Penned by Paul R. Hollrah - (1/16/12)
On November 2, 2010, the people of Oklahoma were asked to decide a very important question. They were asked to decide whether or not the state’s courts should be directed to rely solely on federal and state law, or whether other bodies of law… international law, laws of other nations, or Sharia law… could also be used. State Question 755, amending Article 7, Section 1 of the Oklahoma Constitution, declared that, “The courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia law.”
When all the votes were counted, 695,650 Oklahomans (70.08%) voted to live under existing federal and state law, while 296,944 voters (29.92%)… liberal Democrats, Muslims, deceased persons, and a few trouble-makers who sneaked across the border from Texas and Arkansas… voted to live under whatever legal code happened to be the “flavor of the day.”
Just two days later, on November 4, local Muslims filed suit in federal court, seeking to block implementation of the measure. The suit was filed by Muneer Awad (of the Oklahoma Awads), executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma, who expressed the view that the people of Oklahoma had no right to decide the parameters of the constitution under which they live and that the amendment, approved by 70.08% of the Oklahoma electorate, was… unconstitutional. Awad argued that the amendment tramples the “free exercise” rights of a disfavored minority faith (it does not), restricts the ability of he and his fellow Muslims to execute valid wills (it does not), and prohibits equal access to the judicial system (it does not).
The lawsuit further asserted that the Oklahoma amendment “undercuts a central concern of the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment, sending an unmistakable message that Muslims are religious and political outsiders.” If Muslims are religious and political outsiders, as Awad suggests, there must be a reason. Let’s look at the record.
On November 15, 2006, Pope Benedict XVI called on all Muslim countries to protect Christians living among them. He also called upon Christians and Muslims to show mutual respect toward each other. Since that date, the Pope has issued numerous appeals for reciprocity, calling upon Muslims to respect the right of Christians to worship freely throughout the Muslim world, just as Muslims enjoy religious freedom in majority Christian nations. So what impact has the Pope had on slowing the progress of Islamic jihad?
In a report published on November 26, 2010, Khaled Abu Toameh, West Bank and Gaza correspondent for U.S. News & World Report, described recent incidents of genocide against Middle East Christians. The report tells us that, “Christians in Arab countries are no longer being persecuted; they are now being slaughtered and driven out of their homes and lands.”
On Christmas Day, 2011, a radical Islamist group calling itself Boko Haram… which translates to “Western education is a sin”… bombed a Christian church in the Nigerian capital of Abuja, killing 43 and injuring many more. The Jewish World Review reports that a Boko Haram leader, Abdul Qaqa, gave Christians in northern Nigeria three days to pack up and leave the country.
In 2010, 52 Catholics were slaughtered at a church in Baghdad. The Chaldean archbishop of Kirkuk is quoted as saying that 57 Christian churches in Iraq have been attacked since 2003. More than 900 Christians have been killed and more than 6,000 wounded. In April 2011, 1,000 Christians were slaughtered by Muslim troops in Ivory Coast. And in October 2011, in Egypt, 24 Coptic Christians were killed and more than 200 were wounded by radical Islamists.
These are but a few examples of the atrocities suffered by Christians in the Muslim world. And while they represent an indescribable horror for those directly affected, they may also represent a long overdue and much needed wake-up call for the non-Muslim world if they help us to finally see Islam for what it is… and what it is not. Hopefully, acts of genocide against Christians in Muslim nations will finally serve to convince westerners that Islam and Christianity cannot coexist, side-by-side, unless Christians yield to the demands of radical Islam.
Those who worry that restrictions on Sharia Law… such as Oklahoma SQ 755… may conflict with 1st Amendment rights, must understand that the 1st Amendment prohibits the “establishment of a religion.” Islam is not a “religion” as we in the West understand the meaning of the term and it cannot be viewed as such. It is far more than that; it is a social, political, legal, military, and economic system with a spiritual component.
