Alan Hays, a Republican state senator in Florida, likened Sharia law to a “dreadful disease” requiring vaccination to protect Americans.
The Council on American Islamic Relations, a civil liberties advocacy organization for Muslims, posted a clip Friday of Hays invoking disease prevention when asked to provide an example of a foreign law that had stripped the rights of Americans in United States courts:
When you were a child, did your parents have you vaccinated against different diseases? That was a preemptive gesture on their part for which I would hope you’re very thankful. And this is very similar to that. Your mom and dad would not want you to get sick from one of those dreadful diseases, and I don’t want any American to be in a Florida courtroom and have their constitutional rights violated by any foreign law. That’s it. It’s not that complicated.
Sharia law is the moral and religious code of Islam, practiced by more than 1.62 billion worldwide. There are no known efforts to implement Sharia law in any part of the U.S. judicial system, but a faction of Republican lawmakers have long waged a fight against its alleged infiltration of the government and pushed legislation that would ban its use in multiple states.
Hays is a co-sponsor of one such bill in Florida, which has seen little movement in the state legislature due to the lack of any precedent that would warrant the need to ban Sharia law.
The Republican Party even included a plank in its 2012 platform stating that “there must be no use of foreign law by US courts in interpreting our Constitution and laws,” regarded by many as a thinly veiled reference to Sharia. Such measures have contributed to the deterioration of relations between the GOP and Muslim voters, who were once considered a swing constituency but have overwhelmingly supported Democratic candidates since the 2008 presidential election.