South Carolina House Passes Bill Excluding Sharia Law From State Courts

SHAUN CURRY/AFP/Getty Images

SHAUN CURRY/AFP/Getty Images

Breitbart, by Jordan Schachtel, Jan. 28, 2016:

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 alsoin 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.

Shariah in American Courts: The Expanding Incursion of Islamic Law in the U.S. Legal System

Center for Security Policy, Jan. 5, 2015:

SHARIAH IN AMERICA COURTS 2.0: CENTER’S NEW CIVILIZATION JIHAD READER SERIES STARTS WITH THE PENETRATION OF OUR LEGAL SYSTEM

(Washington, D.C.): Center for Security Policy Press today launched a collection of monographs called the Civilization Jihad Reader Series with the publication of an update to an earlier and highly influential study concerning the insinuation of Islam’s supremacist shariah legal code into the U.S. judiciary. Entitled Shariah in American Courts: The Expanding Incursion of Islamic Law in the U.S. Legal System, this inaugural booklet documents 146 cases in 32 states in which a party to litigation attempted to have the matter resolved by applying shariah, rather than the statutes of the state in question.

The Center first raised an alarm about the penetration of American jurisprudence by one of the most anti-constitutional of such foreign legal codes with its 2011 report, Shariah Law and American State Courts: An Assessment of State Appellate Court Cases. That study examined a sample of fifty cases and found that in twenty-seven of them, in twenty-three different states, the courts in question allowed the use of shariah, generally to the detriment of women and/or children whose rights under our Constitution were infringed.

With the bedrock of the American Republic being the U.S. Constitution and individual state constitutions derived therefrom, these analyses provide insights into how our own legal system can be – and is being – used as a mechanism to anchor and expand in this country shariah, an ideology wholly at odds with such documents and, more generally, irreconcilable with freedom and democracy.

Most Americans take the rule of law and our constitutional rights for granted. Yet, Shariah in American Courts is a reminder of how even institutions like our judiciary can be influenced – and potentially subverted – by foreign legal codes and practices, to the grave detriment of our nation and liberties.

FirefoxScreenSnapz024-697x1024This monograph also suggests that the effort to invoke shariah in U.S. courts is expanding. Worse yet, the total number of such cases is surely far larger in light of the fact that the proceedings of the vast majority of them are not published.

As the new monograph establishes, moreover, there is reason to believe that the surge in such cases is the result of the activism of Muslim Brotherhood-tied groups like the Association of Muslim Jurists of America (AMJA). The Brotherhood is an Islamic supremacist organization whose mission according to its secret plan (The Explanatory Memorandum on the General Strategic Goal of the Group in North America), is to “destroy Western Civilization from within.”

The good news is that, at least at the appellate level, judges appear increasingly to be rejecting the use of shariah in their courtrooms. A contributing factor to these rulings may be the rising awareness in the judiciary of what is afoot, thanks to the adoption in numerous states of legislation drawing upon a model statute known as “American Laws for American Courts” (ALAC).

While the average citizen of this country would assume it to be the case that only laws derived from or consistent with our Constitution would be applied in U.S. courts at both the federal and state level, the evidence that foreign laws – including, but not limited to, shariah – are encroaching has moved legislatures across the country to act. Tennessee, Louisiana, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, North Carolina, Washington and Alabama have adopted ALAC’s prohibitions against the use of such foreign laws in their respective state courts if they are at odds with constitutional rights or state public policy. (Florida also enacted in 2014 a version of this legislation).

In unveiling the release of the Center for Security Press’ newest publication, the Center’s President Frank J. Gaffney, Jr., observed:

The Center is delighted to be putting a spotlight on the Muslim Brotherhood’s stealthy, pre-violent jihad in America. It behooves each of us to become knowledgeable about the presence in our judicial system – and, for that matter, in other civil society and governing institutions – of forces seeking the destruction of our Republic.

The Civilization Jihad Reader Series is intended not only to provide factual evidence of the extent to which this attempt to destroy us from within is advancing, but what patriots can do to prevent it. We recommend as a step towards countering the subversion of our legal system the adoption by every state in the Union of “American Laws for American Courts.”

