Sooners Scared of Sharia

It’s just about the most ridiculous thing I’ve seen. Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly approved a measure to ban courts in the state from considering Islamic sharia law when considering cases. It also forbids courts to look to the legal precepts of other nations or consider international law when deciding cases.  Each of these provisions is so idiotic that I don’t even know where to start.

State Question 755 (ominously called the Save Our State Amendment) added this to the Oklahoma Constitution (italics mine):

The Courts…when exercising their judicial authority, shall uphold and adhere to the law as provided in the United States Constitution, the Oklahoma Constitution, the United States Code, federal regulations promulgated pursuant thereto, established common law, the Oklahoma Statutes and rules promulgated pursuant thereto, and if necessary the law of another state of the United States provided the law of the other state does not include Sharia Law, in making judicial decisions. The courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international or Sharia Law. The provisions of this subsection shall apply to all cases before the respective courts including, but not limited to, cases of first impression.

This whole thing started because an Oklahoma state representative heard about a case in New Jersey where a trial judge ruled against a woman seeking a restraining order because her husband was acting on his religious beliefs. The trial judge was promptly reversed by an appellate court, but the matter did not even involved sharia. In the New Jersey case, the trial judge did not say that since sharia allows the husband to force himself on his wife, he is entitled to do so. The trial judge said that the man’s sincere religious belief prevented him from forming the necessary mens rea to constitute marital rape. The judge was wrong and justice prevailed.

Another sponsor of the measure fretted because England has embraced 85 sharia courts, “while Oklahoma is still able to defend itself against this sort of hideous invasion, we should do so.” The only problem is that England has not embraced 85 sharia courts. England has 85 sharia courts (or at least the Daily Mail tells us so), but that’s like saying Oklahoma has 111 Rotary Clubs. Has Oklahoma embraced the Rotary Clubs?  Are Oklahoma courts bound to consider the decisions of Rotary Clubs which have hideously invaded the state, unless a constitutional amendment is passed?

People can voluntarily be a part of any organization. The only thing the sharia courts offer that is different is a forum for alternative dispute resolution. ADR is an increasingly popular thing. The idea is that litigants can chose a mediator or arbitrator to help them settle their differences. This saves the courts time and the parties money. Often lots of money. If both of the litigants are Muslims, there is no reason they cannot choose to have a dispute abitrated by other Muslims. If it is a matter which requires court approval, they can then enter a consent order with the court. As long as the agreement between the parties is consistent with the law, the court will usually approve the order. That is what some courts in England have done with sharia court decisions.

But this is nothing new. Courts in both England and the United States have often approved consent orders that are the results of beth din rulings. A beth din is the equivalent of a sharia court for Orthodox Jews. If both parties are Orthodox Jews and want to have their dispute settled in accordance with Jewish law, they come before the beth din judges following accepted rules of legal procedure and the judges decide the case, which is then submitted to the state court, particularly in family law cases. Perhaps someone needs to amend the Oklahoma amendment to forbid the consideration of Jewish law, in case there is an invasion of Orthodox Jews into the Sooner State.

But here’s the kicker. Muslims who submit their disputes to a sharia court and Jews who submit their disputes to a beth din are only doing what Christians should have been doing. Most Christians ignore the first half of I Corinthians chapter 6. I’ll just quote the first verse to refresh your memory and you can go read the rest: “Dare any of you, having a matter against another, go to law before the unrighteous, and not before the saints?”

But what about this “The courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures” bit? This is very interesting. Let’s look at it in reverse order. What is another culture? Clearly for the authors of the proposal, it is any culture where Islam is the dominant religion. But that’s not what the amendment says. And what constitutes a “legal precept” of that culture?

But it’s that “other nations” bit that will cause an interesting problem. The whole idea of the common law and the rules by which it operates did not originate in the United States. They come from England, which is, according to my red passport, another nation. Having lived within it for over a decade, I can assure you that it is another culture as well. It is fortunate that Oklahoma, unlike its neighbors Texas and New Mexico, is not a community property state, because it would then be looking to the legal precepts of Spanish law as well. Nonetheless, it appears that the authors (and is must be said, 70% of Oklahoma voters) imagine that American law just sprang up sua sponte.

