I applaud the people of the state of Oklahoma, U.S.A., who have voted with an overwhelming majority to ban any future introduction of Sharia law or concessions to it in their state.
By so doing, they are defending democracy, humanity and women's rights.
Critics say the ban was unnecessary because there are only about 1% of Muslims living in Oklahoma. That is an illogical criticism. Would they prefer it to be passed somewhere where there are 40% or 50% Muslims? Or 60%? The best possible time to pass a law - and the only democratic time to do it - is when you have a large and comfortable majority.
Percentages are not the only factor in making an issue matter. There are already impudent criminals in the U.S.A. who demand to be tried for their mass murders and conspiracies under Sharia law, not that of the U.S.A. They hold U.S. passports yet they despise its laws and openly admit that they do not regard them as valid.
We have the same problem here in Britain. Muslim terrorists and assassins announce publicly that they do not recognize the jurisdiction of British courts. They don't mind living here, sending their children to state schools and universities, using the N.H.S. and the community centres built for them by local authorities, but they think they can follow a higher set of laws that overrides our own. That is intolerable and I am glad that the state of Oklahoma has got the guts to tell such people to keep well away.
One of the many signs that our own Archbiship of Canterbury is batty and out of touch, is his foolish flirtation with the prospect of allowing Muslim communities to operate any form of Sharia law here. I don't want to see amputation in Andover, stoning in Staffordshire, polygamy in Portsmouth, gays guillotined in Gloucester, or girls hanged from cranes in Croydon for not wearing their headscarves or burkas. Britain has suffered too much from confused liberal compromise with an ideology that does not represent tolerance or freedom. If we did let people to follow Sharia law here, we could expect to see Salman Rushdie's throat publicly slit, and a similar fate for any "apostate" Muslim, i.e. one who decides that they no longer believe their ancestral religion.
Oklahoma has not banned the practice of the Islamic faith, so it has upheld the U.S. constitution which guarantees freedom of religion. What it has done is make it clear that religious difference does not entitle you to different status under the law.
Oklahoma has acted with foresight. Do you wait until the flood comes up to your waist before building a dam? Do you wait until you have got terminal cancer before insuring your life? Of course not. To act well in advance is prudent. In future nobody who goes to live in Oklahoma can say that they were not warned that they would have to respect the law and the culture that they find there.