Additional monographs in the Civilization Jihad Reader Series will be published in coming months. For more information on the Center for Security Policy, the offerings of its Press and the necessity of countering the Muslim Brotherhood and its efforts to impose shariah in America, visit www.SecureFreedom.org.

Buy Shariah in American Courts at Amazon

View PDF here

Amendment banning ‘foreign law’ in Alabama courts passes; will be added to Alabama Constitution

alac2al.com, By Greg Garrison:

Amendment One, an amendment to the state constitution that prohibits foreign law being used to decide cases in Alabama courts, has passed easily and will be added to the Alabama Constitution.
Eric Johnston, the Birmingham attorney who drafted the amendment, felt vindicated after it was described as an attack on Muslims.
“I put in about three years of work on it,” Johnston said, after AP and Politico declared that the amendment passed. The amendment passed by a wide margin of about 72 percent to 28 percent with 96 percent of precincts counted.
Johnston drafted the amendment for State Sen. Gerald Allen, R-Tuscaloosa, who sponsored it. Johnston said it had a wider application than banning Sharia law, the Muslim code of law and morality. “We were just trying to do something legal, not political,” Johnston said.
A legislative committee now will decide where the amendment fits in the Constitution and how it will be numbered, under which article, in the published code, Johnston said.

Johnston said it does not undermine the religious rights of Muslims or anyone else, but does prevent lawyers from arguing from Sharia law in an Alabama custody case, for example.
“Your constitutional rights are not affected by it,” Johnston said. “We’ve got a religious freedom amendment in Alabama. All it says is pay attention to the religious freedom amendment. Women’s rights are compromised by Sharia rights if a lawyer in a custody case says, ‘Islam requires you to do this.’ It’s a help to judges. It doesn’t create any new laws.”
Some argued that the amendment could possibly interfere with foreign marriages and adoptions.
“It does not affect those rights at all,” Johnston said. “If you get married outside the country, that marriage is going to be recognized. If you go to Russia and adopt a child, that adoption is going to be recognized. That was a red herring to scare people away. Those people who said that are ridiculous. They were totally wrong.”

Johnston was not surprised it became a political controversy.
“You put in a lot of hard work, a lot of time explaining it to everybody, then everybody takes shots at it,” Johnston said.
“I’ve been working on religious freedom issues for 30 years,” Johnston said. “My approach is to protect people’s rights and liberties. That’s what this is. I did it because I thought it was the right thing. There’s no change in law, it’s a reminder to the judges that we need to stick to Alabama’s laws and public policy.”

Also see:

ALAC Protects Constitutional Rights Against Foreign Laws – Including Shariah

american-justice2 (1)ACT! for America:

Recently, there has been a great deal of confusion and misinformation about efforts in Oklahoma to prevent the infiltration and insinuation of Shariah law in the Sooner State.

The confusion stems from a ruling earlier this month by Federal Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange requiring the state of Oklahoma to pay the legal fees of a plaintiff who successfully sued the state over the so-called “Save Our State Amendment” from way back in 2010.

This was just the latest legal setback for that beleaguered initiative.

On 15 August 2013, the same US District Judge, Vicki Miles-LaGrange, struck down the amendment (also known as SQ755) that forbade Oklahoma’s courts from considering Islamic law (Shariah) in judicial decisions.

SQ755 had overwhelmingly passed a vote of the people in Oklahoma in November 2010.

This decision was not a surprise and echoed an earlier ruling by the Tenth US Circuit Court of Appeals also in 2010. As detailed in this article, SQ755 contained several flaws which rendered it counterproductive:

http://www.americanthinker.com/2011/09/american_laws_for_american_courts.html

Fortunately, as ACT! For America members know, there is an effective and constitutional alternative to measures such as SQ755 and, thanks to the foresight and tenacity of State Representative Sally Kern, Oklahoma joined a host of other states last spring in passing it into law. That law is called American Laws for American Courts (ALAC).

Authored by Representative Kern, ALAC passed the Oklahoma House of Representatives 85-7 and the Oklahoma Senate 40-3. The bill was signed into law by Governor Mary Fallin on 22 April 2013.

The passage of ALAC in Oklahoma was the culmination of a 3-year effort by Representative Kern that she embarked upon when she learned that SQ755 was likely to run into trouble in the courts.

