May 2017 Church & State - May 2016

AU Opposes Anti-Sharia Bills In States

  AU admin

More than a dozen “anti-Sharia” bills have been introduced in the states this year. The bills broadly claim that their intent is to prevent “foreign laws” from being enforced in the United States, but critics, including Americans United, say the bills promote anti-Muslim sentiment.

Montana Gov. Steve Bullock (D) vetoed one of these bills, but versions remained alive in Arkansas and North Dakota as this issue of Church & State went to press.

In a March 30 “Wall of Separation” blog post, AU Assistant Legislative Director Dena Sher argued that not only is Sharia law not a real threat to the U.S., but anti-Sharia laws are a result of anti-Muslim sentiment.

“Discriminatory rhetoric and policies that target people based on their religion are harmful to us all. In truth, an attack on people who follow one faith undermines the protections that apply equally to all of us, no matter our religion or belief,” Sher wrote. “That’s why we are fighting the anti-Sharia bills.”

These bills, Sher notes, are unnecessary since judges already have the power to reject “foreign laws” that clash with U.S. law. Nevertheless, legislators continue to promote these measures. In 2011, a federal court ruling blocked an Oklahoma constitutional amendment banning the consideration of Sharia in courts.

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