Detroit News —Opposition is mounting among Muslims against pending legislation that would ban Michigan courts from considering “foreign laws” — including Sharia, or Islamic law.
Muslim and community leaders gathered Tuesday in Midtown to denounce legislation from state Rep. Dave Agema, R-Grandville, as divisive, unnecessary and mean-spirited.
“This plan goes against our country’s core values of accepting people from all races and walks of life,” said state Rep. Rashida Tlaib, D-Detroit, who is Muslim. “We simply cannot move forward with this plan.
“It’s racism at its core.”
Similar measures are under consideration in 25 other state legislatures, and supporters say the protections are needed. The Michigan bill doesn’t mention Sharia, but watchdog groups say they’ve identified 50 cases nationwide that could be influenced by the religious rules. Most involved divorce or child custody.
Another sponsor of the Michigan bill, Rep. Martin Knollenberg, R-Troy, said the legislation is necessary because “we shouldn’t allow other laws to usurp the state constitution.”
He scoffed at critics who called the bill racist: “Where does it say (in the bill) it’s anti-Muslim?”
Agema last week called the accusations of bigotry “hogwash.”
A House committee has yet to take up discussion of the bill. The Council of American-Islamic Relations’ Michigan chapter announced Tuesday it would sue if it becomes law. Gov. Rick Snyder’s office hasn’t done an analysis of the measure, said his spokeswoman, Geralyn Lasher.
“We don’t know if this is an issue taking place or whether there is a need” for a law, she said.
The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee of Muslims encouraged it Islamic members Tuesday to contact their state representatives and urge them to oppose the bill and allow Muslims law to prevail in the United States.