Calling the bill an “Atrocious Amendment,” Americans United for Separation of Church & State’ says, “We object to anti-Sharia bills because they’re unnecessary, their provisions are overly broad, and they unfairly target the nation’s Muslim communities. And that violates the First Amendment.”
AU Next month, Alabama voters will have an opportunity to weigh in on Amendment One, which would add a provision to the state constitution that ostensibly attempts to ban Islamic, or Sharia, law. It’s hardly the first bill of its kind. Last year, state legislatures in Florida, Missouri, North Carolina and Oklahoma debated similar measures; Missouri’s bill never made it past the governor’s desk. In the other states, the bills were limited to family law.
Alabama’s bill goes a bit further. If enacted, it would require the state’s courts to avoid enforcing or applying rulings from other courts if those rulings are based on foreign law. That could affect contractual obligations from foreign courts (a more than occasional occurrence in international business dealings).
And the bill’s reasoning appears sound. “The public policy of this state is to protect its citizens from the application of foreign laws when the application of a foreign law will result in the violation of a right guaranteed by the Alabama Constitution or of the United States Constitution, including, but not limited to, due process, freedom of religion, speech, assembly, or press, or any right of privacy or marriage,” it asserts.
The amendment’s text never explicitly references Sharia, but as the Greene County Democrat reports, it’s merely the latest incarnation of anti-Sharia legislation in the state. It’s also the brainchild of State Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa), who sponsored the original, failed version of the bill in 2011. Last month, Allen received a national security award from ACT! for America, an anti-Islam group founded by Brigitte Gabriel.
At Americans United, we are often asked why we don’t support these bills. The answer is always the same: Because there isn’t a real threat that our courts or legislatures are implementing Sharia law. We have yet to receive a report about a Muslim community or Muslim elected official attempting to legislate based on Sharia principles. If we did, we’d take action. We do, however, receive many reports about fundamentalist Christians doing exactly that.
Obviously, they haven’t seen these:
50 Cases in 23 states in which which Shariah-based legal conventions or decisions were brought to bear upon the case