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Anti-Sharia Bill Introduced in South Carolina

14 February 2012 General 42 Comments Email This Post Email This Post

South Carolina

By GINA SMITH

A long list of S.C. lawmakers plans to send a message to Palmetto State courts: Don’t apply foreign laws here.

A proposed law, which a House panel will consider this month, is part of a growing movement in legislatures around the country.

Twenty other states are considering similar measures to ban judges from applying the laws of others nations, particularly in custody and marriage cases. Three states — Tennessee, Louisiana and Arizona — already have added the laws to their books. Oklahoma put it in its state Constitution in 2010, a move now being challenged in federal court.

Proponents say the S.C. measure will ensure only U.S. and S.C. laws are applied in Palmetto State courtrooms, and foreign laws do not trump constitutional rights guaranteed to Americans.

Opponents say the proposal addresses a nonexistent issue and, while not specifically naming Islamic Sharia law, and smacks of anti-Islamic sentiment. They say such bills target the practice of Sharia, a wide-ranging group of Islamic religious codes and customs that, in some countries, are enforced as law.

While Sharia law provides followers of Islam guidelines on everything from crime to politics to hygiene and food, many Muslims also disagree on its interpretation.

State Rep. Wendy Nanney, R-Greenville, the bill’s sponsor, said she introduced the proposal after speaking with several family court judges around the state about problems with child-custody cases.

“I asked them if they had issues with custody cases decided outside of the country. They all said ‘Yes,’ ” Nanney said, adding one judge told her of a custody case brought before him that originally had been handled in Venezuela. The judge, who Nanney declined to name, said he struggled to find common ground between S.C. and Venezuelan laws, and how to apply them.

“It would simplify things to say, ‘We’re in a South Carolina court, and let’s use South Carolina law.’ It’s meant to help our judges not to be pushed and pressured and prodded to enforce other countries’ laws,” Nanney said.

Nanney said her bill does not target Sharia law or any other specific foreign code or law. Her proposal has 27 House co-sponsors, including House Majority Leader Kenny Bingham, R-Lexington, and 26 other Republicans, who control the General Assembly.

A similar bill was introduced in the Senate last year by another Greenville Republican, state Sen. Mike Fair. It failed to clear the subcommittee level.

Subcommittee members sent a letter to the state’s family court judges to gauge whether Sharia or other foreign laws were impacting S.C. custody and divorce cases.

“We heard no indication from any of the judges that there was a problem,” said state Sen. Larry Martin, R-Pickens.

Liberal groups, including the S.C. Progressive Network, say the proposal is a waste of legislative time.

“I’m much more concerned with laws being imposed by aliens from the Planet Oz,” said Brett Bursey, the group’s director. “A stealth-alien invasion of the minds of our legislators is the most plausible explanation for their obsession with fixing things that aren’t broken.”

At least one national group, the New Jersey-based Council on American-Islamic Relations, which works to promote understanding of Islam, says the intent of the state proposals is devious.

“There’s no mistaking the intent of these bills. It’s to provide a mechanism for channeling and cultivating anti-Muslim sentiment,” said council attorney Gadier Abbas.

Recent versions of the bills — like South Carolina’s — do not specifically mention Sharia law, but the intent is clear, Abbas said.

“There are some misconceptions about Islam in the United States,” he said. “That, coupled with a very vocal and well-organized minority of organizations and figures that have had for their mission, for years now, to ensure Muslims are not treated as equals in the United States, is creating this new effort to bring inequality into the laws. It’s alarming.”

Abbas said there are no valid fears of foreign laws being applied in U.S. courtrooms. “Only if American law allows for it does religious tradition or foreign laws even come into play.”

But proponents of the legislation, including the American Public Policy Alliance, point to several court cases as proof that Sharia law is seeping into the U.S. court system.

In one 2009 example, a New Jersey judge denied a Muslim wife’s request for a restraining order after she claimed her husband repeatedly raped her. The court said the man thought it was his religious right to have nonconsensual sex with his wife and, therefore, he did not meet the criminal-intent standard needed to issue the restraining order.

An appellate court reversed the ruling in 2010, granting the restraining order.

In a 1996 case, a Maryland appellate court deferred to a Pakistani court in granting custody of a child to her father in Pakistan instead of her mother in Maryland. One factor mentioned in the ruling was an Islamic belief that a father gets preference in custody cases.

Original post: Anti-Sharia Bill Introduced in South Carolina

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42 Comments »

  1. South Carolina’s house and senate are full of idgits.

  2. What do they call anti-sharia law lol?

  3. I don’t know why people in these extreme states are so upset? If they could READ they would know that the passing of such laws has been rejected by every Muslim community in our country. These groups have stated that if families wish to do this privately, that is their business. As with every religion, we follow certain teachings, rules, structures…it is no different than this. Would a bunch of ignorant a holes.

  4. Folks need to be aware that one aspect of liberty is our legal tradition of allowing folks to choose what law will apply to their relationships — it’s called “freedom of contract.”

    The anti-“Sharia law” people are anti-freedom. Its as simple as that. (In my experience, fear and hate usually are anti-freedom.)

  5. Welcome to America….we have a constitution which means we cannot be governed by any religious law…WASTE of TAX MONEY

  6. Palmetto, SC doesn’t have much to do, do they?

  7. No more venture capital in that state.

  8. I live in SC, there is PLENTY for them to do that would benefit the greater good

  9. Proof that the devil finds work for idle hands.

  10. And what does this have to do with the jobless rate, with students unable to pay back the enormous requirements of student loans which switched midstream, with the lawless behavior or policemen and women, with….well, the list goes on and on and on….smoke and mirrors, smoke and mirrors. They’re not doing their jobs. FIRE THEM.