ALAC has now been passed into law in Tennessee, Louisiana, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma and North Carolina. A version of ALAC also passed into law for specialty courts in the state of Washington. Moreover, ALAC passed the Alabama legislature overwhelmingly last year as a constitutional amendment and goes to a vote of the people on the ballot in their next statewide election in November.

ALAC remedies the flaws in Oklahoma’s SQ 755, and in many ways takes a diametrically opposite approach to SQ 755:

• ALAC is facially neutral. In an honest debate, it cannot be accused of discriminating against any religion or protected class.

• ALAC is based on a completely different legal premise from SQ 755’s. Rather than seeking a ban on foreign or international law, ALAC seeks to preserve the constitutional rights and state public policy protections of American citizens and legal residents, in cases involving foreign laws in the particular dispute being adjudicated. If a case arises in which a foreign law or foreign legal doctrine is involved in a dispute in a state court, ALAC prevents the use of that foreign law or foreign legal doctrine if any of the parties’ fundamental constitutional rights or state public policy would be violated in the process. This is very different from a blanket ban on foreign laws.

• ALAC is not vague. It provides specific guidance for judges on complex legal issues involving comity, choice of law, choice of forum, conflict of laws and forum non conveniens, protecting fundamental constitutional rights.

Because of the careful planning and thought behind ALAC’s wording, in contrast to SQ 755, from a practical standpoint, it is effective in preventing the enforcement of any foreign law – including shariah law – that would violate U.S. and state constitutional liberties or state public policy.

And the need for an effective law preserving constitutional rights against the enforcement of unconstitutional foreign law is both real and urgent: an independent study found 50 cases in 23 states where shariah law had been introduced into state court cases, including some appellate and trial court cases where the judges ruled for shariah law over U.S. law. Most victims of foreign laws in these cases had come to America for freedom and individual liberty – including American Muslims seeking to escape shariah.

It is important to point out that ALAC has been in force since 2010 and has never been challenged in court, simply because there is no basis on which to challenge a law that expressly protects constitutional rights.

Muslim Brotherhood organizations, such as the HAMAS-tied Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR), have opposed ALAC, just as they opposed SQ755. This shows their true motivation; they are not interested in freedom, liberty and our constitution that guarantees them. CAIR has another, more sinister, hate-filled agenda.

Nevertheless, the states that have passed ALAC, such as Oklahoma, have moved to prevent the kind of “creeping shariah” that has occurred in Western Europe, Great Britain in particular. Despite what you might read from the so-called “mainstream” media, the threat from shariah is real and must be guarded against. It is naïve to think that “it can’t happen here.” Shariah is ALREADY here and groups like CAIR are promoting it actively.

Thanks to Representative Kern and her colleagues in the Oklahoma legislature, with the support of ACT! For America’s thousands of members in Oklahoma, we have made sure that the laws applied in Oklahoma courts will be AMERICAN laws.

Florida Governor Scott Signs Landmark Legislation into Law!

Florida State Senator Sponsor of SB386

Florida State Senator
Sponsor of SB386

NER, By Jerry Gordan:

Both Rabbi Jonathan Hausman and I received this email this afternoon from Ms. Jessica Crawford, Legislative Aide to Sen. Alan Hays, the Senate Sponsor of SB386: “on acceptance of foreign law in certain cases”. See our May 1, 2014 Iconoclast post,“Florida Passes Two Landmark Bills in the 2014 Legislative Session.”

From: CRAWFORD.JESSICA
To: Rabbi Jonathan Hausman and Jerry Gordon
Sent: Mon, May 12, 2014 4:21 pm
Subject: Senate Bill 386

The Senator asked me to pass along the good news that the Governor signed the bill into law today! J
Thank you both for all of your help and guidance throughout this Session.  I’m sure the Senator will be in touch soon.
Have a great rest of the day!
Jessica Crawford
Legislative Aide
That is most welcome news for all involved in supporting  this important effort  protecting  the fundamental Constitutional rights of all Floridians, especially women and children.
Jerry Gordon
Senior Editor
New English Review

FLORIDA LEGISLATURE MOVES TO PROTECT ITS CITIZENS FROM FOREIGN LAWS

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From ACT! for America:

This week, the Florida state legislature passed SB 386, a bill supported by ACT! For America that will help protect Floridians from foreign law that is inconsistent with American values, such as Islamic sharia law.

