March 16, 2011 –
OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — The Oklahoma state lawmaker who wrote the proposed ban on the use of Islamic law and other international tenets in state courtrooms lashed out Tuesday against the federal judge who blocked it, calling her the exact kind of “liberal, activist judge” the plan hopes to stop.
Former state Rep. Rex Duncan, R-Sand Springs, criticized U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange’s ruling this week to grant a preliminary injunction that prevents the state from certifying the results of the Nov. 2 election. More than 70 percent of voters approved State Question 755, which would place the ban into the state constitution.
Duncan, who attended the federal hearing in Oklahoma City, said Miles-LaGrange appears to be sympathetic to the plaintiff, Muneer Awad, a Muslim living in Oklahoma who claims the proposed ban is unconstitutional.
“She was well known to be a liberal, activist state senator, and I don’t know that her ruling is far from what one would have expected,” Duncan told The Associated Press on Tuesday. “One would surmise that her sympathies were with the plaintiff. But hers won’t be the final order on the matter.”
Meanwhile, the Oklahoma State Election Board voted Tuesday to ask the attorney general to appeal the court’s decision to grant a preliminary injunction. Charlie Price, a spokesman for the attorney general’s office, told The Associated Press that such an appeal is “likely.”
Duncan, who stepped down from his House post to run for district attorney in Pawnee and Osage counties, said he sponsored the measure because he thinks Muslim rights groups such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations want to hijack the country’s legal system.
“CAIR and other groups … have been working deliberately to get Sharia statutes, Sharia-compliant banking, and to expand those toe-holds further into a greater presence in American courts,” Duncan said.
Awad, the plaintiff in the suit, is the executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of CAIR.
Duncan said he’s also heard from lawmakers in as many as a dozen states who are interested in introducing similar bills, although he declined to say which states.
“It’s my understanding that some of these efforts probably won’t include Sharia by name, but will be intended to prevent foreign law, international law, from being used in those respective state courts,” Duncan said.
Gov.-elect Mary Fallin, a Republican, said Tuesday she supports the intent of preventing the use of Sharia law in Oklahoma courts. But she said she’s also heard concerns from some businesses that the measure could adversely affect international contracts.
“We’re going to work with incoming Attorney General Scott Pruitt to look at how we can maintain the intent of the law, but also deal with any of the unintended consequences that may come out of its passage,” Fallin said.
“Oklahoma voters may not have the legal background to understand that neither international law nor Sharia law presents a credible threat to the state, but our lawmakers should know better,” Thai said. “Politicians play on fears while statesmen rise above them. It’s pretty clear that politicians won the day with the passage of the amendment.”
March 9, 2011TALLAHASSEE (CBS4) – The Florida Republican-led legislature may be about to join a dozen other states in pushing a law that would prevent Florida courts from considering international law, specifically Sharia Law
However, according to the South Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), the law affects all religions including: Islam, Jewish, Hindu, and even Christian laws.
GOP-led legislatures across the country have been racing to see which one would be able to get the first anti-Sharia law passed and upheld by the courts. Oklahoma tried a similar bill, but it was thrown out because of the Constitution’s ban on religious discrimination or favoritism.
A similar bill first emerged last year, but according to CBS Miami news partner the Miami Herald, an analysis found that the law could violate the Constitution’s separation-of-powers because state courts could hurt the federal government’s ability to govern foreign policy and the judiciary’s constitutional role as interpreting laws.
(© MMX CBS Television Stations. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. CBS4 news partner The Miami Herald contributed material for this report)
David Yerushalmi, Islam-Hating White Supremacist Inspires Anti-Sharia Bills Sweeping Tea Party Nation
You’ve gotta hand it to David Yerushalmi. Until now, I can’t recall a Jew who’s ever been called a white supremacist before (actually now that I think of it, I called him a Jewish white supremacist way back in 2007). Thanks to him, we now can. They said that one of the virtues of Zionism was that now Israel could have Jewish criminals. I guess the same holds true for Jewish racists. Thanks to Dovid Yerushalmi Jews are really breaking new ground.I’m referring to an eye-opening expose in Mother Jones about the inspiration the Jewish extremist is offering for the anti-Muslim legal initiatives that are sweeping the south after the victory of one such campaign in Oklahoma a few months ago. Now Tennessee stands ready to draw the line at Muslim infidels thrusting their scimitars into the private parts of Christian maidens. The legislature there is considering a bill which would ban the use of foreign legal systems like Sharia in the adjudication of any legal matters within the state. So far, I haven’t seen any Tennesseans clamoring to apply Sharia to the laws governing horse-racing at Churchill Downs. But that doesn’t deter Yerushalmi, who has projects like this cooking in several other southern Tea Party strongholds. (More)
March 1, 2011
– State Legislators announced House Bill 708 Tuesday, that would ban Sharia law, as well as other foreign laws, from being applied in Missouri courts.
State Representative Paul Curtman (R-Pacific) is sponsoring the legislation, and says Missourians should be governed by American law.
