Interfaith leaders in Minnesota stood together and held a press conference on 5 March against a Senate bill they say discriminates against Muslims.
The bill prohibits drawing upon fpreign law or Sharia Law in Minnesota Courts. At present, U.S. courts are regularly required to interpret foreign law, including Islamic law.
Iman Makram Elamin said this can include foreign divorces, custody decrees, marriage certificates, Islamic wills, or enforcement of money judgments.
"America has a well-established tradition of allowing religious leaders to mediate disputes so long as the agreements comply with U.S. law. This applies to the Catholic Canon law, Jewish Halakhah, and Islamic Sharia," he said.
Rabbi Amy Eilberg said the legislative is fear-based. "There is no, zero possibility that Sharia or Halakha or Catholic Canon law could be a serious threat to America," she said.
Munazza Humayun, civil rights coordinator for CAIR, says the new "anti-Sharia" bill threatens religious freedom. She says it was written using a template provided by an anti-Islam extremist.
"We are here today to send a clear message that intolerance and a restriction on religious freedom is not a Minnesota value." Humayun said.
Humayun said the language of the bill was crafted by David Yerushalmi. She says Yerushalmi is an anti-Islamic extremist who has in the past taken the position to outlaw the practice of Islam in the U.S.
"In addition, David Yerushalmi has made anti-women, anti-Jewish, anti-African American statements in the past and we are disappointed that a Minnesota legislator is sponsoring a bill," she said.
Humayun said Sharia requires Muslims to obey the law of the land, and she said the bill serves no purpose.
"We challenge the proponents of this bill to cite just one example where anyone's rights have been adversely impacted by the application of foreign law in any Minnesota court or administrative body," she said.
Before the Minnesota bill was even introduced, its author, Republican Dave Thompson pulled it.
"It was never my intent to introduce legislation that was being targeted to any one group," said Thompson.
Muslim groups still say there are similar, unconstitutional anti-Sharia bills that have been introduced in more than 20 states.
Last week, CAIR's national office released a community toolkit designed to assist those seeking to preserve America's ideal of religious pluralism in the face of similar unconstitutional anti-Sharia bills that have been introduced in more than 20 states nationwide.
Susie Jones, "MN Muslims Protest Senate Bill, Claim Discrimination" ABC News March 5, 2012
"CAIR: Minn. Muslim, Interfaith Leaders to Challenge Anti-Islam Bill " Sacramento Bee March 4, 2012
Reproduced with permission from Islam Today