There has been a great deal of mis- and disinformation about SB 386, so we wanted to set the record straight on what the bill accomplishes.

When hopefully signed into law by Governor Scott, the bill will:

  • Help protect Florida parents who face loss of their children to a foreign custody judgment;
  • Help protect spouses who face unfair foreign judgments of divorce, spousal support, or marital property distributions;
  • Help protect parents and spouses from marital contracts (including Islamic marital contracts often named mahrs) that would force decisions regarding child custody, spousal support and marital property distributions to be decided in foreign courts or under foreign law in American courts;
  • And, help protect parents and spouses from having disputes regarding child custody, spousal support and marital property distributions from being dismissed by Florida courts in favor of being decided in foreign courts.

Although American and Florida courts have held in the past that foreign law should not be applied when the foreign law offends public policy, this concept has not previously been strengthened by statute. Further, under current Florida child custody statutes a judge can refuse to enforce a foreign custody judgment only “if the child custody law of a foreign country violates fundamental principles of human rights.” Unfortunately, statements by the U.S. State Department suggest that “fundamental principles of human rights” should be interpreted more narrowly than how most Americans would interpret the phrase. SB 386 authorizes a Florida judge to refuse to enforce a foreign custody judgment under the much broader standard of whether the judgment offends the public policy of Florida.

Therefore, the most important effect of the change in the law in Florida would be to protect parents from losing their children to foreign custody decrees, which has happened before.

For example, a Maryland appellate court, in Hosain v. Malik, enforced a Pakistani custody order, issued under a sharia rule granting sole custody to the father when the child reaches the age of seven, handing a little girl who was being cared for by her mother over to the father.

Further, a California appellate court, in In re Marriage of Malak, enforced a Lebanese custody decree granting custody to the husband, even though the trial court had found that the wife had been denied due process in Lebanon, and the Lebanese Islamic court did not base its ruling upon the best interests of the child.

SB 386 grants Florida parents the ability to dissuade Florida courts from following such shocking rulings enforcing foreign sharia judgments, and thereby not lose their children to similar rulings.

Much has been made of the fact that the SB 386 applies to family law. From a practical standpoint, this represents no real difference when compared to American Laws for American Courts laws in other states, since 80% or more of cases in US state courts in which sharia has arisen involve family law disputes.

SB 386 is a significant step forward in protecting Florida’s court systems from the infiltration of sharia law and in protecting Florida’s citizenry from all offensive forms of foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines.

ACT! for America is a 501 (c) 4 non-profit, non partisan organization that educates and empowers citizens to help play a role in enhancing our nation’s public safety. Today, ACT! has 280,000 members and 875 chapters nationwide including chapters in 11 countries around the world as far as Australia, South Africa and Israel.

Florida Legislature Passes Two Landmark Bills: Textbooks and American Laws for American Courts

bill sponsorsNew English Review,Thursday, 1 May 2014,  By Jerry Gordon:

After four years of trying in the face of misinformed opposition, an amended version of American Law for American Courts (ALAC) SB 386 passed the Florida Legislature this week.  The Senate sponsor of SB386, Senator Alan Hays, Republican of Umatilla, said on Monday, April 28th when the Senate voted to pass the measure by 24 Republicans to 14 Democrats:

I am delighted that my colleagues in the Florida Senate passed SB 386 – The Application of Foreign Law in Certain Cases -this morning.

It is my fervent desire to make sure everyone in a Florida courtroom is  protected from the imposition of any foreign law that may diminish the rights of that person which are afforded by our US and Florida Constitutions.  This bill codifies case law to offer those protections and is a welcome addition to the statutes of our state.

I sincerely appreciate the efforts of many others who assisted in the passage of this landmark legislation.

 

Fl. Rep. Mike Hill

Fl. Rep. Mike Hill

House Rep. Mike Hill, Republican from Pensacola, a member of the Subcommittee on Civil Justice, following   House approval on April 30th of HB 903 by 78 Republicans to 40 Democrats, said:

I am honored to join my colleagues and vote ‘yes’ on the bill that passed the Florida House today codifying that American law only will be used in Florida courts.  It is our duty to do so as I took an oath to protect the Constitutions of the United States and the State of Florida.

