150 gather near Michigan Capitol to support anti-sharia bills

LANSING, Mich. — Supporters pushing measures that would ban implementation of foreign laws are trying to get the bills through the Michigan Legislature, a move they hope will curtail Islamic Sharia law in the U.S.

About 150 people gathered Thursday near the state Capitol to hear advocates for House and Senate bills modeled after a proposal dubbed “American Laws for American Courts” and written for a group called the American Public Policy Alliance. Similar legislation has been proposed in about two dozen states and approved in three.

The Michigan bills don’t specifically mention Sharia law, which broadly refers to codes within the Islamic legal system. But Sharia was frequently cited as a concern by speakers and others at Thursday’s event.

“We’re in a battle for the very conscience of this nation,” said William Wagner, a constitutional law professor at Cooley Law School in Lansing. “(This legislation) is a very small but important step.”

The House version of the bill is sitting in committee and its sponsor, Grandville Republican Dave Agema, urged those gathered near the Capitol to call on his fellow lawmakers to move the measure forward.

Richard Thompson, former Oakland County prosecutor who now serves as president and chief counsel for the Ann Arbor-based Thomas More Law Center, a Christian legal advocacy group, thanked Agema and others for their work on the legislation.

However, he criticized Republican Gov. Rick Snyder for his involvement in events such as the Michigan Muslim Capitol Day last year. “He took enough time to learn the greeting in Arabic,” Thompson said. “This year, he’ll probably have his wife dress up in a hijab.”

MLive, 11 May 2012