FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
For more information and to schedule an interview, contact:
Stephen M. Gelé, American Public Policy Alliance
or (800) 968-4211
American Laws for American Courts Accomplishes What the Oklahoma Amendment Has Not
Washington, DC January 11, 2012: The decision earlier this week by a federal appeals court to not reverse a federal judge's order blocking implementation of a constitutional amendment passed in Oklahoma to prohibit courts from enforcing shariah law in the state, albeit unfortunate, was predictable. However, the decision need not hinder the effort to protect constitutional rights from the encroachment of foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines, such as shariah, into American state courts.
The well-meaning Oklahoma amendment appeared reasonable on its face, and was hailed as a step in the right direction to preserve American sovereignty and prevent the incorporation of shariah law into American courts and institutions. The bill's supporters wanted, rightly, to prevent the European mistake of allowing parallel shariah court systems, which have denied legal rights to Muslim citizens and prevented full integration of immigrants into Western society. Over 70% of the Oklahoma electorate supported the bill's principle of preventing "foreign laws in general, and Islamic Sharia law in particular, from overriding state or U.S. laws."
Unfortunately, the Oklahoma amendment may have been a distraction from more carefully researched and drafted bills designed to prevent the entry of unconstitutional foreign laws such as shariah in American jurisprudence.
There is an effective alternative to the Oklahoma amendment and its various copycats around the country-- the American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) legislation, backed by the American Public Policy Alliance (http://publicpolicyalliance.org).
ALAC has already been passed into law in three states -- Tennessee (April 2010), Louisiana (June 2010), and Arizona (May 2011) -- and has not suffered any legal challenges, because there is simply no legitimate basis on which to challenge ALAC. In contrast, the Oklahoma amendment was attacked by the ACLU and CAIR in federal court within days of passage. ALAC remedies any technical or legal flaws in the Oklahoma amendment.
The American Laws for American Courts Act is now progressing through legislatures in dozens of states.
Critics, such as the ACLU and CAIR, have claimed that any legislation to protect Americans from the imposition of foreign law, including shariah, is unnecessary. However, research by the Center for Security Policy published in the report, "Shariah Law and American State Courts: An Assessment of State Appellate Court Cases" (http://shariahinamericancourts.com/) uncovered dozens of cases across 23 states in which litigants attempted to invoke shariah--sometimes successfully, and often to the detriment of women and children.
ALAC, which prevents foreign law and proceedings from violating fundamental constitutional rights, has been endorsed by Muslim Americans, Jewish faith leaders and Christian religious leaders, as well as several prominent national security professionals.
ALAC will succeed where the Oklahoma Amendment has not.
The American Public Policy Alliance (APPA), a non-partisan advocacy organization dedicated to government transparency, government accountability and the constitutionality of U.S. and state laws and policies, is working with legislators nationwide on policies and initiatives. Along with allied organizations, APPA is working to defend free speech, preserve and promote human rights, maintain the strength of our U.S. and state constitutions, and aid and promote public safety.
One of the greatest threats to American values and liberties today comes from foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines which have been influencing our legal system at the municipal, state and federal levels. This phenomenon is known as “transnationalism” and includes the increasingly frequent appearance of Islamic Shariah law. APPA focuses largely on combating this process across a broad variety of issues.
For more information visit http://www.publicpolicyalliance.org