The Amended version of SB386 was adopted to overwhelm five Amendments put up by opposition minority Democrats prior to the floor debate that began last Friday, April 25th.The compromise reached was to take up an Amendment formerly offered and waived by Republican Senator David Simmons of Altamonte Springs in previous House and Senate Committee hearings. The Simmons Amendment would codify Florida case law. However, it would assist in addressing Sharia compliant parental abduction in violation of Florida, US and international law.Given Florida legislative procedures, the House passed the Senate version. Now the measure awaits enactment into law upon review by Florida Governor Rick Scott.

Rabbi Jonathan Hausman

Rabbi Jonathan Hausman

Rabbi Jonathan Hausman and I were in the Florida House Public Gallery on Tuesday, April 29th witnessing the floor debate with questions from opposition Democrats to House bill sponsor Rep. Neil Combee.   Misinformed, they persisted in asking why the measure was necessary and alleged conflicts over recognition of Israeli rabbinic divorce decrees and business contracts. Rep. Combee cited both lower court and appellate level cases in which foreign law had been recognized that did not comply with the comity principles under Florida practice as justification for passing the measure.

The alleged problems cited by Democrat members of the Florida House; i.e., non-recognition of Israeli family court decisions had been investigated and found misleading.That effort was based on published research by Professor Daphna Hackner, a Tel Aviv University Family law expert and arguments presented in a video and letter to Florida legislators by Rabbi Hausman, a member of two state bars and expert in both Jewish Halacha and Islamic Sharia.

Prior to the Senate and House deliberations on SB 386/HB903 we suggested to the bill sponsors that the Amended version be reviewed by Stephen M. Gelé, Esq. of the New Orleans law firm of Smith Fawer LLC.  Today, despite his being on vacation, Gelé sent his assessment on the legislation that we received via Christopher Holton of ACT!  Gelé said:

The Florida Legislature recently passed SB 386, a bill that will help protect Floridians from foreign law that is inconsistent with American values, such as Islamic Sharia law.  When hopefully signed into law by Governor Scott, the bill will: help protect Florida parents who face loss of their children to a foreign custody judgment; help protect spouses who face unfair foreign judgments of divorce, spousal support, or marital property distributions; help protect parents and spouses from marital contracts (including Islamic marital contracts often named mahrs) that would force decisions regarding child custody, spousal support and marital property distributions to be decided in foreign courts or under foreign law in American courts; and, help protect parents and spouses from having disputes regarding child custody, spousal support and marital property distributions from being dismissed by Florida courts in favor being decided in  foreign courts.

Although American and Florida courts have held in the past that foreign law should not be applied when the foreign law offends public policy, this concept has not previously been strengthened by statute. Further, under current Florida child custody statutes a judge can refuse to enforce a foreign custody judgment only “if the child custody law of a foreign country violates fundamental principles of human rights.”  Unfortunately, statements by the U.S. State Department suggest that “fundamental principles of human rights” should be interpreted more narrowly than most Americans would interpret the phrase.  However, SB 386 allows a Florida judge to refuse to enforce a foreign custody judgment under the much broader standard of whether the judgment offends the public policy of Florida.

Therefore, the most important effect of the change in the law would be to protect parents from losing their children to foreign custody decrees, which has happened before.

Gele’s comments are reflective of a new theme adopted based on the recommendation by Kansas House Speaker Pro Tempore, Rep. Peg Mast. Mast successfully secured bi-partisan support for passage of ALAC in the 2012 session in Topeka. She suggested emphasizing protection of “fundamental Constitutional rights” for Florida women and children. That meant putting a human face to the theme of the foreign law war on women and children. This was reflected in New English Review  interviews with two women. 345One interview was with retired Arkansas State University Professor Margaret McClain. She spoke in Tallahassee on March 13, 2014 to a group of citizen lobbyists about the abduction and removal of her five  year old daughter Heidi to Saudi Arabia by her Saudi ex-husband in violation of state, federal and international law, but condoned under ShariaThen there was the interview with Floridian Yasmeen A. Davis who told about her abduction by her Saudi father at age 11 and her treatment under Sharia in his home in Saudi Arabia until rescued by her family at age 13.  Now 28 she still suffers PTSD from the episode.

