WASHINGTON, May 15, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today called on Muslims and all other Americans who value civil liberties to contact Kansas Governor Sam Brownback to ask that he not sign a bill (House Substitute for Senate Bill 79), the sponsors of which admit is designed to attack Sharia, the religious principles of Islam.
On May 11, the Kansas Senate approved Senate Bill 79 by a vote of 33-4, sending it to the governor's desk for approval. The bill 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 Islam.
SEE: Summary of Bans on Court Use of Sharia/International Law
Kansas Legislature Does Harm in Barring Islamic Law
SEE ALSO: CAIR-MI -- Anti-Shariah Law Push Could Hurt Michigan's Tolerant Image
Governor Brownback has not stated whether he will sign the bill.
SEE: Kansas Anti-Sharia Bill, SB 79
CAIR: Kansas lawmakers pass anti-Islamic law measure (AP)
CAIR: Kansas Lawmakers Pass Effective Ban on Islamic Law (Reuters)
"The public's action in support of religious freedom is critical to prevent legalized discrimination against Muslims in Kansas and nationwide," said CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad. "This bill and the others like it are based on misinformation and fear-mongering."
He added that the legislation could infringe on the constitutionally-protected right to choose Islamic marriage contracts, implement Islamic wills or to be buried according to one's religious beliefs. It could also negatively impact the validation of international adoptions and foreign marriages.
Awad said supporters of the bill have attempted to mask its true intent by endorsing the measure as a women's rights issue, but their repeated use of Islamophobic rhetoric demonstrates their true intent.
"I find Sharia law to take away all the rights of women," said bill supporter Sen. Susan Wagle, a Wichita Republican. "They stone women to death in countries that have Sharia law, they (women) have no rights in court, female children are treated brutally."
While supporters of the bill note that it does not address Islam or Sharia, Sen. Chris Steineger, a Kansas City Republican said: "[T]his was not presented as protecting the Kansas Constitution. The proponents of this measure, clearly by the literature they gave me and by the video link they directed me to, they presented this as protecting us against Sharia law. Despite the fact that this doesn't mention Sharia, that's how this whole issue was presented."
Senator Tim Owens, an Overland Park Republican and Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee issued an apology for supporting and passing the bill. "This is one where I made some mistakes; the first one was signing the conference report," said Chairman Owens. "I believe this bill is unconstitutional (and) intolerant."
CAIR recently released a community toolkit designed to assist those seeking to preserve America's ideal of religious pluralism in the face of the unconstitutional anti-Sharia campaign.
CAIR's toolkit includes background on David Yerushalmi, the anti-Islam extremist who authored the template for the anti-Sharia bills.
Yerushalmi is head of the anti-Islam hate group Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE), which once offered a policy proposal that would make "adherence to Islam" punishable by 20 years in prison, called for the immediate deportation of all non-citizen Muslims and urged Congress to declare war on the "Muslim Nation," which SANE defined as "all Muslims." The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) named Yerushalmi a member of the "anti-Muslim inner circle."
Links to Background Information on David Yerushalmi:
David Yerushalmi: A Driving Force Behind Anti-Sharia Efforts in the U.S.
Meet the White Supremacist Leading the GOP's Anti-Sharia Crusade
The Man Behind the Anti-Shariah Movement (NY Times)
Anti-Islam Activist Yerushalmi Measures Imams' Beards
Profile of Anti-Sharia Extremist David Yerushalmi
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.
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CONTACT: CAIR National Legislative Director Corey Saylor, 202-384-8857, E-Mail: [email protected]; CAIR Government Affairs Coordinator Robert McCaw, 202-742-6448, E-Mail: [email protected]; CAIR Staff Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 720-251-0425, E-Mail: [email protected]; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: [email protected]
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations