Anti-Sharia Advocates: We've Not Yet Begun to Fight

| Fri Dec. 10, 2010 4:24 PM EST

By now you've probably read about the ongoing legal wrangling over Oklahoma's constitutional amendment to ban Sharia. There are plenty of reasons to pick on Oklahoma, but it turns out the state actually has plenty of allies in the fight against Islamic law. Per USA Today:

Although Oklahoma's law is the first to come under court scrutiny, legislators in at least seven states, including Arizona, Florida, Louisiana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Tennessee and Utah, have proposed similar laws, the National Conference of State Legislatures says.

Key quote:

"It's not an issue in Utah," [state rep. Carl Wimmer] says, "but I wanted to make sure it doesn't become an issue in Utah."

Well, that settles it, then.

In an interesting twist, Wimmer (top left) was ultimately forced to withdraw his bill when he discovered that it would have posed significant barriers to Utah companies conducting business overseas. But he's managed to stay busy in the interim,  introducing legislation to nullify the Affordable Care Act, criminalize miscarriages, and make the Browning 1911 Utah's state gun.

Advertise on MotherJones.com

As you'd expect, most of the major Sharia-related pieces of legislation (like the South Carolina and Florida bills, neither of which passed) don't specifically reference Sharia; it's a lot easier to make your case to the public if you couch it as simply a blanket provision to ward off generic foreign interference.

But the timing—and public statements by their backers—make the intent of the proposals pretty transparent. State representative Ernest Wooton, for instance, who sponsored Louisiana's innocuous-sounding proposal, prefaced testimony on the bill by noting, "there's a movement nationwide to insinuate Sharia or Islamic law into American jurisprudence." Here's Tennessee's bill, which was signed into law, and was sponsored by congresswoman-elect Diane Black—whose district includes the anti-Sharia hotbed of Murfreesboro).

And then there's Arizona, which, in characteristic fashion, made everyone else's bill look somewhat tame. Brought to the floor by two legislators who authored the state's birther bill and the S.B. 1070 immigration law, the act (pdf) would have also added canon law, Halacha, and...Karma to the forbidden list. Banning Karma? I see no way that could come back to bite them.

Anyway, it's all a little nuts, but, as RNS reports, Oklahoma's legal hurdles have only inspired activists to redouble their efforts:

[E]ven if this referendum fails in the courts, Sekulow said anti-Shariah activists would not be deterred from introducing similar measures in other states. "We've already started drafting amendments similar to this that would be even more constitutionally airtight," Sekulow said.

To be continued...