Monday, November 15, 2010

Court Blocks Oklahoma Sharia Ban

In yet another indication of the increasing alienation of the political elites from the popular will, U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange on Monday granted a temporary restraining order blocking Oklahoma’s brand-new anti-Sharia law. Seventy percent of Oklahomans voted for the measure, but who cares? The Hamas-linked Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) argued that the measure was “anti-Islam,” and that was enough to prevail in today’s multiculturalist environment. As Abraham Lincoln put it long ago, “The people…have ceased to be their own rulers.”

Muneer Awad, executive director of the Oklahoma CAIR chapter, sought the restraining order on the grounds that the law stigmatized Islam. The involvement of CAIR in the legal challenge to Oklahoma’s law ought to have raised red flags for Judge Miles-LaGrange and others involved with the case. CAIR operatives have repeatedly refused to denounce Hamas and Hizballah as terrorist groups. In 2007 CAIR was named an unindicted co-conspirator in a Hamas terror funding case. Several of its former officials have been convicted of various crimes related to jihad terror. Two of its other officials have made Islamic supremacist statements. CAIR also was involved in the Flying Imams’ intimidation suit against the passengers who reported their suspicious behavior.

But if she knew about any of that, it made no difference to Miles-LaGrange. CAIR immediately began thumping its chest at this victory over the popular will, saying: “CAIR says the ballot measure would infringe on the constitutional rights of ordinary Oklahomans — including the right to wear religious head scarves in driver’s license photographs, choose Islamic marriage contracts, implement Islamic wills, or to be buried according to one’s religious beliefs.”

But in this CAIR was, yet again, lying. The Oklahoma law forbids lawmakers from legislating for Oklahomans as a whole using Sharia rather than American law. It does not forbid private individuals from getting married or writing wills in any way they wish. The idea of the Oklahoma Sharia ban is to prevent judges from making decisions based on a legal system that contradicts the principles of American law in numerous particulars. But as the campaign season went on and especially after the law passed, the opposition to the law grew steadily more shrill and its claims more outlandish.

The first reaction from Islamic supremacists and their Leftist allies was ridicule. Asma Uddin, editor of and an attorney for The Becket Fund mocked the measure in the Huffington Post: “Judging by how Oklahoma voted in the recent election, one might conclude that despite its tiny Muslim population, Oklahoma was on the verge of becoming an Islamic caliphate in Middle America….Sadly, the notion of shariah, or Islam, ‘taking over’ America in a manner somewhat akin to the Seed Pods from The Return of the Body Snatchers seems to be infecting segments of the national political discourse, despite its inherent absurdity.”

The laughter, however, stuck in their throats when CAIR filed suit: why bother to go to the trouble and expense of filing suit against an absurd, unnecessary measure? After all, a law against a non-existent threat may be silly, but if there is no need for the law in the first place, there is no need to sue to overturn it.

To be sure, Uddin also argued against the wisdom of the measure itself, although in doing so she misrepresented it, speaking as if Oklahoma had outlawed Sharia as a matter of voluntary private arbitration. That was actually off the point, since the use of Sharia provisions in private arbitration doesn’t constitute the use of a law other than American law to legislate for Americans, which is what the Oklahoma anti-Sharia measure is all about.

Other Muslims fell back upon their tried-and-true tactic of claiming victim status. Omar Sacibey wrote for Religion News Service: “The bottom line: Muslims increasingly feel unwelcome, unwanted and viewed by their neighbors as un-American.” Yet this pose was self-contradictory, as there would be one easy way that Muslims could dispel suspicions and make themselves much more welcome: support the anti-Sharia initiative. Since many were saying that it was fantastical that anyone would think that they had any plans to impose Sharia anyway, why not declare open and wholehearted allegiance to the principles of the U.S. Constitution that are in contradiction to Sharia, such as the freedom of speech, freedom of conscience, and equality of rights of all people before the law — instead of yet again claiming victim status?

Perhaps seeing the weakness of the arguments that Islamic advocacy groups and spokesmen offered in the immediate aftermath of the passing of the measure, Rick Tepker of the University Of Oklahoma School Of Law tried a different tack: “Many of us who understand the law are scratching our heads this morning, laughing so we don’t cry. I would like to see Oklahoma politicians explain if this means that the courts can no longer consider the Ten Commandments. Isn’t that a precept of another culture and another nation? The result of this is that judges aren’t going to know when and how they can look at sources of American law that were international law in origin.”

Yet Tepker’s claim that the ban outlaws also the Ten Commandments is ridiculous for numerous reasons, including the fact that the Ten Commandments do not contradict the U.S. Constitution, while Sharia, with its discrimination against women and non-Muslim and its denial of the freedom of speech, most assuredly does.

Also, I rather suspect that nowadays if a judge invoked the Ten Commandments as a deciding factor in a ruling, the ACLU would immediately mount a challenge to the decision on Constitutional grounds — and I suspect that Rick Tepker would support that challenge. But his pro-Sharia stance here, and the mainstream media’s blitz against the Oklahoma law in general, is not actually based on knowledge of Sharia’s inhumane provisions, but on the prevailing political correctness and multiculturalism, and pervasive Muslim claim to victim status.

In any case, despite the granting of the temporary restraining order, CAIR has once again overreached. For either Sharia is compatible with the U.S. Constitution or it isn’t; now, thanks to its lawsuit, Americans will have an opportunity to air that out in a public discussion.

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