15 states looking at Sharia 'threat'.
Proposed legislation making it illegal to consider Sharia law is being discussed in at least 15 states across the United States United States, officially United States of America, republic (2005 est. pop. 295,734,000), 3,539,227 sq mi (9,166,598 sq km), North America. The United States is the world's third largest country in population and the fourth largest country in area. .
According to according to
1. As stated or indicated by; on the authority of: according to historians.
2. In keeping with: according to instructions.
3. information given to the Iran Times by the National Conference of State Legislatures, about a third of the states are currently debating or have recently debated legislation that would make it illegal to take into consideration foreign law, including Islamic Sharia law.
The states are: Alaska, Arkansas, Arizona, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, New Mexico New Mexico, state in the SW United States. At its northwestern corner are the so-called Four Corners, where Colorado, New Mexico, Arizona, and Utah meet at right angles; New Mexico is also bordered by Oklahoma (NE), Texas (E, S), and Mexico (S). , Oklahoma, South Carolina South Carolina, state of the SE United States. It is bordered by North Carolina (N), the Atlantic Ocean (SE), and Georgia (SW). Facts and Figures
Area, 31,055 sq mi (80,432 sq km). Pop. (2000) 4,012,012, a 15. , South Dakota South Dakota (dəkō`tə), state in the N central United States. It is bordered by North Dakota (N), Minnesota and Iowa (E), Nebraska (S), and Wyoming and Montana (W). , Texas and Wyoming.
The fact that a Sharia bill has been introduced in a state legislature A state legislature may refer to a legislative branch or body of a political subdivision in a federal system.
The following legislatures exist in the following political subdivisions:
In New Mexico, a Roswell state senator Noun 1. state senator - a member of a state senate
senator - a member of a senate is now seeking a constitutional amendment aimed at banning the use of Islamic law in that state's courts. The Senate joint resolution proposed by State Senator Rod Adair, a Republican, would prohibit state judges from considering or applying Sharia or laws of other nations or cultures in their decisions.
The text reads: "The courts shall not consider or apply Sharia law" and "the courts shall not consider or apply a rule of comity Courtesy; respect; a disposition to perform some official act out of goodwill and tradition rather than obligation or law. The acceptance or Adoption of decisions or laws by a court of another jurisdiction, either foreign or domestic, based on public policy rather than legal to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures, international law, laws promulgated by foreign governments or national laws of foreign countries."
In Oklahoma, where this "down with Sharia" trend began, House Bill 1552 banning the use of foreign and Sharia law in Oklahoma courts passed the state's House of Representatives with bipartisan support March 18. The bill, which passed on a vote of 76-3, now goes to the state Senate for consideration.
The bill says any court action will be "void and unenforceable" if the court ruling is based "on any law, rule, legal code or system that would not grant the parties affected by the ruling or decision the same fundamental liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the United States and Oklahoma Constitutions."
Republican State Rep. Sally Kern explained that her bill ensures that only US law will be considered in Oklahoma state courts.
A state constitutional amendment, which barred the use of foreign law and specifically Sharia law in Oklahoma courts, passed with 70 percent of the vote last November. But that amendment has been put on hold by a judge who will be hearing a case contending that the state constitutional amendment violates the US Constitution.
The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) is an advocacy group for Muslims in North America; its professed goals are to "enhanc[e] understanding of Islam, promot[e] justice and empower American Muslims. (CAIR-OK) charged that Kern's bill was an effort to circumvent the court.
"Representative Kern has presented HB 1552 as an attempt to re-invent the anti-Sharia amendment introduced in last year's elections," said CAIR-OK Executive Director Muneer Awad, adding, "At a time when our economy and job creation should be our legislature's top priority, Representative Kern has made it her priority to promote an anti-Muslim amendment to ban religious laws in Oklahoma and threaten international contracts for Oklahoma businesses."
