MINNEAPOLIS, March 5, 2012 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Minnesota chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-MN) announced today that a lawmaker in that state's legislature will drop a proposed "anti-Sharia" bill written using a template provided by an anti-Islam extremist.
That announcement came following a news conference CAIR-MN held earlier today with interfaith leaders to challenge the threat to religious freedom posed by the bill. [CAIR Staff Attorney Gadeir Abbas, a national expert on anti-Sharia initiatives in other states, spoke at the news conference via phone from Washington, D.C.]
In announcing his decision to drop the bill, Republican State Senator Dave Thompson said: "It was never my intent to introduce legislation that was being targeted to any one group."
CAIR-MN: MN Muslims Protest Senate Bill, Claim Discrimination (WCCO)
"We thank Senator Thompson for dropping this discriminatory bill and hope his responsible decision sends a message to all those elected officials in other states who are supporting similarly unconstitutional legislation," said CAIR-MN Civil Rights Coordinator Munazza Humayun.
According to media reports, Thompson's anti-Islam bill (S2281) was a "boilerplate copy-pasted verbatim from a far right policy group."
SEE: Dave Thompson Introduces Boilerplate Anti-Sharia Law Bill
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.
SEE: CAIR Releases Community Toolkit to Challenge 'Anti-Sharia' Bills
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-MN recently received the 2011 Mission & Excellence Anti-Racism Award from the Minnesota Council of Nonprofits (MCN) and MAP for Nonprofits. The annual "Mission & Excellence" awards are given to six non-profit organizations that make "outstanding contributions to Minnesota's high quality of life."
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-MN President Lori Saroya, 612-327-6700, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR-MN Civil Rights Coordinator Munazza Humayun, Esq., 763-227-7650, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR Staff Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 720-251-0425; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
SOURCE Council on American-Islamic Relations