“I think this is another important step in defending the rights and liberties of our citizens,” Curtman said. “Our heritage is grounded in the idea that our government must protect those rights and liberties. This legislation will help make it clear the constitution and laws of our country are the only laws that should be considered when governing our citizens in our country.”
In a press conference with Speaker of the House Stephen Tilley (R-Perry) Tuesday morning, Curtman could not provide an example of foreign law trumping domestic law in Missouri courts.
“The Supreme Court is already using international law and foreign laws to help render some of their decisions and some of the concerns from the citizenry in Missouri and other states is just that this is going to continue to trickle down into our state courts,” he said.
But specifically in Missouri? Curtman said, “I don’t have the specifics with me right now but if you go to — the web address kind of escapes my mind right now. Any Google search on international law used in the state courts in the U.S. is going to turn up some cases for you.”
Later Tuesday afternoon, Tilley sent out a statement citing a single case in New Jersey. There, a Muslim man apparently sexually assaulted his wife. The judge did not cite Sharia law, instead citing first amendment religious concerns in his ruling, which was overturned by a higher court.
But broadly, Tilley says it is an issue of sovereignty.
“The concept of this legislation is fairly simple,” he said. “We believe that the laws of this country should trump any other laws regarding the citizens of our country within our borders.”
Critics ask if the law is just “Islamaphobia,” pointing to the sponsors not providing an example of Sharia law being used to trump state law.
Elsewhere, in Tennessee, legislators have even attempted to make it illegal to follow some forms of Sharia law. And in Oklahoma during the 2010 election, voters adopted a similar ban to the one Missouri is considering.
The Speaker’s office says HB 708 “seeks to address some of the legal concerns” by the individuals challenging the constitutionality in the Oklahoma measure.
March 1, 2011
Local Muslim, Jewish and Christian leaders and representatives from the national Council on American-Islamic Relations gathered near the Tennessee Capitol this afternoon to ask an anti-Shariah bill be withdrawn.
They fear that the law would make it illegal to be Muslim in Tennessee.
“All of a sudden, I pray using the Koran or the Sunnas of the Prophet, and it’s a crime,” said Imam Yusuf Abdullah of Masjid Al-Islam in Nashville. “What kind of bill is that?”
The bill is sponsored in the Senate by Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, and in the House by Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma. Supporters say it only applies to terrorists, and one section says, “This part neither targets, nor incidentally prohibits or inhibits, the peaceful practice of any religion, and in particular, the practice of Islam by its adherents.”
However, the bill also claims that Shariah law demands the overthrow of the U.S. Constitution: “The knowing adherence to sharia and to foreign sharia authorities is
prima facie evidence of an act in support of the overthrow of the United States
government … .”
It gives the state attorney general the right to say who is practicing any kind of Shariah law — which includes prayers, marriage and dietary restrictions — and who is in support of it. Those convicted would be guilty of a Class B felony punishable by a fine, not less than 15 years in prison or both.
States across the country are considering far-right bills to ban Islamic law. For that, we have hate-group leader David Yerushalmi to thank.
— By Tim Murphy
Last week, legislators in Tennessee introduced a radical bill that would make “material support” for Islamic law punishable by 15 years in prison. The proposal marks a dramatic new step in the conservative campaign against Muslim-Americans. If passed, critics say even seemingly benign activities like re-painting the exterior of a mosque or bringing food to a potluck could be classified as a felony.
The Tennessee bill, SB 1028, didn’t come out of nowhere. Though it’s the first of its kind, the bill is part of a wave of related measures that would ban state courts from enforcing Sharia law. (A court might refer to Sharia law in child custody or prisoner rights cases.) Since early 2010, such legislation has been considered in at least 15 states. And while fears of an impending caliphate are myriad on the far-right, the surge of legislation across the country is largely due to the work of one man: David Yerushalmi, an Arizona-based white supremacist who has previously called for a “war against Islam” and tried to criminalize adherence to the Muslim faith.
Yerushalmi, a lawyer, is the founder of the Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE), which has been called a “hate group” by the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR). His draft legislation served as the foundation for the Tennessee bill, and at least half a dozen other anti-Islam measures—including two bills that were signed into law last year in Louisiana and Tennessee.
With the exception of SB 1028, much of Yerushalmi’s legislation sounds pretty innocuous: State courts are prohibited from considering any foreign law that doesn’t fully honor the rights enshrined in the US and state constitutions. Because a Taliban-style interpretation of Islamic law is unheard of in the United States, the law’s impact is non-existent at best. But critics of some of the proposed bills have argued they could have far-reaching and unintended consequences, like undoing anti-kidnapping statutes, and hindering the ability of local companies to enter into contracts overseas.
But Tennessee’s SB 1028 goes much further, defining traditional Islamic law as counter to constitutional principles, and authorizing the state’s attorney general to freeze the assets of organizations that have been determined to be promoting or supporting Sharia. On Monday, CAIR and the ACLU called for lawmakers to defeat the bill.
“Essentially the bill is trying to separate the ‘good Muslims’ from the ‘bad Muslims,'” said CAIR staff attorney Gadeir Abbas in an interview with Mother Jones. “Out of all the bills that have been introduced, this is by far the most extreme.”
