The Idaho House on Tuesday approved North Idaho Rep. Eric Redman’s anti-Sharia law bill by a nearly two-to-one margin, the furthest Redman has gotten with his proposal in three years of trying.
Idaho Spokesman The bill, which passed on a 44-24 vote, would declare void any court ruling that relies “in whole or in part on any foreign law” that doesn’t match U.S. or Idaho protections for due process, freedom of religion, speech, press, privacy or marriage. It doesn’t specifically mention Islamic Sharia law, but that’s been the focus of debate over Redman’s proposal.
Redman, R-Athol, told the House that while no Idaho judge has made a decision based on foreign laws, it could happen. “We dare not wait to install the smoke detector after the fire,” he said, adding that there have been “multiple instances” in other states in which judges based their rulings on foreign laws. See: Shariah in American Courts: The Expanding Incursion of Islamic Law in the U.S. Legal System
At an earlier committee hearing, Redman shared stories of atrocities in other countries he attributed to Sharia law; Muslim citizens of Idaho told the committee that’s not how they practice their religion (only because they are not allowed to in Idaho)
Tuesday’s vote sends the bill to the Senate, where it would need to clear a Senate committee, pass the full Senate, and receive the governor’s signature to become law.
When House Minority Leader Mat Erpelding, D-Boise, asked Redman for an example of a case in which a U.S. judge has based a ruling on foreign law, he cited a New Jersey case in which he said a judge refused to grant an abused wife a protection order because, following testimony from the husband’s imam, the judge ruled that the husband was merely acting according to his religious beliefs that he had a religious right to have sex with his wife whenever he wanted.
Fears over sharia law and Muslim culture have been a growing theme in Idaho, starting with a former Muslim turned Christian pastor (below) who met with a dozen lawmakers in the Idaho Capitol last year to call for limiting Islamic immigration and blocking refugees from settling in the state.