Christian Family Coalition Citizen Lobbyists, Florida Capitol Rotunda March 13, 2014

Christian Family Coalition Citizen Lobbyists, Florida Capitol Rotunda March 13, 2014

One of the premiere groups in providing ground forces to obtain commitments for the legislation is the Christian Family Coalition (CFC) of Florida led by its highly effective executive director, Anthony Verdugo. CFC has more than 5,000 members and supporters working with over 1,000 Churches in the state. CFC demonstrated its prowess by supporting social issue legislation that passed the Florida legislature and a bi-partisan Support for Israel resolution in 2012.  CFC made the legislation a priority for passage in 2014 and held several training sessions with members to equip them with FAQs documents and arguments as to why the bills should be passed countering the misinformation of opponents.  On March 13, 2014  following talks by both Senator Hays and Professor McClain at the CFC’s Annual Leadership Prayer Breakfast in Tallahassee, 75 citizen-lobbyists fanned out buttonholing Senators and Representatives presenting the rationale behind  the CFC legislative priorities.  By the afternoon of March 13th, these CFC citizen lobbyists had successfully obtained 39 commitments in support of bills and other CFC legislative priorities.

Without the dogged determination of the legislation’s sponsors like Sen. Hays and Rep. Combee with the support of advocates in the House Reps. Mike Hill, Larry Metz and Matt Gaetz, what occurred this week might not have happened.

That was abetted by a new and important theme, protecting the Constitutional rights of women and children.  This was assisted by able ground forces from the CFC and other concerned citizen activists securing legislator commitments.

But that is not all that occurred in Tallahassee this week.

Earlier this month, Sen. Hays had also deftly maneuvered a companion measure directed at text book review, SB864, passed the Senate with a thin vote tally of 21 Republicans  to 19 Democrat. The measure would reverse State Department of Education control over selection of textbooks returning that role to Florida’s 67 school districts, requiring open public hearing on texts used in courses.  SB864 was largely prompted by a different issue; objections of parental groups in several Florida counties about the treatment of Islam and Muslim culture in world history textbooks that are on the Florida State Department of Education list of approved texts.

aya-banner-512x286 (1)Today, the House passed the amended SB864/HB 921 by a resounding bi-partisan 117 yeas with 2 not voting.

Like the experience with SB386, SB864/HB921: “on K to 12 instruction materials”, was amended following a conference with both Senate and House sponsors and consultation with the Governor’s office.  While it may require clarification that standards of fact-based accurate depictions in world history texts should be adhered to, the legislation does create a process giving parents relief who object at the school district  level  to specific instructional material triggering  a public hearing.  The legislation  also adds requirements that instructional materials “accurately portray the religious and physical diversity of our society”. Further, it makes the school district boards responsible for the content of all instructional materials used in the classroom.  One important requirement is that the amended legislation would add a new topic in the curriculum specified in 1003.42, F.S. –“the events surrounding the terrorist attacks occurring on 9/11/01 and the impacts of those events on the nation”.

Those of us who have been involved with the support of both measures consider them landmarks for possible consideration in other US states.  This might not satisfy all of the concerns in certain quarters; however, they reflect two well turned precepts.  Voltaire wrote: “a wise Italian says that the best is the enemy of the good”.   German Chancellor Otto von Bismarck said:  “politics is the art of the possible”.

Jerry Gordon is Sr. Vice President of World Encounter Institute and Sr. Editor for the New English Review. He is a former Army Intelligence officer who served during the Vietnam era. Mr. Gordon has published widely in such outlets as: FrontPageMagazine, The American Thinker, WorldNetDaily, ChronWatch, New English Review and its blog The Iconoclast, Israpundit and others. He has been a frequent guest discussing Middle East issues on radio in both the U.S. and Canada. He is co-host of the Middle East Roundtable series on Northwest Florida talk radio 1330 – AM WEBY in Pensacola. He is a graduate of both Boston and Columbia Universities. He holds an MBA in Finance from the Columbia University Graduate School of Finance. He ended his investment banking career in Manhattan as Vice President and Director BMO Capital – a US subsidiary of the Bank of Montreal, where he developed a cross border merger and acquisition and private financing practice involving clients in Canada, the US, UK and Israel. He is the author of a collection of interviews with notable personalities in the counter-jihad movements in Canada, the US, titled The West Speaks.