CAIR-OK Welcomes School District’s Decision to Drop Islamophobic Film

(TULSA, OK, 8/13/2014) – The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) today welcomed a decision by Jenks Public Schools’ administration to stop using an Islamophobic Oklahoma City bombing conspiracy film in their classrooms. In May 2014, after receiving a complaint from a concerned parent, CAIR-OK questioned the schools’ use of the film “Conspiracy: Oklahoma City Bombing” as a part of its Oklahoma History Curriculum. The film falsely suggests that the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing was the work of “Middle-Eastern Islamist organizations.

A letter received from Jenks Public Schools Assistant Superintendent dated August 5, 2014, stated that, “upon further review of the video, a committee of district level administrators has determined that the video will be removed from the collection in the Freshman Academy Media Center.”

This decision came after the Jenks Public schools’ Materials Review Committee chose to keep the video as a part of their media library following a request for review in June 2014.

“We welcome this decision on behalf of the parents of Muslim students in Jenks school district and in the broader Oklahoma Muslim community,” said CAIR-OK Executive Director Adam Soltani. “Islamophobic classroom materials should be of concern to all parents, because they can lead to anti-Muslim bullying and a general atmosphere of Islamophobia within the school system.”

State of Oklahoma owes $303,333 in plaintiffs’ legal fees over Sharia law case

May 19, 2014

Oklahoma will have to pay $303,333 in legal fees to plaintiffs’ attorneys who brought lawsuit against Sharia law ballot measure

The bill has come due for the state’s effort to keep international law and Sharia law out of Oklahoma courts.

It wasn’t cheap.

Oklahoma must pay $303,333 for attorneys’ fees of the plaintiffs who challenged a measure approved overwhelmingly by voters on Nov. 2, 2010, U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange ruled May 14.

The Oklahoma Legislature put the measure on the ballot.

Miles-LaGrange found it an unconstitutional infringement on individual rights.

Plaintiff Muneer Awad, an Oklahoma City Muslim man, said in the lawsuit that the measure would stigmatize him and others of his faith, limit the results they can receive in court and prevent his will from being probated in Oklahoma because his will references Sharia law, the Islamic law system.

On May 14, Miles-LaGrange approved a plaintiffs’ motion for attorney fees, costs and nontaxable expenses.

Micheal Salem, of Norman, one of the attorneys for the plaintiffs, said there has never been any indication that Sharia law was being applied in Oklahoma courts in the first place.

“It created a solution where there was no problem that existed,” Salem said. He also said there are adequate constitutional protections that would prohibit court decisions grounded in religious theory.

Oklahoma anti-Shariah amendment struck down

Sharia-law-Billboard(RNS) A federal judge has struck down Oklahoma’s constitutional amendment that would have prohibited judges in the state from considering Shariah law.

 

The amendment was approved by about 70 percent of Oklahoma voters on November 2, 2010, but the American Civil Liberties Union and the Council on American-Islamic Relations sued to block the amendment, arguing it violated separation of church and state and discriminated against Muslims.

 

A U.S. District Court judge agreed and issued a temporary injunction against the amendment. That decision was upheld in 2011 by a federal appeals court that returned the case to the judge, who made the final ruling Thursday (Aug. 15, 2013).

“It is our hope that, in finding this anti-Islam law unconstitutional, lawmakers in other states will think twice before proposing anti-Muslim laws of their own,” said Gadeir Abbas, a CAIR staff attorney and counsel for the plaintiffs.

 

The amendment struck down Thursday specifically mentioned Shariah, and is different from anti-Shariah laws adopted over the last few years by state legislators in Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Tennessee, and Oklahoma. North Carolina legislators also passed an anti-foreign-law bill this spring, which is now on the desk of Gov. Pat McCrory, who must decide by August 25 whether to sign or veto it.

 

While these laws do not mention Shariah, but “foreign law,” their backers have stated Shariah was their target. Those laws have not been challenged in court, although Muslim civil rights activists say they may still try.

Shariah 101: What is it and why do states want to ban it?

North Carolina lawmakers on Wednesday (July 24) approved a bill to prohibit judges from considering “foreign laws” in their decisions, but nearly everyone agrees that “foreign laws” really means Shariah, or Islamic law.
North Carolina now joins six other states — Oklahoma, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Tennessee — to pass a “foreign laws” bill. A similar bill passed in Missouri, but Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed it, citing threats to international adoptions.
The bills all cite “foreign laws” because two federal courts have ruled that singling out Shariah — as Oklahoma voters originally did in 2010 — is unconstitutional.
So what’s the big deal with Shariah?
Other Shariah scholars say such a punishment system can only be instituted in a society of high moral standards and where everyone’s needs are met (thereby obviating the urge to steal or commit other crimes). In such a society, the thinking goes, corporal punishments would be rarely needed.
That said, corporal punishments have been used by Islamic militant groups in places like Afghanistan, Somalia, and Syria, and governments in Iran, Saudi Arabia, the Aceh state in Indonesia and elsewhere.

