Groups urge veto of anti-Sharia law bill
Topeka ? Muslims gathered at the Statehouse on Friday saying that Kansans have nothing to fear from Sharia law and urged Gov. Sam Brownback to veto a bill that targets the religious principles of Islam.
About 20 Muslims attended a news conference to denounce Senate Bill 79 which would make unenforceable any court decision based on a foreign law or code.
The bill doesn’t mention Sharia law, but during debate several legislators have said that was their concern.
“They stone women to death in countries that have Sharia law,” Sen. Susan Wagle, R-Wichita, said during debate last week. “If you vote to not adopt (the bill), it’s a vote against women,” she said.
The measure sailed through the House, 120-0, and Senate, 33-3.
But Muslim civil rights groups said the legislation, similar to measures introduced in other states, was discriminatory, unconstitutional and meant to demonize American Muslims.
Riyaz M. Lareef, director of outreach of the Kansas City chapter of the Islamic Circle of North America, said, “Muslims understand that the law of this country is the American Constitution.”
Imam Omar Hazim of Topeka said Sharia law wasn’t being forced on anyone and followers of Sharia are good Muslims and good citizens.
“This country was founded on freedom of religion,” he said.
Brownback has not said whether he will sign the bill into law. “As with all legislation approved by the Kansas Legislature and sent to the governor, he will carefully review and consider the bill,” said Brownback’s spokeswoman Sherriene Jones-Sontag.
Groups that have called for Brownback to veto the bill include the Council of American-Islamic Relations, the Islamic Circle of North America and the Muslim American Society.