Penn. Interfaith Leaders to Challenge Anti-Sharia Bill

(PHILADELPHIA, PA 12/12/11) — On Wednesday, December 14, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) — along with interfaith leaders — will hold a news conference in Philadelphia to challenge “unconstitutional and un-American” legislation moving through the Pennsylvania legislature that sponsors say targets Islamic principles, or “Sharia.”

WHAT: Penn. Interfaith leaders to Challenge Anti-Sharia Bill
WHEN: Wednesday, December 14, Noon (Eastern)
WHERE: 9th Floor, 1218 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia, PA 19107


Today’s Pittsburgh Post-Gazette outlines interfaith opposition to House Bill 2029, which would ban courts from considering any “foreign legal code or system” that doesn’t grant the same basic rights as the federal and state constitutions.

The newspaper quotes CAIR Staff Attorney Gadeir Abbas who said: “The real purpose of this bill is to provide a forum for Islamophobic bigots to come to the state assembly hearing and say nasty things about Muslims.”

SEE: Proposed State Law Draws Religious Criticism (Post-Gazette)

In a memo to all House members, Rep. RoseMarie Swanger falsely claimed that Sharia is “inherently hostile to our constitutional liberties.”

SEE: American and Pennsylvania Laws for Pennsylvania Courts — Shariah Law (pdf)

CAIR-Philadelphia Executive Director Moein Khawaja said: “Sharia is simply principles and guidelines which observant Muslims live by. It is in no way hostile or contrary to the Constitution. We hope the sponsors of the bill are open to learning and understanding how the bill may infringe on the First Amendment rights of people of all faiths in Pennsylvania.”

He noted that the proposed Pennsylvania legislation is just one of more than 20 similar bills that have been introduced in state legislatures nationwide in the past year.

Even last night’s episode of The Simpsons mocked the conspiracy theories about “creeping Sharia” in America.

Video: Simpsons Episode Mocks Anti-Sharia Hysteria

A 2010 lawsuit filed by the head of CAIR’s Oklahoma office blocked implementation of a state constitutional amendment that would have prohibited courts from applying – or even considering – what it broadly described as Islamic “Sharia law” and “international law.”

The anti-Sharia bill was drafted by anti-Islam activist David Yerushalmi. Yerushalmi is head of the anti-Islam hate group Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE), which on its now password-protected website 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.”

SEE: A SANE Act to Deal with the Islamic Threat to America’s National Existence (SADITANE) (pdf)
Meet the White Supremacist Leading the GOP’s Anti-Sharia Crusade

The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) recently noted that Yerushalmi has “a record of anti-Muslim, anti-immigrant and anti-black bigotry.”

David Yerushalmi: A Driving Force Behind Anti-Sharia Efforts in the U.S.

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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