As such, it is governed by and may come into conflict with Articles I, II, III, and IV of the U.S. Constitution, and at least 14 of the 27 amendments. In fact, as an invading force that attempts to impose its 7th century values on an enlightened 21st century world, in any way possible, violent or non-violent, there is very little in Islam that would not conflict with the U.S. Constitution and its amendments. Without its religious component, which Muslims conveniently hide behind when claiming 1st Amendment protections, Islam would be just another hate group, a foreign political insurgency that must be defeated, no matter what the cost.
We in the United States have developed social, political, and economic institutions that are the envy of the entire world, and Islam is the last place we would look for guidance in perfecting our Western civilization. No help is wanted, or needed, thank you very much.
Like most Europeans of the post-World War II era, many Americans have succumbed to the fiction that Islam is a “religion of peace” and that worldwide jihad is merely a pipedream of the radical few. However, the truth lies elsewhere. As one Muslim caller to a radio talk show put it, “The liberal (peace-loving) Muslims are on the bus… but the crazies are driving the bus.” Only when so-called “moderate” Muslims show a bit of courage by unmasking the radicals in their midst will any sort of accommodation be possible. Until then, Muslims will increasingly be seen as a “disfavored minority faith,” as Mr. Awad refers to them.
In Islamic countries, Christians and Jews are prohibited from practicing their religion freely and openly. Fair enough. So I’ll pledge to accept their petty little demands on the same day that Christians, Jews, and everyone else are allowed complete religious freedom in all of the nations of the Islamic world, but not before. The litmus test for Islam as a “religion of peace” will be the day when Christians, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists and all other non-Muslims are free to visit Mecca; and when churches, temples, and synagogues can be built throughout the Muslim world. Until then, Islam must be viewed, not as the world’s largest religious denomination, but as a primitive alien culture that has not evolved appreciably beyond its seventh-century roots.
Complete reciprocity is the standard that must be met… nothing more, nothing less.
On November 30, 2010, Federal District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange handed down a decision in the Oklahoma SQ 755 case, barring the Oklahoma State Election Board from certifying the results of the election until she could prepare a final ruling.
Because the people of Oklahoma have made “no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof,” the Awad suit is totally without merit. To the contrary, the amendment approved on November 2 served only to reinforce the 1st Amendment in that, like it or not, it prohibits the “establishment of religion” for a small minority of Oklahoma citizens. As might be expected, Judge Miles-LaGrange got it exactly backwards. (Appointed to the bench by Bill Clinton in 1994, Judge Miles-LaGrange provides just one more horrible example of why we cannot trust Democrat presidents to appoint capable and competent judges to the federal bench.)
Finally, on January 11, 2012, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver agreed with Judge Miles-LaGrange, upholding her injunction against the implementation of Oklahoma SQ 755. The case now goes back to federal court in Oklahoma City for a decision on the question of constitutionality.
Depending on the outcome of the trial in Oklahoma City, and the anticipated appeal to the 10th Circuit, the people of Oklahoma may have to play the game a bit longer by appealing the case to the U.S. Supreme Court. But if by some chance a majority of justices would find some merit in the lower court decisions, striking down State Question 755, then it will become necessary for Oklahoma to stand on its 10th Amendment rights by engaging in nullification. Governor Fallin and Attorney General Pruitt will have to inform the federal courts that the people of Oklahoma are sovereign and that they have spoken. State Question 755 will become part of the Oklahoma constitution and it will be enforced, the opinion of the federal courts notwithstanding.
In a recent interview, a Muslim in Bahrain admitted to having shot his sister in the head four times because she had been forcibly raped. Although she was the victim of a brutal assault, her violation had brought shame upon her family. As the brother explained, in Islam, a woman who has been violated is much like a broken dinner plate that must be thrown away; she is no longer of any use and it’s best to discard her so that she can bring no further shame to the family.
It’s time that Mr. Awad and all of his Muslim friends understood that, in Oklahoma, all human lives are valued equally, regardless of gender, and that our women are not like “dinner plates.” And if he and his CAIR associates don’t like the way we do things; if they refuse to recognize that Sharia law is incompatible with Oklahoma values, then we have a few suggestions for them… and we’ll give them more than three days to pack up and leave; we’ll give them at least a week.
Paul R. Hollrah