Anti-Shariah movement changes tactics and gains success

(RNS) When Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly approved a 2010 ballot measure that prohibits state courts from considering Islamic law, or Shariah, the Council of American-Islamic Relations filed a lawsuit within two days challenging the constitutionality of the measure, and won.
But when Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin signed a similar measure, one that its sponsor said would forbid Shariah, on April 19 of this year, no legal challenges were mounted.

Why the change?

 

The biggest difference is that the older bill — and others like it — singled out Islam and Shariah, but also raised concerns that they could affect Catholic canon law or Jewish law. Many early anti-Shariah bills also made references to international or foreign law, which worried businesses that the new bills would undermine contracts and trade with foreign companies.

 

The new bills, however, are more vague and mention only foreign laws, with no references to Shariah or Islam. They also make specific exceptions for international trade. All of that makes them harder to challenge as a violation of religious freedom.

 

“These bills don’t have any real-world effect. Their only purpose is to allow people to vilify Islam,” said Corey Saylor, CAIR’s legislative affairs director, of the more recent bills.

The change in language seems to have helped such bills advance in several states. And while these bills no longer single out Shariah, it is often understood that Shariah is the target, which many legislators make no secret of.

 

The driving force behind these new versions of anti-Shariah laws is “anti-Muslim bigotry plain and simple,” said Daniel Mach of the American Civil Liberties Union, speaking on a panel in Washington Thursday (May 16). To those agitating for such measures, “Islam is the face of the enemy,” he said.

 

To date, Oklahoma is the sixth state — joining Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, and Tennessee — to adopt a law prohibiting courts from using foreign or international law, with some exceptions, in their decisions.

 

This year, at least 36 anti-foreign law bills have been proposed in 15 states, down from 51 bills in 23 states in 2011. While most of this year’s anti-foreign law bills have failed, several others, have advanced:

FBI searching for Mosque vandals in possible hate crime

OKLAHOMA CITY – The FBI said it is hoping surveillance video will help lead them to a pair of vandals who targeted an Oklahoma City mosque last weekend.

 

The American Muslim Association on the 3200 block of N.W. 48th St. was damaged when the suspects spray painted racial slurs and other graffiti on the walls.

 

FBI agents tell us they are investigating the incident as a possible hate crime.

Authorities admit the surveillance video is not the best quality but they’re hoping someone will recognize the suspects.

The video appears to show two males involved in the crime.

Boston mosque cancels Friday prayer, condemns terrorism

U.S. Muslim leaders fear a backlash after the Boston bombing suspects were identified as Muslim.

The largest Islamic worship center in New England, the Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center, announced on its website Friday that it was closed until further notice after a reportin The Boston Globe said one of the Boston Marathon bombers had worshiped at an affiliated Cambridge mosque.

The FBI identified Muslim brothers Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev as the bombing suspects. After they killed an MIT campus police officer around midnight Thursday, Tamerlan died in a blazing shootout with police and Dzhokhar eluded capture, triggering a massive manhunt that paralyzed the Boston area Friday.

The Cambridge mosque’s web site specifies: “We practice and promote a comprehensive and balanced view of Islam. We strive to embody the ‘middle path’ to which the Qur’an calls – a path of moderation that is free of extremism. We believe that the core teachings of Islam are universal and timeless, providing guidance and instruction for all times and all peoples.”

The mosque is affiliated with the The Islamic Society of Boston Cultural Center in nearby Roxbury but neither could be reached for comment. The Cultural Center religious leader, Imam Suhaib Webb, a native of Oklahoma, posted on his Facebook page, “We are all Bostonians -we mourn with the city.”

The website for the center in Roxbury explained: “After the terrible and sad events of last night, the criminal of the bombings on the loose, and the strong recommendations of our Governor, the ISBCC will be closed until further notice.”

The site also said the imam recommended that all pray at home rather than attend local mosques. “Please be safe and pray for our city and state,” the Web page concluded.

Interfaith Alliance president Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy released a statement from the national group saying that any hatred or violence expressed toward Muslims because the brothers were reportedly Muslim would be “against everything we stand for as Americans.”

Gaddy said, “Regardless of the religious background or the ethnic origin of the suspects, it says no more about the broader communities from which they come than Timothy McVeigh’s actions said about Christians when he bombed the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City on this very day 18 years ago.”

Oklahoma Senate panel approves bill prohibiting judges from basing decisions on foreign law

OKLAHOMA CITY — Oklahoma lawmakers are considering banning judges in the state from basing any rulings on foreign laws, including Islamic Sharia law.

r-OKLAHOMA-SHARIA-APPEAL-large570

A Senate panel on Tuesday overwhelmingly approved the bill, which has broad support in the Republican-controlled Legislature. The bill would specifically make void and unenforceable any court, arbitration or administrative agency decision that doesn’t grant the parties affected by the ruling “the same fundamental liberties, rights and privileges granted under the U.S. and Oklahoma constitutions.”

“This is a way to protect American citizens … where somebody may try to use any kind of foreign law or religious law to affect the outcome of a trial,” said Sen. Ralph Shortey, R-Oklahoma City, who sponsored the bill. Shortey described it as “American Law for American Courts.”

