Kansas: Legislation has been passed by the lawmakers in the Kansas State of the USA which aimed at disallowing the courts and agencies in the state to make decisions in the light of Islamic laws or other laws which do not belong to the USA.
The legislation has brought in severe criticism by the critics as they see it as an embarrassment to the State of Kansas.
“Shariah Bill” is the name which is popular for the legislation because the main target of the bill’s supporters is perceived as they do not want to see Islamic laws being recognized in the state. “Shariah Bill” legislation was passed in the Senate of the state by an overwhelming majority of 33-3 and it had already been passed in the House without any confrontation by 120-0.
Republican Governor in Kansas, Sam Brownback, has received the bill, however, he has not confirmed so far that he will sign the bill or not.
A supporter of the bill said that the bill is a reassurance to the foreigners in the State of Kansas that laws in the state and the US constitution will protect their rights. An opponent, however, revealed that holding Islam out for ridicule is the real motive behind the bill.
Peggy Mast, who is a representative of Kansas and a lead supporter of the bill for the past two years, said that the bill has been passed for removing all confusions and ensuring that American soil is ruled by the American laws only.
He said, “Research shows that there are more than 50 cases around the United States where courts or government agencies took laws from Shariah or other legal systems into account in decision-making.”
These cases commonly involved divorce, child custody, property division or other cases where the woman was treated unfairly, he added.
Mast, a Republican, commented, "I want people of other cultures, when they come to the United States, to know the freedoms they have in regard to women's and children's rights. An important part of this bill would be to educate them.”
Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee and State Senator, Tim Owens, strongly opposed the bill saying that there was no need for the legislation reaffirming American laws that already exist. The bill was proposed to target only one particular community in the USA, the Muslims, and it is an open discrimination.
He commented, "It's based on fear, it's based on intolerance and it is not based on understanding of the Constitution." He is also a Republican who termed the move as an embarrassment to Kansas.
"People will ask, “How narrow has that state become?” How unwelcoming is this state?" he added.
Owens feared that foreign companies may not be willing to do business in Kansas whose residents object to "anything different than what they think is appropriate."
It is pertinent to mention here that similar kind of legislation is also being considered in around 20 states of the USA.
Spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, Ibrahim Hooper, informed that some state legislatures, including Kansas, have passed laws that do not mention Shariah by name.
"Really, the goal seems to be (to demonize) Islam and (to marginalize) American Muslims. Some (states) have passed these watered-down bills and declared a great victory. It's utter nonsense, but if your goal is to promote intolerance, I guess you won," Hooper said sarcastically.