Foreign Law Bans: A Threat to All Faiths?
Join us on February 27, 2014
2pm ET - 3pm ET
At Shoulder to Shoulder, we often say that targeting the religious freedom of one community jeopardizes religious freedom for all. Nothing could be truer when it comes to the spread of anti-foreign law legislation in the United States.
Initially drafted as "anti-Shariah legislation," the bills explicitly barred judges from considering Shariah or Islamic law when deciding cases. Explicitly "anti-Shariah" legislation has been found unconstitutional because it so blatantly discriminates against a single faith community. As such, most of the bills now leave out the term Shariah and bar "foreign" law, instead. Seven states have passed foreign law bills since 2010.
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Such legislation not only continues to be discriminatory, but also poses problems to the everyday lives of all religious communities. Marriages, wills, divorces, and even conflict mediation are civil agreements that can be influenced by religious principles. Most religious laws that influence these contracts (like Jewish Halakha, Catholic Canon law, or Islamic Shariah law), were not developed within the United States and would be considered foreign law under such legislation. While anti-Muslim sentiment is still the motivating factor behind these laws, Americans of every faith should be concerned about their impact on religious freedom.
Click here to join us on February 27 for a conversation about how your community can challenge state anti-foreign law legislation.