Citing fear of Shariah, or Islamic law, Idaho legislators rejected a bill that would bring the state’s child support program in line with federal regulations. Their act may cost the state millions.
The Associated Press reports that State Sen. Sheryl Nuxoll (R-Cottonwood) testified that the bill would, if passed, subject the state to the Hague Convention on International Recovery of Child Support and Family Maintenance. According to Nuxoll, the treaty violates Idaho’s sovereignty and open the door for the implementation of Shariah law.
Eighty countries have ratified this particular treaty. None enforce Shariah law.
Nevertheless, the State House Judiciary, Rules and Administration Committee rejected the bill 9-8. And it appears the vote did not occur in a void. The Spokane Spokesman-Review reports that it came six days after State Rep. Vito Barbieri (R-Dalton Gardens) hosted a talk called “The True Face Of Islam In Idaho.”
Shahram Hadian, who deconverted from Islam to become a fundamentalist Christian minister, led the talk, and told lawmakers in attendance that Muslims actively sought to infiltrate the state.“The goal is not just to be left alone, the goal is to change the society,” Hadian asserted. “All that is part of jihad.”
“We must curb and limit Islamic immigration and stop the refugee dumps. Spokane is a dumping ground. They’re targeting Boise….They’re specifically targeting dumping in conservative areas,” he added.
Nuxoll attended that lecture, and so did several of her colleagues. It seems they took the lecture to heart – much to the detriment of Idaho’s single parents. State officials now have 60 days to meet with the federal Department of Health and Human Services and develop a solution.
“This is a new experience for Idaho. We have been told the federal support for Idaho’s Child Support Program will end if Idaho is not in compliance,” a state Health and Welfare Department spokesman said.
That means the state could no longer be able to use federal programs to collect and process owed child support. It would also lose a significant amount of federal funding: $16 million for the state child support bureau and $30 million allocated as temporary assistance for needy families.
Gov. Butch Otter supported the bill, and so did the state Attorney General. Both are Republicans, which means that legislators deviated from the party’s official position. But Nuxoll and Barbieri have reputations as extremists.
Nuxoll is one of three state senators who recently walked out of a Hindu invocation in the senate. Barbieri made headlines in March when, during hearings for the state’s latest abortion restrictions, he asked an expert witness if women could swallow cameras allowing gynecologists to conduct remote exams. (They can’t. The stomach is not connected to the female reproductive system.)
These rogue legislators are also misinformed about the nature of Shariah, which is little surprise if they’re relying on fundamentalist Christians for facts. There’s no evidence that any domestic Muslim group has organized to demand that the U.S. government – or, for that matter, the great state of Idaho – enforce Shariah.
Some American Muslim communities do use Shariah tribunals to resolve certain civil matters. It’s legal for them to do so. Tribunal judgements are not legally binding; they carry spiritual weight within Muslim communities but are not recognized by secular courts. A Muslim couple seeking a divorce, for example, may turn to a Shariah tribunal for resolution, but that tribunal may only end the religious aspect of their union. A secular decree is still required for the couple to be considered legally divorced.
This practice isn’t restricted to Islam, either. Rabbinical courts in some Jewish traditions function in a similar fashion, and it’s common for Christians to choose religiously-based mediation services to resolve disputes outside secular courts. Religious courts can’t, however, take criminal cases, and the judgements they render may never take precedence over secular rulings. That isn’t going to change, either, thanks to the First Amendment.
Nuxoll, Barbieri, and their Shariah-obsessed peers might be unaware that other religious communities practice something resembling religious law. Their ignorance will cost them nothing, but they’ve created a crisis for single parents.
The First Amendment prohibits state and federal governments from enforcing overtly religious law, including Shariah. It also prohibits profiling communities on the basis of their religious affiliation.
The next lecture Idaho legislators attend should be a lesson on the Constitution.