The Sioux Falls Argus Leader has an article this AM noting that two of the three Democrats running in the District this fall happen to be practicing Muslims. I’m not sure why it’s a big deal, but the Argus thinks it is:
“Muslims have been talked about a lot in some of the political campaigns that are going on so I think that it’s important for people to be aware of the Muslims in their own community and I think it’s important for Muslims to define ourselves within the larger community,” Koch said. “We live here and we want to have a positive impact on our state and our community.”
Michael Saba, a Democrat and Muslim, is running for a District 9 House seat.
Koch said he decided to fill the Democratic vacancy in the District 9 in August after candidate Holly Boltjes withdrew. He said he hopes to support Gov. Dennis Daugaard’s proposal to expand Medicaid in the state and oppose measure that could reduce rights of LGBT people.
I’m hearing more about him being a liberal in this article than I am about him being a Muslim.
If it was an article intended to be about a candidate’s religion and the legislature, the biggest issue the article ignored is South Dakota’s 2012 ban on Sharia Law which was heard and signed into law during the 2012 Legislative session. After about 20 states in the union proposed measures, South Dakota is one of only seven states (Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Tennessee, North Carolina and Alabama) which have passed a ban.
The measure did attract some national attention at the time. According to MSNBC:
HB 1253, which passed 29-4 in the state Senate on Tuesday, is about as brief as they come — one line: “No court, administrative agency or other governmental agency may enforce any provisions of any religious code,” it reads.
Gov. Daugaard’s general counsel Jim Seward testified that the bill served to “answer the question of the Sharia law” without being unconstitutional or interfering with business interests.
This bill was motivated by a “growing demographic concern in Sioux Falls,” Seward said, referring to the influx of immigrants from majority Muslim countries.
“I would be less than fully honest with you if I didn`t also say that part of the purpose of (HB)1253 is to deal with what I am going to say generally has been referred to as Shariah law,” Republican Rep. Roger Hunt, who sponsored the bill, said in a judiciary committee hearing.
The South Dakota bill does exactly what that Oklahoma legislation did, “albeit in a slightly more general manner,” said CAIR’s Abbas, who was involved in the successful challenge to the Oklahoma measure.
The measure, solely sponsored by State Rep. Roger Hunt, was a bit more controversial in the House, passing 47-22….
But once it was taken up in the State Senate, if flew through on a 29-4 vote.
District 9’s delegation at the time (including those grouped together by re-districting) unanimously supported the measure which stated simply “No court, administrative agency, or other governmental agency may enforce any provisions of any religious code,” which applied on a broad basis to not just Sharia Law, but Canon Law, and other religious codes.
The Governor signed it, and it’s the law of the land in South Dakota.
If there was one issue you would have thought the Argus would have noted in an article they just felt they had to write about the topic of Muslims running for the legislature in South Dakota, it would have been that.
What do you think?