But it isn't clear that the Kern bill would actually do anything. It appears to say only that no Oklahoma court can take away any citizen's rights as granted by the federal and state constitutions--but that is already constitutional law.
Awad said Kern's bill was written by the Washington-based Center for Security Policy. According to CAIR CAIR Council on American-Islamic Relations
CAIR Clean Air Interstate Rule (EPA)
CAIR Center for AIDS Intervention Research
CAIR Changing Attitudes in Recovery
CAIR California Association for Institutional Research , David Yerushalmi--the staff attorney for that group--is associated with similar anti-Sharia bills being considered in several other state legislatures. CAIR said Yerushalmi is also head of the anti-Islam group Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE).
According to CAIR, the SANE website--which is now accessible by membership only--offered a policy proposal that would make "adherence to Islam" punishable by 20 years in prison, called for the immediate deportation of all non-citizen Muslims and urged Congress to declare war on the "Muslim Nation," which SANE defined as "all Muslims."
CAIR wrote that SANE's mission statement included white supremacist language such as: "America was the handiwork of faithful Christians, mostly men, and almost entirely white." An online SANE article says: "There is a reason the founding fathers did not give women or black slaves the right to vote."
Other states are also considering anti-Sharia legislation, though no state other than Oklahoma has enacted any such legislation.
In Florida, State Senator Alan Hays and Representative Larry Metz, both Republicans, are bent on ensuring that Florida courts aren't influenced by Sharia law.
"I filed a bill that says in the courts of Florida the laws of no other country can be used to influence the decisions of Florida," Hays told the St. Petersburg Times
The St. Petersburg Times is a daily newspaper based in St. Petersburg, Florida, that serves the larger Tampa Bay area. . "If it's Sharia law or any other law--I don't care what law it is--if it's not a Florida law and if it's some foreign law, it doesn't belong in our courts."
In an interview with the St. Petersburg Times, neither could name a single case in which international law or Islamic law had arisen in a Florida court.
Critics of such bills say they are grounded in anti-Muslim bias. As a practical matter, the critics say, it is legislation chasing a chimera as foreign laws cannot bind a US court. Foreign laws are sometimes cited for reference, as when a court is considering a family law issue involving a couple from another culture. American law is controlling. But often American law allows a judge broad discretion, and, where it does, a judge may look at the customs where the family grew up.
The Florida bill against Sharia was largely copied from "model legislation" posted on the website of a group called the American Public Policy Alliance. "American Laws for American Courts was crafted to protect American citizens' constitutional rights against the infiltration and incursion in·cur·sion
1. An aggressive entrance into foreign territory; a raid or invasion.
2. The act of entering another's territory or domain.
3. of foreign laws and foreign legal doctrines, especially Islamic Sharia Law," the group's website says.
In Missouri, Republican Representatives Paul Curtman and Don Wells have sponsored legislation against Sharia, even though both agreed that there is no evidence that state courts are using foreign or Islamic law to decide cases. But despite that, Wells believes the measure is necessary because he thinks an oppressive and violent Islamic legal system is spreading globally. His legislation, he says, is aimed at protecting the people of Missouri.
The state constitutional amendment sponsored by Wells stipulates that the state's courts "shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures" and prohibits judicial consideration of Sharia law. Wells introduced the bill in February with 106 co-sponsors, 66 percent of the state House.
"Right now in the world, there is a big push for international law or Sharia law to be practiced and accepted," Wells said. He didn't explain how he drew that conclusion.
Jamilah Nasheed, a St. Louis Democrat who is Muslim, told The Kansas City Star, "This is an attack on Islam and clearly an Islamophobia bill. It's a bill that's being pushed by ignorant people that know nothing about Islam."
Dale Whitman, a professor emeritus and former dean of the University of Missouri School of Law, told The Kansas City Star, "It just isn't a very realistic thing to say" that courts cannot consider foreign law. "Honestly, I can't figure out any rational reason to adopt such a statute."