Raleigh, N.C. — A proposal to ban the recognition of Islamic Sharia law in North Carolina courts is headed for the Senate after winning final House approval Thursday.
Rep. Rick Glazier, D-Cumberland, said House Bill 695 is unnecessary, would conflict with constitutional due process rights and would damage North Carolina's image in the eyes of the international business community.
Bill sponsor Rep. Chris Whitmire, R-Transylvania, disagreed.
"Take it as fact that this is a very, very present threat that must be dealt with," Whitmire said. "We are making sure that the most fundamental basis on which we exist is protected."
Rep. John Blust, R-Guilford, disagreed with arguments that the state and federal constitution already protect citizens against foreign law.
"I’ve always wanted to depend on our own constitution, but we have seen that document put in, frankly, grave danger," Blust said.
"In the United States, there is the Sharia law," he said. "It is fundamentally at odds with U.S. jurisprudence. The two systems cannot be reconciled. Individual rights are not recognized."
Blust said the goal of proponents of Sharia law is to infiltrate other cultures. He said Democrats should be aware of the threat.
"Some of the groups of people that are championed on the progressive side are absolutely trod upon under Sharia," he warned. "For example, homosexuals are stoned. I don't want to see that creeping in here."
Rep. Larry Pittman, R-Cabarrus, agreed, likening the threat of Sharia law to Pearl Harbor. That comparison is also frequently used by anti-Islamic activist Frank Gaffney at the Center for Security Policy.
The measure passed by a 70-41 vote.
Corey Saylor with the Council on American-Islamic Relations called the proposal "anti-Islamic."
"Anyone who believes foreign law can replace the Constitution is misguided," he said. "The Supremacy Clause ensures that the Constitution will always remain our nation’s law. American Muslims like it that way, as it ensures every individual’s right to worship or not as they see fit."
"That is why CAIR’s lawsuit against an anti-Islam bill in Oklahoma argues First Amendment and Supremacy Clause issues," Saylor said in a statement. "Four federal judges have ruled in our favor so far, so we are confident we are upholding the Constitution.
"Frankly, supporters of anti-Islam legislation, such as HB 695, are undermining its protections," he added.