Muneer Awad

The leader of Oklahoma’s chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations got into a feisty exchange on air in which he defended the use of Islamic law in state courts while refusing to answer questions about his organization’s national agenda.

CAIR-OK Executive Director Muneer Awad was interviewed today by WND senior reporter Aaron Klein on New York City’s WABC 770 AM.

At one point, Awad grew so heated he accused Klein of lying and asked the blusterous question, “Do you condemn the KKK?”

The discussion began with questions about CAIR’s legal challenge to a ballot initiative passed by Oklahoma voters that bans judges from using Islamic law – known as Shariah – in court decisions.

Awad argued that the voter-passed constitutional amendment is a violation of Muslims’ First Amendment rights, and that “Shariah law has never been used in Oklahoma before this amendment came about.”

Klein pointed out, however, that the amendment was intended to be preventative.

The United Kingdom, for example, now has 85 separate Shariah courts for Muslims that operate in parallel with the Crown courts of the nation, and one judge in New Jersey already has cited Shariah in a defense of a man accused of assaulting his wife, though the judge’s decision was overturned in appeal.

“A religious law can never replace and conflict the law of our land,” Awad countered. “Shariah law doesn’t govern the case; Shairah law is something for the judge to consider in order to come to a ruling.”

Awad insisted that Shariah is compliant with both American values and its Constitution, since the Islamic law is “dynamic” in that it changes based on circumstances, including governing law of land where implemented.

But when Klein then turned to national issues and the history of CAIR and its founders, Awad grew immediately defensive.

Citing FBI testimony and documents linking CAIR to the international terror-backing organizations Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood, Klein asked if Awad condemned the groups.

“I condemn any organization that is involved in any acts of terrorism,” Awad responded.

Awad, however, blasted back that he was “offended” by the questions and challenged, “Do you condemn the KKK?”

“Of course I condemn the KKK, but I’m not part of an organization that was founded by the KKK,” Klein said. “You, on the other hand, are part of CAIR, which, there was a new book put out, ‘Muslim Mafia,’ which brings documentation and that the FBI earlier even testified to this, that your organization, CAIR, was funded by Muslim Brotherhood offshoots, was listed by the Muslim Brotherhood in documents as a like-minded partner.”

“That has no academic basis to it,” Awad answered. “Absolutely not true.”

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The radio interview, including both the discussion on Shariah and the argument over CAIR’s national track record, can be heard below:

As WND reported, Oklahoma became the first state to put before voters the proposition that Shariah-based court decisions should be banned.

State Question 755 was approved by 70 percent of Oklahoma voters. But at a news conference this past week, Awad announced CAIR-OK will file a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the ballot measure.

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 Oklahoman 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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