Florida mulls outlawing Shariah, other foreign law

by
March 4, 2012

By Matt Sedensky-Associated Press

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla. — A measure to ban the use of foreign laws in domestic courtrooms is progressing in Florida’s statehouse, one of dozens of similar efforts across the country that critics call an unwarranted campaign driven by fear of Muslims.

Forty such bills are being pursued in 24 states, according to a tally by the National Conference of State Legislatures, a movement opponents call a response to a made-up threat of Shariah law, the Islamic legal code that covers many areas of life. Backers of the bills say they fill a glaring hole in legal protections for Americans.

“There have been all sorts of wild accusations about what this bill does,” said Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, who sponsored the Senate bill in Florida. “This is very clear, very simple: In American courts we need American laws and no other.”

The Florida measure passed the House on Thursday 92-24. It awaits a full vote in the Senate.

If passed, Florida would join three other states — Louisiana, Arizona and Tennessee — in approving legislation curtailing the use of foreign laws. An Oklahoma ballot measure got 70 percent approval, but it goes a step further in specifically mentioning Sharia, the Islamic system of law. A federal court has blocked the measure’s implementation until its constitutionality is determined.

The twin House and Senate bills in Florida make no mention of Shariah law or any other specific foreign system. The language of the legislation, in fact, seems innocuous, outlawing the use of foreign law only when it violates rights guaranteed by the U.S. Constitution, and only in certain domestic situations, such as divorces and child custody cases. It does not apply to businesses and says it shouldn’t be construed to prohibit any religious organization from making judgments in “ecclesiastical matters.”

But that’s done little to quiet critics who see such legislation as right-wing fear mongering.

To read more, visit: http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2012/mar/2/florida-mulls-outlawing-shariah-other-foreign-law/

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