Reports about the rise of the anti-Sharia movement have typically focused on Oklahoma’s voter-approved constitutional amendment, which explicitly prohibited state courts from considering Islamic law (a federal judge issued a permanent injunction against the amendment in December). But the movement began much earlier, with a sample bill Yerushalmi drafted at the behest of the American Public Policy Alliance, a right-wing organization established with the goal of protecting American citizens from “the infiltration and incursion of foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines, especially Islamic Shariah Law.”
In a 40-minute PowerPoint that’s available on the organization’s site, Yerushalmi explained the ins and outs of the sample legislation. His bills differ from the failed Oklahoma amendment in one key way: They don’t mention Sharia. Instead, they focus more broadly on “foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines.” As Yerushalmi explained in an interview with the nativist New English Review in December, the language is “facially neutral,” thereby achieving the same result while “avoiding the sticky problems of our First Amendment jurisprudence.”
Since crafting the sample legislation, Yerushalmi’s services have been been in high demand as an expert witness. In mid-February, he flew to South Dakota to testify in support of a bill modeled on his “American Law for American Courts” plan. (He also offered to provide pro-bono legal support for the state if the law produced any legal challenges.)
Ultimately, the bill died in committee, after the state’s attorney general testified that the bill could lead to lawsuits. “I am a little chagrined by the fact that none of the opponents of the bill have actually read it with any care,” Yerushalmi told the committee. “Something else is at work here.”
But it’s not just Muslims who draw Yerushalmi’s scorn. In a 2006 essay for SANE entitled On Race: A Tentative Discussion (pdf), Yerushalmi argued that whites are genetically superior to blacks. “Some races perform better in sports, some better in mathematical problem solving, some better in language, some better in Western societies and some better in tribal ones,” he wrote.
Yerushalmi has suggested that Caucasians are inherently more receptive to republican forms of government than blacks—an argument that’s consistent with SANE’s mission statement, which emphasizes that “America was the handiwork of faithful Christians, mostly men, and almost entirely white.” And in an article published at the website Intellectual Conservative, Yerushalmi, who is Jewish, suggests that liberal Jews “destroy their host nations like a fatal parasite.” Unsurprisingly, then, Yerushalmi offered the lone Jewish defense of Mel Gibson, after the actor’s anti-Semitic tirade in 2006. Gibson, he wrote, was simply noting the “undeniable Jewish liberal influence on western affairs in the direction of a World State.”
Despite his racist views, Yerushalmi has been warmly received by mainstream conservatives; his work has appeared in the National Review and Andrew Breitbart’s Big Peace. He’s been lauded in the pages of the Washington Times. And in 2008, he published a paper on the perils of Sharia-compliant finance that compelled Sen. Minority Whip John Kyl (R-Ariz.) to write a letter to Securities and Exchange Commission chairman Chris Cox.
More recently, Yerushalmi co-authored a report on the threats posed by Islamic law—among other things, he worries Sharia-compliant finance could spark another financial collapse—that earned plaudits from leading Republicans like Michigan Rep. Pete Hoekstra. The report was released by Frank Gaffney’s Center for Security Policy, for which Yerushalmi is general counsel.
In 2007, he pushed legislation to make “adherence to Shari’a” a felony, punishable by up to 20 years in prison. That same proposal called for the deportation of all Muslim non-citizens, and a ban on Muslim immigration. The United States, he urged, must declare “a WAR AGAINST ISLAM and all Muslim faithful.”
Neither Yerushalmi nor the American Public Policy Alliance responded to a request for comment for this article.
If his racially infused writings and rhetoric are any indication, it’s Yerushalmi, not his Muslim bogeymen, who seems most determined to remake the American political system. Per its mission statement, SANE is “dedicated to the rejection of democracy and party rule,” and Yerushalmi has likewise criticized the universal suffrage movement. As he once put it, “there’s a reason the founding fathers did not give women or black slaves the right to vote.”
Tim Murphy is an editorial fellow at Mother Jones.
Nov. 9, 2010
A ban on sharia law that was voted into Oklahoma’s state constitution last week has been blocked by a federal judge.
A federal judge in Oklahoma has issued an order putting on hold the certification of a ballot measure that forbids state courts from considering or using international laws, as well as Sharia, or Islamic law. That permanent injunction will allow the judge more time to consider the constitutional issues raised by State Question 755, which was approved by voters earlier this month.
Nov. 29, 2010
A federal judge issued a temporary restraining order Monday to block a new amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution that would prohibit state courts from considering international or Islamic law when deciding cases
January 20, 2011
CASPER, Wyo. — Wyoming judges wouldn’t be allowed to consider Islamic law or international law when making rulings, under a proposed state constitutional amendment introduced this week.
January 25, 2011
While Gay pushes to stop the non-existent use of Islamic law in courts, the Wyoming State House today passed a bill to “direct Wyoming to not recognize marriages or civil unions between same-sex couples performed out of state, including foreign countries.”
January 26, 2011
January 31, 2011