LANSING, Mich. (WWJ/AP) – Legislation that would restrict state courts from enforcing foreign laws has been introduced in Michigan.
The bill proposed Thursday doesn’t mention Sharia law that’s used in some parts of the Islamic world, but says judges can’t apply foreign laws if doing so would violate state or federal constitutional rights.
Sharia is an Islamic penal code, based on religious beliefs that dictate prayers, diet and fasting. Punishments include chopping off the hands of thieves, stoning adulterers, and killing those who deny Allah.
If enacted, House Bill 4499 would “limit the application and enforcement by a court, arbitrator, or administrative body of foreign laws that would impair constitutional rights; to provide for modification or voiding of certain contractual provisions or agreements that would result in a violation of constitutional rights; and to require a court, arbitrator, or administrative body to take certain actions to prevent violation of constitutional rights,” and would apply “only to actual or foreseeable violations of the constitutional rights of a person caused by the 16 application of the foreign law.” [Read more].
The sponsor, Republican Rep. Michele Hoitenga of Manton, said in an email to House members this week that a Detroit-area doctor recently charged with performing genital mutilation on two young girls was “essentially practicing a fundamentalist version of Sharia law,” according to MLive.com.
Although it is noted that female genital mutilation is often performed for religious or cultural reasons, Sharia law is not mentioned in the criminal complaint against Dr. Jumana Nagarwala of Northville.
Dawud Walid with the Council on American-Islamic Relations’ Michigan chapter says the bill is unconstitutional and “contrary to our nation’s values of not elevating or marginalizing one faith or community over another.”
If passed by the legislature and signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, the act would take effect 90 days after the date it is enacted into law.
Michigan, more specifically the Detroit area, has one of the nation’s largest Muslim populations — with concentrations in Dearborn and Hamtrack, the latter of which boasts the first majority Muslim City Council in the U.S.
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