“This bill is entirely unnecessary and creates significant uncertainty for Oklahomans married abroad as well as those Oklahomans who have adopted a child from another country or are seeking to do so,” Executive Director Ryan Kiesel said in a statement. “These Oklahoma families don’t deserve to have this type of doubt cast over them.

“It also creates an atmosphere of uncertainty for foreign businesses seeking to do business with Oklahoma businesses.”

Bans on court use of sharia/international law: heavily modified bills introduced in 2013, exempts contracts, Native American tribes, avoids using word “sharia”

This year’s batch of bans of sharia/international law use by state courts looks very different than those of the past several years. After criticism that a) past versions would effectively cripple businesses who have to sign international contracts and b) that bans on references to the law and court decisions of other nations would make the judicial determinations of tribal courts in the U.S. enforceable, most such bills have been completely rewritten. Specifically, most now specify the prohibition on the use of foreign law/sharia

  • applies only to a particular case type (such as family law or domestic relations)
  • does not infringe on the right to contract
  • does not apply to not apply to a corporation, partnership, limited liability company, etc.
  • does not apply to recognition or use of tribal court decisions in state courts
  • does not apply to ecclesiastical matters within a denomination

Even with these modifications, as in the past, most such bills are failing to advance in the legislatures.

List of bills below the fold

Bill
Does not affect right to contract freely/contract provisions
Does not apply to corporations
Does not apply to tribal court decisions
Does not apply to ecclesiastical matters/religious orgs
Other items
Status
X
X
Full faith and credit with other states suspended if they use international law
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
X
X
Full faith and credit with other states suspended if they use international law
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
X
X
X
X
Limited to Family law. Does not apply to use of English common law.
Approved by Judiciary Committee’s Civil Justice Subcommittee 2/7/13.
X
X
X
X
Limited to Family law. Does not apply to use of English common law.
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
X
X
X
X
In House Judiciary Committee.
X
In Senate Rules Committee.
X
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
X
X
In House Judiciary Committee.
X
X
In Senate (no committee).
X
Specifically uses word “sharia” Died in House Judiciary A Committee.
X
X
X
Died in House Judiciary A Committee.
X
Died in House Judiciary A Committee.
X
X
Died in Senate Judiciary A Committee.
X
X
X
X
Approved by House Judiciary Committee 2/6/13.
X
In House States’ Rights Committee.
X
X
In House Rules Committee.
X
X
X
In House Rules Committee.
X
X
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
X
X
X
X
Approved by Senate Judiciary Committee 2/12/13.
X
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
X
In Senate Judiciary Committee.
In House Judiciary Committee.
X
X
Limited to family law (divorce, marriage, parent-child relationship)
In House Judiciary Committee.
In House (no committee).
X
X
Limited to family law (divorce, marriage, parent-child relationship)
In Senate State Affairs Committee.
X
X
In House Judiciary Committee.
Does not apply to use of English common law, if enacted
Killed by full House 1/24/13.
Does not apply to use of English common law, if enacted
Died in House Judiciary Committee.
Limited to Domestic Relations (marriage, divorce, custody, visitation, support, adoption)
Withdrawn at sponsor’s request

US Air Force veteran, finally allowed to fly into US, is now banned from flying back home

Secret, unaccountable no-fly lists are one of many weapons the US government uses to extra-judicially punish American Muslims

OKLAHOMA CITY — A Muslim U.S. Air Force veteran, who had trouble entering the country last year to visit his ailing mother, was barred Wednesday from boarding a flight in Oklahoma City to return to his home in Qatar.

Saadiq Long, an American citizen, told The Associated Press he attempted to board a Delta flight at Will Rogers World Airport but was denied a boarding pass.

But now Long – unbeknownst to him – has once again apparently been secretly placed by some unknown National Security State bureaucrat on the no-fly list. On Wednesday night, as Associated Press first reported, he went to the Will Rogers Airport in Oklahoma City to fly back home to Qatar. In order to ensure there were no problems, his lawyer sent the FBI a letter ahead of time notifying them that Long would be flying home on that date (see the embedded letter below).

Long’s lawyer, Adam Soltani of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), was with him at the airport and repeatedly asked agents why this was happening and who they should contact. He got no answers, except was told to contact the FBI. But both the FBI and Delta refused to comment to AP, while TSA spokesman David Castelveter would only say this:

“It’s my understanding this individual was denied a boarding pass by the airline because he was on a no-fly list. The TSA does not confirm whether someone is or is not on the no-fly list, as that list is maintained by the FBI.”

Long said he had been visiting his mother, who suffers from congestive heart failure, for several months. He was attempting to return to Qatar, where he lives with his wife and children and teaches English. He intended to travel via Amsterdam.

Long said last year he also had difficulty entering the country and that the FBI harassed him and his sister after his arrival. The harassment stopped after Long requested a Department of Justice inquiry, Soltani said.

Long and his CAIR lawyers have thus far been told nothing about why he is barred once again from flying.