The Texas Chapters of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-TX) are calling on all people of conscience in Texas to urge key state committee leaders to oppose any “anti-foreign law” legislation, also known as “anti-Islam” legislation.
Click here to sign our letter or to add your own message.
In the 2013 Texas state legislative session, several “anti-Sharia,” “anti-foreign laws” or “American Laws for American Courts” bills have already been introduce. These bills seek to “prohibit a court of this state from enforcing, considering, or applying a religious or cultural law.” That includes HB 750, sponsored by State Rep. Harvey Hilderbran; HJR 43, sponsored by State Rep. Dan Flynn; and, SB 285, sponsored by State Sen. John Carona.
In the last few years, we have witnessed a trend of state-level support for such legislation. While many public discussions about these bills seek to put a benign face on it, its purpose is to target religious practices of Muslims, similar to past misguided efforts to target Catholics, Jews and other faith minorities in the United States.
Similar “anti-Shariah” and “anti-foreign laws” bills previously considered in Texas, included: HB 911 (Rep. Leo Berman), HB 999 (Rep. Leo Berman), HB 1240 (Rep. Bill Zedler), HB 3027 (Rep. Randy Weber), HJR 57 (Rep. Leo Berman), and HB 79 (Rep. Berman and Hilderbran).
The Troubling Origin of the Legislation
In the past two years, 78 anti-Islam bills or amendments have been introduced in state legislatures nationwide. Of these, 62 contained language that was extracted from Islamophobe David Yerushalmi’s American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) model legislation. Yerushalmi leads the 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 Legislation Wastes Valuable Legislative Time
No religious code can replace U.S. law. Article VI, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution clearly states, “This Constitution … shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby. …” Additionally, the First Amendment prohibits Congress from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.” America has an established tradition of allowing people of faith to make agreements and resolve disputes within the parameters of their religion, as long as any resulting contract complies with U.S. law. Catholic canon law and Jewish Halacha are the most frequently cited examples in the context of the debate surrounding Islamic practices. No national Muslim organization has called for the implementation of foreign law in the United States.
The American Bar Association Opposes Such Legislation
In 2011, the American Bar Association (ABA) passed a resolution opposing ALAC-type legislation noting that it is “duplicative of safeguards that are already enshrined in federal and state law,” and saying, “initiatives that target an entire religion or stigmatize an entire religious community, such as those explicitly aimed at ‘Sharia law,’ are inconsistent with some of the core principles and ideals of American jurisprudence.” The ABA also stated the following:
“Language in these Bills and Amendments dealing with ‘international law’ or ‘foreign and customary law’ is likely to have an unanticipated and widespread negative impact on business, adversely affecting commercial dealings and economic development in the states in which such a law is passed and in U.S. foreign commerce generally.” [Emphasis added.]“Many of the Bills and Amendments would infringe federal constitutional rights, including the free exercise of religion and the freedom of contract, or would conflict with the Supremacy Clause and other clauses of the Constitution.”
- Contact Texas State House and Senate Committee leadership and ask for their vote against any 2013 “anti-foreign law” legislation, also known as “anti-Islam” legislation.
- CAIR TX has provided a letter to which you can add a message of your own or simply fill in your name and address and click “send message.” To send a letter, click here.
For more information, contact: CAIR-Texas (Houston chapter), Phone; 713-838-2247, Email: firstname.lastname@example.org.