Topeka The nation’s largest Muslim civil rights organization on Tuesday called on Gov. Sam Brownback to veto a bill that the group described as an attack on Sharia, the religious principles of Islam.
“The public’s action in support of religious freedom is critical to prevent legalized discrimination against Muslims in Kansas and nationwide,” said Nihad Awad, national executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. “This bill and the others like it are based on misinformation and fear-mongering.”
Brownback has not indicated whether he will veto the bill or sign it into law.
The Washington, D.C.-based CAIR said the measure is one of more than 25 “similar pieces of discriminatory and unconstitutional legislation that have been introduced in state legislatures nationwide. These legislative initiatives are promoted by those who seek to marginalize American Muslims and demonize them.”
Senate Bill 79 was approved last week by the Senate, 33-3, and the House, 120-0.
The measure bans Kansas courts and administrative agencies from basing rulings on foreign laws or legal systems.
It doesn’t mention Sharia law, but several senators said that was their concern.
“They stone women to death in countries that have Sharia law,” said Sen. Susan Wagle, R-Wichita. “If you vote to not adopt (the bill), it’s a vote against women.”
But Sen. Tim Owens, R-Overland Park, said the bill was unnecessary because courts already are ruled by United States laws and the U.S. Constitution. He said the bill was based on intolerance and fear and would make people think only those with a Christian, religious-right perspective were welcome in Kansas.
Awad said the legislation could infringe on the right to choose Islamic marriage contracts, implement Islamic wills or to be buried according to one’s religious beliefs. It could also negatively affect the validation of international adoptions and foreign marriages.