(OKLAHOMA CITY, OK, 4/11/2013) — The Oklahoma chapter of the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) today called on Muslims and all other Americans who value civil liberties to contact Governor Mary Fallin to ask that she not sign a bill, the sponsors of which admit is designed to attack the religious principles of Islam.
CONTACT Governor Mary Fallin
EMAIL Governor Fallin:
The bill, HB 1060, is one of dozens of similar pieces of discriminatory and unconstitutional legislation that have been introduced in state legislatures nationwide. These legislative initiatives are promoted by those who seek to marginalize American Muslims and demonize Islam.
SEE: Oklahoma Senate Passes Anti-Islam Legislation
CAIR Briefing Paper: The Pervasiveness of Anti-Islam Legislation
Summary of Bans on Court Use of Sharia/International Law
Bill Information for HB 1060
One of the primary sponsors of HB 1060, Rep. Sally Kern, has a history of making statements targeting minorities. In 2011, Kern was reprimanded by the Oklahoma House for disparaging women and ethnic minorities. As reported by the Oklahoman, “During a debate Wednesday night on the House of Representatives floor, Kern said minorities earn less than white people and women earn less than men because they don’t work as hard and have less initiative.”
SEE: Oklahoma House reprimands Rep. Sally Kern
Kern has expressed her view that all followers of Islam are a threat saying, “Gays are an even bigger threat than terrorism or Islam, which I think is a big threat.”
SEE: Oklahoma One Step Away From Banning Islamic Law (Again)
Rep. Kern has argued that the bill does not single out Muslims or Islam. However, the bill’s anti-Muslim genesis is clear.
According to media reports, Kern worked with high profile Islamophobe Frank Gaffney to draft a similar bill and got support from the anti-Islam hate group ACT! for America in its passage. ACT! founder Brigitte Gabriel is on record saying that “every practicing Muslim is a radical Muslim” and that Muslims cannot be loyal American citizens.
In 2011, the American Bar Association (ABA) passed a resolution opposing legislation like HB 1060, noting that it is “duplicative of safeguards that are already enshrined in federal and state law,” and saying, “Initiatives that target an entire religion or stigmatize an entire religious community, such as those explicitly aimed at ‘Sharia law,’ are inconsistent with some of the core principles and ideals of American jurisprudence.”
In a statement, CAIR–OK said:
“We urge Governor Fallin to reject the minority-bashing of Rep. Sally Kern and to also reject Kern’s thinly-veiled efforts to vilify Islam with bills like HB 1060.”
“For years now, there has been an unfortunate effort in the Oklahoma legislature to single out Islam and Muslims for legislative censure. SQ 755, an amendment to the state constitution that passed in 2010, was the first such effort. It specifically targeted Islamic religious practices and we challenged it in court. So far, four federal judges have agreed with our arguments that SQ 755 violates the U.S. Constitution.”
“This new effort presents a similar Establishment Clause problem. We know from the statements of lawmakers that this is yet another attempt to legislate against Muslims. By legislating against Muslims, HB 1060 violates the most basic premise of the First Amendment’s religious liberty protections: that the government maintain neutrality regarding the faiths of all Oklahomans.”
“If Sally Kern wishes to protect America, her first duty is to uphold the Constitution. Her current efforts to chip away at its protections serve only to undermine our nation’s values.”
In 2012, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upheld a lower court’s decision to block implementation of an Oklahoma state constitutional amendment that would have prohibited courts from applying –- or even considering -– “Sharia law” and “international law.”
The lower court blocked implementation of the “Save Our State Amendment” based on arguments that it would unconstitutionally disfavor an entire faith and deny Oklahoma’s Muslims access to the judicial system on the same terms as every other citizen.
CAIR: Court Upholds Stay of Oklahoma Ban on Islamic Law (AP)
CAIR: Judge Blocks Oklahoma’s Ban on Using Sharia Law in Court (NY Times)
Last year, CAIR released a community toolkit designed to assist those seeking to preserve America’s ideal of religious pluralism in the face of the unconstitutional anti-Sharia campaign.
CAIR Community Toolkit: Securing Religious Liberty
CAIR’s toolkit includes background on David Yerushalmi, the anti-Islam extremist who authored the template for the anti-Sharia bills.
Yerushalmi is head of the anti-Islam hate group Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE), which once offered a policy proposal that would make “adherence to Islam” punishable by 20 years in prison, called for the immediate deportation of all non-citizen Muslims and urged Congress to declare war on the “Muslim Nation,” which SANE defined as “all Muslims.” The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) named Yerushalmi a member of the “anti-Muslim inner circle.”
SEE: A SANE Act to Deal with the Islamic Threat to America’s National Existence (SADITANE)
SPLC: The Anti-Muslim Inner Circle
Links to Background Information on David Yerushalmi:
CAIR Islamophobe Profile: David Yerushalmi
David Yerushalmi: A Driving Force Behind Anti-Sharia Efforts in the U.S.
Meet the White Supremacist Leading the GOP’s Anti-Sharia Crusade
The Man Behind the Anti-Shariah Movement (NY Times)
Anti-Islam Activist Yerushalmi Measures Imams’ Beards
Profile of Anti-Sharia Extremist David Yerushalmi
CAIR is America’s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR-OK Executive Director Adam Soltani, 405-248-5853, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-OK Board Chair Saad Mohammed, 405-210-4775, email@example.com