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Oklahoma's Shari'a Ban and CAIR's Risky Response
by David J. Rusin • Nov 15, 2010 at 12:08 pm
On November 2, seven in ten Oklahoma voters approved the Save Our State Amendment, requiring judges to "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," and other state statutes, while prohibiting them from looking to the "legal precepts of other nations or cultures," specifically "international" and Shari'a law.
Oklahoma Rep. Rex Duncan, author of the ballot measure, calls it a "preemptive strike" against Shari'a. Supporters point with distress to the many Islamic arbitration tribunals enabled by the British government, as well as a 2009 New Jersey court ruling that denied a woman a domestic restraining order, based on the argument that her husband believes that, under Islam, he has a right to sex in marriage and thus did not exhibit criminal intent by raping his wife.
Leading the post-referendum hue and cry is CAIR, whose Oklahoma executive director sued to block its implementation, claiming that the text violates the First Amendment, smears Islam, and serves no "secular purpose." A federal judge issued a temporary order to prevent certification of the results; a hearing is set for November 22.
CAIR's efforts are brimming with contradiction. The group and its allies repeatedly insist that the amendment is pointless because, they say, there is no chance of Islamic law coming to the U.S. Yet "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," as Robert Spencer writes.
Adding to the irony is that past statements from CAIR's own leaders have expressed a yearning for Islamic rule. "I wouldn't want to create the impression that I wouldn't like the government of the United States to be Islamic sometime in the future," CAIR's Ibrahim Hooper said in 1993. Similarly supremacist words have been attributed to CAIR founder Omar Ahmad.
CAIR's position also may be counterproductive to its long-term goals. First, while peddling the "Islamophobia" meme by emphasizing hate crimes can tug on heartstrings, implicitly labeling the vast majority of voters as bigots alienates the public. Second, by taking an anti-anti-Shari'a stance, CAIR validates widespread fears about the group's intentions and hands critics a club with which to beat it — an opportunity quickly seized by anti-Islamist Muslim Zuhdi Jasser, who accused CAIR of not supporting the separation of mosque and state.
Further, by launching a legal challenge that could drag on indefinitely, CAIR guarantees that Shari'a will garner far more news coverage than it otherwise would, with each story educating people about Islamic law and bringing unwanted attention to the stealth jihad.
Whatever the outcome in Oklahoma, there are two certainties: additional states will try to ban Shari'a and CAIR's opposition will expose the group's Islamism. Hence, things are looking up.