South Carolina Jumps on Sharia Law Bandwagon

The crusade against the “ever growing threat” of Sharia law has marched on into South Carolina.  Following the lead of places like Oklahoma, Rep. Wendy Nanney and Sen. Mike Fair introduced a legislative initiative aimed at preventing “a court or other enforcement authority” from enforcing foreign law.  The two conservative sponsors of the bill hope to “preempt violations of a person’s constitutional rights” that result from the application of foreign law.

Foreign law of course is the new dog whistle for Sharia law.

Like similar state measures, proponents of the South Carolina law point to the “unique values of liberty” that do not exist in foreign legal systems and a concern tat those foreign laws are increasingly finding their way into U.S. court cases, especially in the area of family law.  In some cases individuals in divorce and child custody cases have attempted to invoke Sharia law, says Christopher Holton with the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Security Policy (CSP).

Of course, there’s a big difference between attempting to invoke Sharia law to settle a dispute and a judge successfully relying on Sharia law to settle a dispute.  Neither Holton nor CSP, nor any proponent of these judicial protectionism measures can point to such successes, let alone a growing trend of them, to justify the need for such a measure.

And these bills may sound nice in talking points aimed at a conservative base, but they do little to really guard against the perceived Islamist threat lawmakers identify.  As seen in Oklahoma, attempts to insulate judicial opinions from the influence of foreign law has a myriad of unintended consequences, like inadvertently calling into question U.S. treaties with various Native American tribes, and clouding contractual choice of laws provisions in global commerce.

Not to mention the fact that it displays a profound ignorance of the history of our legal system.  The American legal system is a hybrid of common law (developed primarily in England through the courts of law and equity) and civil code systems prevalent throughout the rest of Western Europe.  Our Constitution may be, in many ways, the unique product of the American experience, but our jurisprudence is significantly more commonplace than the anti-Sharia law proponents seem to understand.

photo courtesy of attawayjl via Flickr


Martha Eberle
Martha Eberle7 years ago

I'll have to move north out of Texas, but I really do feel that we should encourage the south to secede. Their ideas are ancient and mean-spirited, and they can then see, how "easy" it is, to live without that big old bad federal government. They can put their ignorance and self-centeredness to the test.

Barbara Erdman
Barbara Erdman7 years ago


Ernie Miller
william Miller7 years ago

I don't see this as a bad thing what is wron with American Laws being inforced In America? Why do he have to bend our Legal system for some person's religous beliefs. That is what the seperation of church and state is. I am sorry but your religion does not get you off for breaking the law and you should not be treated differantly in the courts because of your religous beliefs Especially where it comes to family law!

monica r.
monica r7 years ago

@Len Forster

I don't get it, Len.

Jews don't blow other people up for being "infidels".

Jews don't burn your house down or stab you in the street for "insulting Judaism".

It wasn't a Jewish guy in Arizona that ran over his own daughter with an SUV because she was "too Westernized".

It wasn't a Jewish man in New York who beheaded his wife while the kids were waiting for her in the car because she got tired of the sharia-sanctioned beatings and asked for a divorce.

And it isn't Jews who have an agenda of eliminating Israel and most if not every Jew from existence.

Why are you comparing Jews to Muslims?

Look at Europe, Len. You don't need much more than 2-3% Muslim population to start seeing serious issues. In some western European countries, the Jews are emigrating (euphemism for "fleeing for their lives").

I'll bet some Jews in pre-holocaust Germany were telling others not to be so paranoid, too. Just like you are now.

Frank S.
7 years ago

Saw this today. The article states that a 14 year old girl was killed for having an affair with a married man. It would seem that things like this would only occur in countries where some of the population is subject to backwards religious beliefs.

POLICE have arrested four Islamic clerics after a 14-year-old girl was whipped to death for allegedly having an affair with a married 40-year-old man.
Published: 03 Feb 2011

Len Forster
Len Forster7 years ago

We Jews will force the adoption of Halakah (Jewish Law) first, because we've been here longer (giving us a prior claim) and there are more of us (giving us a plurality over the Muslims). After all, we're 1.7% of the population of this country.

Come on! Get real! This is fear mongering and demagoguery at its worst. To address something like Sh'aria as a concern when there are fewer than half as many Muslims in this country as there are Jews is totally absurd. Jews have never made an issue of Halakah, and the Muslims aren't going to make an issue of Sh'aria.

It's a bit like the Richard Nixon strategy of making white men in the south afraid of black men, so that the white men would stop voting for the Democratic party. Interestingly, it worked, and it has been working ever since. Now, the same Republican management team wants us all to be afraid of Muslims and for the same reason that Dick Nixon wanted us to be afraid of black people.

Grow up, Electorate. It's time to stop electing idiots like this to office.

If all of us were to only spend our time accenting the 90% we have in common and on which we agree, instead of the 10% on which we disagree, we would be able to work much more effectively together for the common good.

Cheyenne Ziermann

I don't understand why this is a bad thing...I am against any religion going into the legal system. While this perhaps is aimed at religions other than Christianity, why is that a problem? All religions should be unable to enter the law, and yes, Islam as well.

bob m.
bob m7 years ago

Darkness and light ; take your pick.

michael c.
corbin m7 years ago

Frankly, I'm more worried about "Christian Law" invading the legal process. It seems far more likely and has, in fact, already made inroads.

bob m.
bob m7 years ago

Heard that kids in sharia land who have stolen something get their arms run over by a truck. (little kids) folks.
Keep your psychotic behaviour under the rocks where you found it.
When you stand before the throne of God; ;I pity you.