By L.A. Williams, Correspondent
Christian Action League
July 26, 2013
RALEIGH — Sharia means “path” in Arabic, but Tar Heel lawmakers made it clear this session that they are choosing a different way for North Carolina, one in which foreign law is not applied in family courts.
Passed in the House on Wednesday by a vote of 75-37, H 522 bans courts from recognizing laws from other lands if those laws infringe on the rights residents have under the North Carolina or United States Constitutions. The Senate had passed the bill on July 19, 31-2.
Although some legislators argued that the law was unnecessary, proponents said there have been more than 50 cases in 23 states in which judges have applied foreign law, depriving people of their constitutional rights. Often women and children wind up the victims when Sharia law is applied. Under the law based on the Quran and the Sunna, the teachings and writings of Mohammed, there is no age requirement for a girl to marry, and acts of adultery or prostitution can lead to sentences of death. Many Sharia law problems in the United States involve cases of women being beaten by their Muslim husbands and judges ruling that because the men were not accustomed to U.S. laws against spousal abuse, they cannot be convicted.
As Muslim populations grow and wield more political power in the world, Sharia law has expanded. Reportedly some 85 Sharia courts are already in operation in England, leading to concerns that America may be next. At least five states already have anti-Sharia laws, with more than two dozen others considering legislation similar to North Carolina’s to try to squelch the trend. Like many of the new laws being passed, the Tar Heel version does not mention Sharia law by name since some that have done so have been successfully challenged on the grounds of discrimination.
“No one has a problem with Muslims or anyone else living peaceably in America. But on U.S. soil, we must all embrace the freedoms and responsibilities assigned us via the Constitution, and not demand enforcement of rules and regulations left behind in other cultures,” said the Rev. Mark Creech, executive director of the Christian Action League.
“Quite simply, this is a law reminding the courts and anyone with a case before them that it is North Carolina law and U.S. law that should be applied.”
Concerned Women for America has campaigned against Sharia law and hosted an event in Raleigh last month in support of the bill.
“We view the issue of Sharia Law through the context of the ‘least of these,’” Penny Nance, CWA’s chief executive officer, told the crowd.
“We’ve got to make sure no matter who sets foot on our shores, that they are protected by our great laws.”
She said our human rights, granted by God, are not recognized by governments all over the world and that women are all to often oppressed and hurt.
Bill Federer, president of Amerisearch Inc., warned against the dangers of developing a parallel society under which large communities of immigrants are allowed to continue to practice their own laws in conflict with the law of the land. He said the anti-Sharia bill would reaffirm the state’s commitment to preserving liberties outlined in the preamble to North Carolina’s Constitution.
Rep. Chris Whitmire (R-Henderson), one of the initial sponsors of the bill when it was floated as H 695, said the bill was limited to family law because that’s where the most egregious cases have occurred. He said similar laws in Tennessee and Louisiana have already been working to protect residents from losing their constitutional rights to foreign law application.
The House had originally approved Whitmire’s bill in May, but it was transformed into the Faith, Family and Freedom Protection Act with a number of abortion related provisions added. When that measure had to be scrapped so the abortion portion could be modified and linked with another bill, H 522 became the vehicle for protecting North Carolinians from foreign law.
Governor Signs Pre-term Birth Legislation
In other legislative news, Gov. Pat McCrory signed a new law ensuring that public school children are taught about the dangers of abortion and other risk factors for pre-term births later in life. In addition to abortion, sex-ed students will learn about other preventable problems such as smoking, and alcohol and drug use. The bill, S 132, passed the House 69 to 42 and the Senate, 32-12. It was signed by the governor on July 18.