Kansas governor signs bill effectively banning Islamic law
May 25, 2012
KANSAS CITY, Kansas (Reuters) – Republican Kansas Governor Sam Brownback signed a bill aimed at keeping state courts and agencies from using Islamic or other non-U.S. laws when making decisions, his office said on Friday, drawing criticism from a national Muslim group.
Legislators supporting the bill said there were many cases around the country where judges or state agencies cited sharia law in deciding cases, especially involving divorce-related custody and property matters where Islamic code differs from U.S. law.
The Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington denounced the Kansas law and said it is considering legal action.
About 20 states have considered similar legislation but the Kansas law is the only one signed in recent weeks, council spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said.
“It’s unfortunate the governor chose to pander to the growing Islam-phobia in our society that has led to introduction of similar unconstitutional and un-American legislation in dozens of state legislatures,” Hooper said.
Hooper said legislators have often referred to sharia law in supporting such legislation, but he said they take the word out of the bill to stave off legal challenges. The Kansas bill does not mention sharia.
Federal courts struck down an Oklahoma law voters approved in 2010 that barred state judges from considering sharia law in making decisions. The court called the law discriminatory.
(Editing by Greg McCune and Stacey Joyce)
Copyright © 2012, Reuters
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