Alabama ‘bans Shariah law’ in move decried by Muslims and liberals
Voters in Alabama passed a ballot measure earlier this week that bans ‘foreign laws’ in the state’s legal system, in a move believed to be motivated by a fear that Shariah (Islamic) law would be considered in court decisions.
Although the new bill, commonly referred to as Amendment One, did not specifically mention Shariah law, it reportedly sprang from an anti-Shariah bill proposed four years ago by Republican State Sen. Gerald Allen.
The first attempt, “Shariah Law Amendment,” was found unconstitutional by the state supreme court in 2011 and was blocked because it limited religious freedoms.
The constitutional amendment was immediately decried by Muslim groups and liberals.
“It is aimed at Islam, that’s what its origination was from,” Ashfaq Taufique, president of the Birmingham Islamic Society, told AL.com. “There is no evidence of Muslims ever asking for Sharia Law to be implemented in American courts. We practice within the law of our country. That’s just fear-mongering.”
“I understand the sentiment behind this, but Sharia law is not going to be implemented in Alabama, it just isn’t,” Dr. Randy Brinson, president of Alabama Christian Coalition, told AL.com . “And this would just be another stigma for Alabama, another way of saying to other countries: ‘We don’t respect your laws.'”
“This is a tremendous waste of effort. It’s is a waste of time and it costs money,” Brinson said.
But Eric Johnson, one of the attorneys who drafted the bill, insisted the bill is “guidance to judges,” is not targeting Islamic law, and has a much wider application including issues with same-sex marriage.