Supporters of an “anti-sharia” bill that’s been sitting in Michigan’s State House Judiciary Committee for over a year are pushing state lawmakers to put the measure to a vote.
If adopted, the bill he introduced would “limit the application and enforcement by a court, arbitrator, or administrative body of foreign laws that would impair constitutional rights.”
House Bill 4769 was introduced by State Rep. Dave Agema (R-Grandville) in June of 2011. Agema, who was chosen to be Michigan’s Republican National Committeeman earlier this year, has a history of making controversial statements about Islam. He has gone on record claiming President Obama is a Muslim and has also linked the faith to violent behavior.
“I disagree that Islam is a religion of peace,” he told Michigan Radio. “Just about every terrorist is a Muslim.”
“I think that’s really undemocratic to bottle it up like that. One should put it on the floor. Let the legislators have a stand up Yes or No vote. And if it fails, it fails,” Irving Ginsburg, a supporter of the bill, told Michigan Radio.
The bill has been opposed by the American Civil Liberties Union of Michigan and the Council on American-Islamic of Michigan (CAIR-MI).
“HB 4769 does nothing to protect our legal institutions but only contributes to the growing climate of fear-mongering against the American Muslim community which marginalizes and cast suspicion upon loyal Americans,” Dawud Walid, Executive Director of CAIR-MI said on his blog.
Sharia is a term meaning Islamic religious law. It’s a moral and legal code that governs things like marriage, business, eating habits and other aspects of life for a devout Muslim.
In the last several years, “anti-sharia” laws have been passed in Arizona, Kansas, Louisana, South Dakota, Tennessee and Oklahoma.
Oklahoma voters passed a state proposal a law similar to Michigan’s House Bill 4769 in 2010. However, that measure was struck down by a federal appeals court because it made a specific reference to sharia law — and would have violated the U.S. Constitution by targeting a particular religion.
Last year Tenessee passed an anti-terrorism law that made the “material support” of Islamic law a crime that could be punished by 15 years in prison. An amended version of the law later removed references to Islam.
In May of this year Kansas governor Sam Brownback signed a law that prevents state courts and agencies from applying foreign laws in their decision-making. That law makes no specific mention of sharia or Islamic law, USA Today reports.