Islamic Shariah law has no place in the United States. That’s the stance the Idaho state House took on Tuesday, after a bill intended to prevent Shariah or other foreign codes of law from impacting U.S. freedoms passed by a margin of 44-24.
House Bill 419 was introduced by Rep. Eric Redman, and doesn’t mention Shariah by name. However, there is no doubt that preventing the encroaching of Muslim rulings within the American court system was its core intent.
The bill makes any court ruling void if it relies “in whole or in part on any foreign law” and does not mesh with established state and federal protections on issues like due process, the treatment of women and free speech.
According to The Spokesman-Review, Rep. Redman “cited a New Jersey case in which he said a judge refused to grant an abused wife a protection order.”
In that case, the newspaper reported, “the judge ruled that the husband was merely acting according to his (Muslim) religious beliefs that he had a religious right to have sex with his wife whenever he wanted.”
The lawmaker who introduced the bill referenced the American Public Policy Alliance as part of his arguments. “Unfortunately, increasingly, foreign laws and legal doctrines, including Shariah law principles, are finding their way into US court cases,” that group explained on its website.
“Reviews of state laws provide extensive evidence that foreign laws and legal doctrines are introduced into US state court cases, including, notably, Islamic law known as Shariah, which is used in family courts and other courts in dozens of foreign Muslim-majority nations.”
“These foreign laws, frequently at odds with U.S. constitutional principles of equal protection and due process,” APPA continued.
The Idaho House of Representatives is vastly Republican, with that party holding 84 percent of the seats. Although most lawmakers voted for the bill, some conservatives voiced their concern that it was redundant.
“While I agree completely with the concerns that the good gentleman has, that we don’t want foreign law recognized in our Idaho courts, our judges swear to uphold the Constitution of the United States and our laws,” explained Rep. Caroline Nilsson Troy, one of the Republicans who voted against the measure.
As a rebuttal, Rep. Redman pointed out that similar laws had been enacted in several other states, and that the law could help safeguard against rogue judges who use foreign religious interpretations in their rulings.
“This body makes the laws and our judicial system interprets them. This is a bill, a statute that’s gone thru 13 different states, and I repeat, even our neighbor Washington state, and the whole purpose of it is that we will not have any foreign law defile our constitutional laws,” he reiterated.
Although the bill passed the House, it still must move all the way through the Senate approval process to become law, including time being debated in a committee.
The 24 lawmakers who voted against this bill may have a point: Judges and legislators who respect the Constitution should make such a proposal unnecessary. The problem, of course, is that a shocking number of those officials seem to view America’s founding documents as worthless scraps of paper.
In the era of seemingly unrestricted immigration and porous borders, the simple fact is that there has been an influx of people who do not value the core American principles that were once taken for granted in our nation.
Foreign laws and barbaric customs like those often promoted by Shariah are not compatible with the U.S. rule of law. American rights need to be safeguarded, and even a redundant approach to make that happen is better than leaving the door open for judicial abuse.
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