By an overwhelming 72-28 margin, voters in Alabama voted on Tuesday to ban Sharia law and other “foreign laws” in the state’s courts. The state constitutional amendment was criticized as an attack on Muslims by some Islamic groups.
In a press release, Alabama Lt. Gov. Kay Ivey provides a summary of the amendment:
Called “The American and Alabama Laws for Alabama Courts Amendment,” Amendment 1 relates to the application of foreign law during the legal process involving an Alabama citizen. Foreign law refers to the laws of other countries or cultures. Currently, judges or other legal authorities discern whether foreign law is applied. Amendment 1 would create constitutional protection that foreign law is not applied if it violates the guaranteed rights of Alabama citizens.
The amendment was reportedly written by Birmingham attorney Eric Johnston for Alabama Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa). He said he “put in about three years of work into it” and argued it was not meant to target Muslims.
"Your constitutional rights are not affected by it. We've got a religious freedom amendment in Alabama,” Johnston told AL.com. “All it says is pay attention to the religious freedom amendment. Women's rights are compromised by Sharia rights if a lawyer in a custody case says, 'Islam requires you to do this.' It's a help to judges. It doesn't create any new laws."
Ashfaq Taufique, president of the Birmingham Islamic Society, previously claimed that the amendment “started as an anti-Sharia bill a few years ago.”
"It is aimed at Islam, that's what its origination was from,” he added. “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."
Johnston maintained that the amendment “deals with a whole lot more than Sharia law.” Still, he also said Sharia law "violates women's rights" and "is a problem for women."
(H/T: Mad World News)