We warned you. Over the weekend we noted that Monday’s scheduled hearing in the state House Judiciary & Civil Jurisprudence Committee on HB 911 by Rep. Leo Berman, R-Tyler, and HB 3027 by Rep. Randy Weber, R-Pearland, had the potential to turn into a “Muslim hate-a-palooza.”
Sometimes we hate being right.
Though neither of these bills explicitly mention Islam or Sharia, no one in the hearing room was unclear about the motivation behind this legislation. The committee heard an earful of unsubstantiated, hair-on-fire claims about the threat Islam supposedly poses to Texas, starting with Berman’s explanation of the bill.
That’s why I said at the very beginning that the bill number, number 9-11, is very significant in this case. We all know what happened on 9/11/2001. I want you to know it’s spreading.
So much for subtlety. Let’s just go ahead and play the September 11th trump card right off the bat.
When one of Berman’s fellow Republicans on the committee — Sarah Davis, R-West University Place — pressed him to cite a specific example of the problem his bill would correct, Berman was stumped:
Rep. Davis: … I don’t understand what Sharia law has to do with contractual negotiations … are these instances in family courts that are upholding Sharia law or what type of law? … What are the examples specifically that you’re talking about within the United States. What type of cases are those?
Rep. Berman: I can’t tell you that, but the use of, but they’re being used only in the city of Dearborn, Michigan, where a large concentration of Middle Easterners are found and judges are using, or allowing to be used, decisions made under Sharia law.
Things got even worse when the committee began to hear testimony on the bill. These folks had no problem coming up with reasons we need a bill like this. A citizen named Joyce Howard Pittman took the first crack at it:
I have studied Sharia a little bit, enough to know that it is an insidious situation to come into our constitutional law and can be very destructive to our courts and to our females and to our children. Females and children have zero rights under Sharia … Sharia still allows for slaves! I don’t think anyone wants that in this country. We want to keep our freedom. We want to keep our constitutional law.
So if we don’t pass this law, courts are going to be forced to re-institute slavery. Right.
Dory O’Brien, who identified herself as a “national member of Act! For America,” which she said is “the only organization in the United States that is dedicated to stopping radical Islamization in the country,” gave committee members a little lesson on the real agenda with Sharia law (based on her extensive research, of course):
Sharia law, as Mr. Berman said, is a complete way of life. They have stood around — “they” meaning the leaders of the Muslim brotherhood in the United States — have stated, flatly, that their reason for coming to the United States is to shred our Constitution. It is to put Sharia law in the place of our governing system.
Sound a bit paranoid to you? Rep. Joaquin Castro, D – San Antonio, thought so:
Rep. Castro: There’s extremists on every side of the political spectrum.
O’Brien: This is not an extreme law, sir.
Rep. Castro: No, no, no — I’m talking about the groups. Even if what you’re saying is true, there are extremists on every end of the political spectrum, so what makes you think they’re going to take over the country anymore than …
O’Brien: Because they have!
Rep. Castro: … neo-Nazi’s or any other group?
O’Brien: Because they’ve done it for 1,400 years in every country that they’ve touched!
Rep. Castro: So you’re predicting that folks who follow Sharia law are going to take over the United States of America?
O’Brien: If they can! We’re here to make sure they don’t.
1,400 years of unrelenting conquest, but Berman and Weber are going to draw the line at Texas. They won’t stand by and allow religion to trump American laws. Unless, of course, it is their God calling the shots. Here is the closing line of the letter Rep. Berman is circulating to solicit co-author’s for his bill:
Ironically, the number of this bill is H.B. 911. Neither of us had anything to do with getting that number and feel it was providential. You are invited to co-author H.B. 911. [emphasis added]
The bill was left pending in committee.