How immigrants are redefining 'American' in Southern California

Some good reads as State Question 755 winds its way through court

Photo by Il Primo Uomo/Flickr (Creative Commons)


A temporary restraining order will continue in effect until the end of this month blocking a controversial new Oklahoma law that, if implemented, would amend the state's constitution to ban the use of Islamic Sharia law in the state's courts. United Press International reported that in a hearing today, a federal judge in Oklahoma City extended an order blocking implementation of what was known on the ballot as State Question 755, approved by voters in the Nov. 2 election.

The ballot initiative was approved by an overwhelming majority - 70 percent - even though there is no known instance of Islamic law ever being cited in Oklahoma courts.

Two days after the ballot measure was approved, the director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed suit to stop its implementation on constitutional grounds. Today the restraining order was extended until Nov. 29, when a ruling is expected on whether the law violates the U.S. constitution.

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Hasta mañana

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

A perfectly good place to put my voter sticker, November 2, 2010

After fulfilling my civic duty yesterday and then some, I'll be out for the rest of today.

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Quote of the moment: A Latino first-time voter on offensive campaign ads

“That was the final straw. She was depicting me as a gang member. I served seven years in the Marine Corps.”

- Gilberto Ramirez, a Reno concrete worker and first-time voter quoted in the Las Vegas Sun regarding defeated Senate candidate Sharron Angle's campaign ads


The Sun and various other news outlets have reported on just how critically decisive the Latino vote was in the re-election of U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid. Reid captured the support of 90 percent of Nevada's Latino voters, who turned out in record numbers - some, like recently-naturalized citizen Ramirez, incensed by a series of much-criticized campaign ads from Reid's Republican opponent Sharron Angle.

Perhaps the Angle ad that drew the most ire was one called "The Wave," in which images of young Latino-looking men appeared with a voiceover that began: “Waves of illegal aliens streaming across our border, joining violent gangs, forcing families to live in fear...”

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Reaction to Oklahoma's controversial, precedent-setting anti-Sharia law

Photo by Il Primo Uomo/Flickr (Creative Commons)

A closely watched and potentially influential state initiative banning the use of Islamic Sharia law (also spelled Shariah and Shari'ah) in Oklahoma passed by an overwhelming margin yesterday.

In The Washington Post's On Faith column today, political science professor Muqtedar Khan wrote:

Critics of Shariah in Oklahoma argue that they also oppose the Shariah law because it is against freedom of religion. In this age, when ignorance and bigotry are being celebrated in America, I am sure that most people in Oklahoma must have missed the irony in the situation.

The key sentence in the State question 755 is: It forbids courts from considering or using international law. It forbids courts from considering or using Shariah Law. The proposition also bans international law. To consider how ignorant both the authors and the voters of the proposition are, please take a look at Article Six, Section I, Clause II of the US constitution. It is called the supremacy clause.

According to this clause, international treaties to which the U.S. government is a signatory become "the supreme law of the land". Treaties, along with custom and UN declarations are the main sources of international law (the proposition 755 actually mentions it). Thus by rejecting international law the proposition designed to institutionalize Islamophobia in Oklahoma, has effectually said "thanks, but no thanks" to the U.S. Constitution.

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At the 'Ve y Vota' call center: Taking calls, questions, complaints since 3 a.m.

Photo by Leslie Berestein Rojas/KPCC

Taking calls at the "Ve y Vota" voter outreach campaign's call center tonight in South L.A.

It's been a long day, but not as long for most as it has been for some of the people staffing the "Ve y Vota" call center at the South L.A. headquarters of the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials, where calls from voters have been coming in since 3 a.m.

The phone bank, one of several around the country put together by the same team of advocacy and media groups as part of a voter outreach campaign, has been fielding calls as simple as "Where do I vote?" to calls about voter intimidation and rude poll workers, with complaints referred to volunteer attorneys.

So far, the complaints coming in to this particular call center - which has been taking calls from around the country (with some phone staffers in since before dawn) and will be open until midnight - have been relatively minimal, with the most excitement surrounding media reports of Spanish-language "robocalls" and mailers advising recipients to vote a day late. So far, the only thing confirmed by staffers has been a bilingual flyer in New York state with a Nov. 3 date in the Spanish translation, said Gladys Negrete, a data analyst with the NALEO Educational Fund.

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