminatory law system. It suppresses religion, speech.”
“We want to make a very strong message (to Muslims), you are welcome to America, pray to whatever god you want to pray to, the Constitution gives you that right, but in America our law is the Constitution,” she said.
Gabriel said it’s imperative for voters to establish that the U.S. Constitution, and no other document, is the controlling law of the land before the U.S. begins looking like the U.K.
“We are trying to warn Americans to look at what’s happening in Europe. If Europe is any preview, we need to make sure we put up the barriers right now,” she said.
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