And finally there is that bit about international law. This is bizarre because regardless of the amendment, Oklahoma courts will have to consider international law. Treaties to which the United States is a party are the supreme law of the land. So says Article VI Section 1 of the US Constitution. Treaties to which the United States is not a party are irrelevant and would never be considered by a court in Oklahoma. The relevance of international law is a federal matter, because only the federal government has any legal interaction with other countries.

State Question 755 was written by ignorant people to be voted upon by ignorant people.  Somehow a lot of people see the words “Islam” or  “Muslim” and their brain function just shuts off. Muslims are bad, so if something is against Muslims it must be good. It doesn’t have to be good law or even make logical sense. It will probably do something to help stop the great Muslims invasion (they must be massed at Fort Smith and Siloam Springs just waiting to pour over the border) and that’s all that matters.

Lord, save us from ourselves.

The Cost of Multicultural Accommodation

Any Muslims dealing in either drugs or explosives will not have to worry about being sniffed out by police canine units. There will have to be exceptional circumstances – apparently above those that normally justify sniffer dogs – to search the property of a Muslim if the owner objects. That’s because not only do the police have to bend over backwards to avoid offending terrorists, but also because it takes a lot of effort to put special bootees on the dog.

That’s right. Dogs used in searching Muslim premises will now have to wear bootees so the dog itself does not touch anything belonging to a Muslim police suspect. This would obviously include their bombs. This does make sense if you think about it. After all, the bombs are being used for religious purposes. What will Allah think if they have been touched by a dog? Could this reduce the number of virgins to be enjoyed by the suicide bomber if he allows defiled bombs to blow up infidels?

But you want to really upset the Muslim community? Do what Tayside Police have done, and feature a puppy on a postcard. Because there is a puppy sitting on a police hat in an advertisement about the Scottish force’s new non-emergency phone number, Dundee shopkeepers of that religious persuasion (and there would seem to be a significant number) are refusing to display it.

There is no actual dog present on the postcard to touch the actual property of an Muslim, so there is no chance of actually defiling anything. I think there is a lesson in this for the BBC, ITV, and other broadcasters. They will need to avoid any programmes that feature dogs. It’s a good thing they haven’t been showing sheepdog trials and they will need to cut coverage of Crufts. I don’t know how Birmingham City Council, which governs one of the largest Muslims communities in Britain, has allowed the world’s largest dog show on it’s property (it’s one of the two shareholders of the NEC Arena) without Muslims staging a protest, picketing and threatening to kill everyone inside.

This is not absurd. The question is where do you draw the line of multiculturalism? Where is the limit of accommodation? For the Government of the Day, it is clearly more important than the protection of the realm. As I noted yesterday, for the Cheshire education authority, it is important enough to force children into idolatrous worship.

Today’s absurdities become tomorrow’s realities. We have seen this over and over.

I haven’t yet touched on this week’s statement by Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers, the Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, that aspects of Sharia law should be adopted in Britain. This follows the advice of the Archbishop of Canterbury earlier this year. Some people will say that since Beth Din courts are allowed by Orthodox Jews, why shouldn’t Sharia courts be allowed. Well, Sharia courts are already allowed – just not enforceable under English law. Orthodox Jews also have no agenda of bringing all of Britain under the 613 mitzvahs.

With all this accommodation, you would think that Muslims make up a significant minority in this country. Is it right that everything should be changed for 2%-3% of the population and that we should live in fear of whether or not we keep them happy? But it’s not even 2% of the population that are the issue. It is a much smaller minority – a minority within the minority. As reported in the Telegraph:

Khalid Mahmood, Labour MP for Birmingham Perry Bar and a practising Muslim, said that allowing sharia in parts of the UK would be divisive.

He said: “This would create a two-tier society. It is highly retrograde. It will segregate and alienate the Muslim community from the rest of British society.

“The majority of British Muslims want to live only under British law and they would reject anything that means they are treated differently.

So why are we toeing a line continually re-drawn by radical Muslims? Have they already won the war on terrorism and we are afraid to challenge them? Are we really ruled by a bunch of lily-livered liberal multiculturalist sycophants? Do I even need to ask these rhetorical questions?