Entries in Council on American-Islamic Relations (2)


Oklahoma‚Äôs Ban on Sharia Law Struck Down by Federal Appeals Court

Comstock/Thinkstock(OKLAHOMA CITY) -- A federal appeals court Wednesday blocked a measure that would’ve made Oklahoma the first state in the nation to ban the Sharia law in its court system.

The court ruled in favor of Muneer Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Oklahoma, who filed a lawsuit against the Oklahoma election board on the grounds that the voter-approved constitutional amendment violated the Establishment Clause of the Constitution forbidding the government from favoring one religion over another.

The amendment specifically stated that “it forbids courts from considering or using Sharia Law.”

Sharia law is broadly defined as a body of law based on Islam and its central religious text, the Quran.

“This is an important reminder that the Constitution is the last line of defense against a rising tide of anti-Muslim bigotry in our society, and we are pleased that the appeals court recognized that fact,” Awad said in a statement. “We are also hopeful that this decision serves as a reminder to politicians wishing to score political points through fear-mongering and bigotry.”

Wednesday’s ruling upheld a decision by the lower court striking down the Save Our State amendment, which would have also forbidden judges from using international laws as a basis for decisions.

The 10th Circuit Court of Appeals found that the federal district court did not abuse discretion by barring the amendment. “Because Mr. Awad has at least one justiciable claim and because the district court did not abuse its discretion in granting the preliminary injunction, we affirm,” Wednesday’s findings by the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals stated.

Its proponents Wednesday vowed to fight the injunction. The ballot measure passed by a 70-percent margin in November, 2010, even though sponsors of the measure produced no evidence that Sharia law is actually being used in the courts. Its proponents said that even though it was not a problem in Oklahoma, they were attempting to prevent it from becoming one.

But opponents of the ban said it is an unconstitutional scare tactic aimed at discriminating against Muslims. They said it will have a broad impact in the areas of family law that come before the courts and could prove to have national implications. CAIR immediately challenged the measure.

Sharia law has become a hot-button issue in the United States, particularly among conservatives who want similar laws to be imposed across the country.

Republican presidential contender Newt Gingrich once advocated imposing such a law at the federal level, saying in a September 2010 speech, “We should have a federal law that says under no circumstance, in any jurisdiction in the United States, will Sharia be used in any court to apply to any judgment.”

Rep. Michele Bachmann of Minnesota, who dropped out of the race last week after a poor showing in the Iowa caucuses, signed a conservative pledge that vowed to fight the Sharia law, among other things, such as porn.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio


Osama Bin Laden's Anti-U.S. Strategy: Exploit Minority Converts

AFP/Getty Images(WASHINGTON) -- Osama bin Laden aspired to damage the United States not only through persistent terror attacks, but also by attempting to inflame race and class tensions in hopes of tearing down the country from the inside out, according to officials briefed on the evidence trove recovered from the al Qaeda leader's Pakistan compound.

According to information recovered in the U.S. Navy SEAL raid that brought down the terror leader, bin Laden planned to specifically recruit African-American Muslim converts to carry out attacks on the homeland. The goal was to not only kill and maim in the actual operations, but to create a divisiveness that would cause more damage than al Qaeda could ever hope to do on their own.

"Because there were many blacks in the U.S., he wanted to capitalize on them to further the jihadi cause," one U.S. official told ABC News. "Al Qaeda sees the black convert community as ripe for recruiting."

While it has long been known that radical preachers and some prison imams have targeted the convert community for jihad recruitment, the references show core al Qaeda's keen interest in the tactic.

"This is pretty heady stuff," another person briefed on the material said.

But it's also strategy that civil rights activist and President of the National Action Network Rev. Al Sharpton said was "radical" and outrageous.

"I think it would be the most cynical abuse of African-Americans and America in general," Sharpton told ABC News. "Remember, Osama bin Laden killed blacks, whites, Latinos, everyone on 9/11... For him to use race relations in the U.S. in a way to support his terroristic barbarism is the absolute height of cynicism."

Minority groups have previously suffered in the aftermath of terror attacks or attempted attacks, though most of those incidents have been directed at Muslim-Americans. Ibrahim Hooper, National Communications Director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said those incidents are not indicative of the American people and any belief by bin Laden that he could prompt widespread violence in such a way between any groups was a "fantasy."

"I think the viewpoint reflects more of a Neo-Nazi, white supremacist outlook on American whites than anything based in reality," he said. "I think it's fantasy based on a fundamental misunderstanding of American society."

In the past, officials believed al Qaeda attempted to recruit fair-skinned European or Americans jihadis.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

ABC News Radio