  11. technically Nic, it only says that the CONGRESS shall make no law supporting any one religion….there’s alot more to our governement than just Congress.

  12. This kind of thing is why there should be a complete separation of Church and State. However, I happen to know that the judge in the Maryland case is no longer on the bench due to that ruling.

  13. Since US law is based on French law, would that make our entire legal system illegal?

  14. Interesting, but I can not comment as I no longer live in the US..I live in a Muslim country now, where Shariah is practiced….

  15. some people are making money from writing books that scare people, this kind of titles “the absolute truth about islam”, the hidden secrets behind….this kind of titles still work, and the bad news is they get around $ 40.000.000 but the good news is people are getting to know muslims not by reading the waste-of-time books but by befriending muslims, chatting with them, no more lies guys…

  16. also, since Muslims believe in the Torah, the Books of David, the Bible (those parts that were the word of God (Allah) sent to Isa (Jesus)) and the Quran, does that make Biblical law illegal?

  17. Ok and your point is….?

  18. meanwhile aliens face palm and crash into SC

  19. This is our country, would ANY Islamic or Muslim country ever even consider applying any of our laws in their country? I think NOT ! And that is fine by me. They have their ways, we have ours. They live over there and we live over here. End of story.

  20. But they allow Catholic laws to enter the discussion. OY!

  21. I am more worried about the “christians” limiting my rights than about Sharia law.

  22. Creeping Vatican Law!!! Look out!!! :-)

  23. Raul ^ I wish everybody thought like you. At least Iraq, Libya, Palestine and several other countries like Vietnam, etc would have never been invaded by UFO’s.

  24. Your taxpayer money at work… Enforcing laws about an issueless issue is a waste!

  25. Noor said it beat you don’t like it get out of USA God an Jesus is a spirit I’n heaven. Not hear on earth.

  26. however, they and the states of VA and MS would prefer to put women under the veil and firmly in the kitchen barefoot, pregnant, and uninsured…puckin’ hypocrites.

  27. @Raul this is our country which is made up of people that are many different religions or no religion at all, you can’t comapre what OTHER countries do or do not do to what our country does or does not do. What other countries dedcide to pass as laws is their business, not ours. Xenophobe. Look it up and enlighten yourself.

  28. Anti-Shariah legislation is and will be unenforceable. Governments cannot intercede or nullify marriage arrangements made in other countries (although they may ask that you register the marriage in the US, but they cannot nullify a Marriage because it is an Islamic matrimony). Also, governments cannot intercede or nullify business agreements and transactions because they are done in accordance to Sharia or under any religious law. The government can (and should) take proactive measures to regulate and prevent insider trading, scams, fraud, trusts/monopolies, but those are real problems that effect the economy as a whole, one firm practicing Sharia does not do that.

  29. These states that want to pass these laws, I have one question: Do you even know what Sharia Law even is?

  30. Wow — who knew that the imposition of Sharia Law was an imminent threat in South Carolina?! (No-one, ’cause it isn’t — though the same folks seem ready to impose their version of Biblical law.)

  31. Michael and Frank: excellent comments….S.C: backward state!

  32. The Quran says: Abide by the laws of the land in which you live. Do people get that? We do just that. I dont think many understand that much of sharia are rules to guide, like praying 5 times a day–not unlike Catechism for Catholics for example. Speaking of prayer, almost time for Dhuhr, gotta make wudu!!

  33. “Shariah” can be effectively translated into “the way to faithfulness.” It is a complex and dynamic/changing body of rules of conduct based on numerous interpretations of primary texts and the social context. There is debate on whether Shariah can be imposed by the government at all…given the ayat in the Qur’an stating “there is no compulsion in Religion.” I feel it is more of a personal matter when dealing with oneself or inter/intra familial situations. In either case, I agree with Michael Runninger…Muslims and Non-Muslims generally have a very weak understanding of the concept.

  34. Only is the also pass a law that prohibits the enforcement of all other religious laws as well. Oh wait, there is. The First Amendment says “Congress shall make no law” establishing a religion”. It seems that would cover it all and make the S.C. law nothing only unnecessary but asinine.

  35. The First Amendment means the government should make no laws establishing or respecting a religion, meaning the US government cannot establish a church or create laws that favors one religion over others. But the government also cannot restrict the practice of religion, meaning they cannot close down a church, masjid, synagogue or temple that is lawfully exercising religious rights, nor can they forbid legal practices of religion, such as prayer, dietary habits, pilgrimage, business-commercial agreements, religious marriage arrangements, etc.

  36. If America and its allies worked on getting jobs for its people and spreading love and peace as they do fear and hate maybe things would change for these morons.

  37. So I guess now any Kosher delis in the state will be unable to enforce purchasing contracts that require purveyors to follow Kosher rules.

  38. Assallamu Alaikum, Either our lawmakers are completely ignorant of what the constitution says regarding separation of church and state(which I find hard to believe)or this country is hitting an all-time low.
    The Catholic church has its body of laws called the canon. In order to receive a divorce in the church, you must fill out a mountain of paperwork and that is ruled on by a group of priests. I know this because before I became Muslim, I went through the Catholic divorce process.The Amish have a body of elders that rule on various issues as do the Orthodox Jewish.
    My point is that in this country that is all Sharia law is or ever will be. People such as Pamela Geller and Robert Spencer have whipped up this issue to instill fear into the public and I applaud those who actually can still read a book and know that all this is is fear mongering.

  39. I am loling at this, primarily because almost 0 of all US Muslims want Shari’ah Law to be brought here :p
    All we need is to have interest free work, etc (which we do), and halal food (which we do), and Alhamdulillah that is nice :p

  40. these morons obviously don’t know that the constitution is the law of the land…

  41. U.S. Constitution, Article 6, Paragraph 2.

  42. Amen amen and amen

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