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SC House passes anti-Sharia law bill, opponents say it's a waste of time

FILE - Local lawmakers like Representative Chip Limehouse pushed to make the day of prayer permanent in South Carolina.

A South Carolina state lawmaker wants to keep Sharia law from being used in the Palmetto state while other lawmakers say the bill is a waste of time because there's no evidence anyone has tried to use it.

Sharia law is composed of five main areas: behavior and morals, worship, beliefs, contracts, and punishments. Lawmakers who file anti-Sharia bills often point to the punishments, which include losing a hand for stealing or being stoned for adultery.

The five guiding areas make up the law of the Quran, which also states that the religious law cannot be implemented through a government.

While the Quran says Muslims should follow the laws of the land where they live, some American lawmakers think it would allow Muslims to circumvent the Constitution in favor of religious law.

State Rep. Chip Limehouse is one of those lawmakers.

"It's a very, very, very bad thing, particularly for women," he said.

Limehouse claims a Charleston County judge told him someone tried to use Sharia law as a defense, but would not go into detail on the court, the defendant, or the attorney involved.

He would only say he would use his power as a lawmaker to make sure that couldn't happen.

"As it relates to women, husbands, fathers can take any small slight a daughter or wife may or may not have done and administer capital punishment practically for that," Limehouse said.

Solicitor Scarlett Wilson said she is not aware of the instance to which Limehouse is referring.

State Sen. James Smith says the use of Sharia law in courtrooms is not a pressing issue in South Carolina.

"They can point to no single instance of Sharia Law being implemented over our own law and Constitution. It's a problem that does not exist in South Carolina," Smith said.

State Rep. Mary Tinkler wrote on her Facebook page that there are more important problems facing South Carolina.

"Let's focus on our state's roads and education systems," she wrote in response to the bill. "When sworn in, judges take an oath to uphold our state Constitution -- a Constitution that I believe in. Sharia law has nothing to do with our state constitution. It's a moot point."

The bill passed the House 68-42. "We're against radical extremists who are out to destroy America. That's what this law is against," Limehouse said.

The Council on American-Islamic Relations says Limehouse's bill is designed to do nothing more than attack the religious principles of Islam.

CAIR has asked the South Carolina General Assembly to drop the bill, saying it violates the establishment clause of the Constitution.

The bill's progression can be tracked here.

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