Florida: anti-sharia bill dies in Senate

A bill that would have banned Islamic, or Sharia Law, along with other foreign laws from being applied in state courts died in the legislature Friday.

Senate President Don Gaetz on Friday declared the bill (HB 351) “resolved” after its sponsor decided not to ask for the unanimous vote required to move the bill forward. It had failed a previous procedural vote on Thursday. The House approved the legislation on a 79-39 vote last month.

The bill is similar in scope to bills in a handful of other states. The push for the bills began a few years ago when extremist wings of political parties began to spread the word that Sharia Law could be creeping into the United States.

The theory has been pushed by Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann and others. Bachmann has repeatedly said in the past that President Barack Obama wants to institute Sharia Law in the United States, even though President Obama isn’t Muslim.

Florida’s law doesn’t mention a specific set of foreign laws and instead targets foreign laws in general. But the need for such a law doesn’t seem to be needed, according to the Florida Bar Association. No case could be found where a Florida court applied foreign law. It led critics to call the foreign law ban a solution to a “phantom menace.”

According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, six states have similar laws: Arizona, South Dakota, Kansas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Oklahoma. The group sued in Oklahoma – where the law specifically mentioned Shariah – and that law was suspended.

The bill was written based on draft legislation put together by Arizona attorney David Yerushalmi, who is trying to get Sharia outlawed across the U.S.

The Southern Poverty Law Center lists Yerushalmi’s ideology as “anti-Muslim” and said besides his problems with Muslims, he “also rails against liberal Jews and the “progressive elites” he says they influence. He’s described blacks as “the most murderous of peoples” and reportedly once called for undocumented immigrants to be placed in “special criminal camps,” detained for three years, and then deported.”

CBS Miami, 3 May 2013

See also “Tampa Bay Times largely ignores anti-Muslim extremist’s influence on anti-sharia bill”, Media Matters, 2 May 2013

And “Good news: anti-Islam bill dies in Florida Senate”, CAIR press release, 3 May 2013