The South Carolina House has passed a bill blocking Islamic sharia law from being recognized or approved in the state, after years of debate over similar legislation.
The legislation voted upon was explained as “A bill to amend the code of laws of South Carolina … so as to prevent a court or other enforcement authority from enforcing foreign law including, but not limited to, Sharia Law in this state from a forum outside of the United States or its territories under certain circumstances.”
On Thursday, the legislation passed with 68 for the bill and 42 opposed.
Sharia law is the legal and political system mandated in the Koran and other Islamic texts. It include laws governing religious practice, such as praying and ritual washing. But sharia also rules what Westerners see as non-government social practices — divorce, child-rearing, free-speech, clothing or sexual behavior, for example — and it also rules government responses to crimes, such as theft and murder.
Sharia law relegates women and non-Muslims to a lesser status, and grants men enormous authority over wives, daughters and sons. It allows for the primitive treatment of women and non-Muslims, and allows fierce punishment — sometimes, “honor killings” by fathers — for refusing to complying with sharia mandates.
The bill was sponsored by Rep. Chip Limehouse. He told Breitbart News following the bill’s passage:
“This goes to demonstrate that the South Carolina House of Representatives is committed to preserving and protecting the American way of life here in South Carolina.”
“Sharia Law has been used as a defense in American courtrooms,” he adds. “We are working towards making that defense not an option for radical extremists from any country.”
“In South Carolina, we’ve had cases where people have tried to use [the rules of] Sharia Law as a defense, and we are speaking very clearly from the South Carolina House,” Limehouse said. “Shariah Law can not and will not be used as a legal defense in the state of South Carolina.”
Because the bill was passed at the beginning of the current legislative session, Rep. Limehouse said he was optimistic that the Senate would have enough time to pass the bill. In order for the bill to become law, it must now be passed by the South Carolina State Senate and signed by Governor Nikki Haley.
Tea Party and conservative grassroots organizations are credited with initiating the movement to ban sharia rules through the state legislatures. Conservative leaders Newt Gingrich, Sarah Palin, and Michele Bachmann have publicly advocated for the need to enact nation-wide legislation against the threat of sharia.
Underground sharia courts operate in Muslim communities throughout Europe and also in the United States. Last year, Breitbart Texas reported that a “voluntary” sharia court had already been established in Texas.
Several countries in Europe, including the United Kingdom, France, and Germany, have many underground sharia courts within migrant communities. In the U.K, the government has formally deputized at least one sharia court to decide non-criminal issues among people who agree to use the court, even as public concerns rise that immigrant women are socially pressured to accept the courts’ authority
U.S. opponents of sharia courts point to Europe for evidence that western democracies can gradually cede more de-facto legal authority to self-segregating Muslim communities, so enabling the self-segregation of Muslim communities into no-go zones within cities.
Several states–including Alabama, Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, North Carolina South Dakota, and Tennessee–have passed “foreign law” bans against sharia. More than a dozen other states are currently considering similar legislation.