Politics

Sponsor Of South Carolina Anti-Sharia Law Claims 99% Of Terrorist Acts Committed By Muslims

At least a dozen states have proposed nearly identical laws designed to ban “Sharia law” in American courts. In South Carolina — despite the testimony of a law professor noting there is no evidence of Muslim traditions being imposed in judicial settings — a group of legislators have joined the anti-Sharia bandwagon and offered a bill. Earlier this month, ThinkProgress sat down with State Sen. Mike Fair (R-SC), the chief sponsor of the anti-Sharia legislation, to hear his views on the issue.

Fair explained that although his inspiration for the bill stemmed from his fear of Muslim influence in America, it would prohibit all foreign laws from being used in American courts. Fair said he began worrying about the Sharia after 9/11, and said that after reading several books on Islam, he came to the conclusion that “99 percent” of terrorist acts since the Beirut Marine barracks bombing were carried out by “Middle Eastern men who happen to be Muslim advocates of the Islam religion.” He went on to say that he would not want to hear the Muslim prayer call made from the building of the South Carolina capitol, and was troubled that some airport already “accomodate Islam” by storing prayer shawls for Muslim taxi drivers:

FAIR: Most, and when I say most, 99 percent probably, acts of terrorism around the world since at least since the killing of the two hundred plus Marines in Lebanon, in the car bomb or whatever it was, have occurred, all these acts of terrorism, have occurred at the hands of Middle Eastern men who happen to be Muslim advocates of the Islam religion. […]

The prayer shawls in such a public airport, built by public dollars at no cost to the people who want to store their prayer shawls. That’s a stretch by the way, but it is an accommodation of religion. Well anyway, that might help explain some of the thinking behind the popping up. Really the bill we have is an affirmation, it would be an exclamation point behind the law.

Watch it:

Fair’s calculation, that nearly every single act of terrorism for the past couple of decades was committed by Muslim men, is off base. In reality, in the last ten years alone, nearly twice as many terrorist plots were hatched by non-Muslims in America than by Muslims.

Even Fair admits that his bill doesn’t actually change anything and his examples of the Sharia issue are incredibly flimsy. Rather than protecting Americans from some type of creeping religion problem, Fair’s bill threatens to isolate and persecute a minority group that already faces regular smears from both public officials and right-wing media.

Click more for an extended transcript.

FAIR: Most, and when I say most, ninety nine percent probably, acts of terrorism around the world since at least since the killing of the two hundred plus Marines in Lebanon, in the car bomb or whatever it was, have occurred, all these acts of terrorism, have occurred at the hands of Middle Eastern men who happen to be Muslim advocates of the Islam religion. […] There’s a willingness in certain areas of the country. And I think this is what’s stirred a response by people like me, who want to be proactively trying to place barriers around similar kinds of things. In Columbia, South Carolina, that beautiful state house right over there […] you gotta walk through its gorgeous, but no horns sounding five times a day at times of prayer, which I’m told – haven’t been to Michigan in a long time – been told that there are Islamic communities where there have […] in Dearborn, that’s exactly right, where with taxpayer dollars they’re doing certain funded, doing certain things to accommodate Islam. That’s wrong, according to an interpretation of our Constitution, that’s wrong, why they are accommodating them. Are they afraid? I don’t know. Airports where prayer shawls are stored for taxi cab drivers to be given the ability to pick and choose. […] The prayer shawls in such a public airport, built by public dollars at no cost to the people who want to store their prayer shawls. That’s a stretch by the way, but it is an accommodation of religion. Well anyway, that might help explain some of the thinking behind the popping up. Really the bill we have is an affirmation, it would be an exclamation point behind the law. It says you will practice the law. If you need reminding, foreign law does not prevail over South Carolina law, notwithstanding the various exemptions we talked about where federal law does prevail in treaties and so forth.