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July 22, 2010

Oklahoma’s Misguided Crusade
Posted by The Editors

This  post was written by Alexandra Siegel, an intern at the National Security Network

Congressman Rex Duncan [R-OK] has gone to war. Leading his state into battle, Duncan recently launched what he called a “preemptive strike” in the “war for the survival of America.” Earlier this summer Duncan placed an amendment dubbed “Save Our State” on Oklahoma’s November ballot, which would ban local courts from considering sharia or Islamic law in their judgments. According to Duncan, this amendment is necessary to prevent judges from “undermin[ing] those founding…Judeo-Christian… principles of America.” 

While Duncan has certainly professed its urgency, his “strike” is indeed quite preemptive. As the Economist reports, there has not been a single proposal by a US citizen (Muslim or otherwise) to make appeals to sharia law in Oklahoma or any other state. Despite this, Duncan reports that the use of sharia in American courts is “not just a danger” but “a reality.” He argues that we must act now to avoid suffering the same “fate” as our allies across the Atlantic. Sharia law, he maintains, is “a cancer upon the survivability of the UK” which will have equally negative impacts in the US. Ironically, the destructive “cancer” that Duncan warns of is the British application of sharia law in some civil and family court cases when requested by both parties. In these cases, the primacy of the law of the land remains paramount—hardly a cause for hysteria.

Regardless of its absurdity, recent events indicate that Congressman Duncan is not alone in his fight. In reference to the proposed building of a Mosque near Ground Zero, Newt Gingrich asserted: “There should be no mosque…so long as there are no churches or synagogues in Saudi Arabia. America is experiencing an Islamist cultural-political offensive designed to undermine and destroy our civilization...No mosque. No self deception. No surrender.”  Similarly organizations like the “Virginia Anti-Sharia Task Force” (VAST) which has a self professed mission to “oppose and assist others in resisting the implementation of the radical, barbaric and anti-Constitutional Shariah law in Virginia or anywhere in America,” have sprung up around the country.  

Unfortunately, by alienating Muslim Americans who play vital roles in combating domestic and international terrorism, those who dream up legislation like the “Save Our State” or organizations like VAST do far more to undermine American national security and values than the unfounded threats they warn against. 

As was highlighted at the event that the National Security Network organized with the Center for Ameriacn Progress Action Fund on July 14th featuring Congressman Keith Ellison (D-MN) and a prestigious panel of experts, including former New York and Los Angeles Police Commissioner Bill Bratton, community organizations and the families of radicalized individuals have shown themselves to be critical actors in disrupting terrorist plots and preventing radicalization. Furthermore, attacking and excluding Muslim American communities not only runs counter to fundamental American values, but also serves to foster the kinds of conditions that breed domestic radicalization. As events like the attempted attack in Times Square indicate, this poses a serious threat to our national security. 

Inflammatory and discriminatory campaigns like the one launched by Rex Duncan not only spark unnecessary fear, but also alienate many Muslims who play indispensible roles in U.S. counterterrorism efforts. Paradoxically, in his fight “for the survival of America,” Duncan dangerously undermines U.S. national security.


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Inflammatory and discriminatory campaigns like the one launched by Rex Duncan not only spark unnecessary fear, but also alienate many Muslims who play indispensible roles in U.S. counterterrorism efforts. Paradoxically, in his fight “for the survival of America,” Duncan dangerously undermines U.S. national security.

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Unfortunately, by alienating Muslim Americans who play vital roles in combating domestic and international terrorism, those who dream up legislation like the “Save Our State” or organizations like VAST do far more to undermine American national security and values than the unfounded threats they warn against.
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