Kansas Law vs Islamic Law

Jodi - posted on 05/12/2012 ( 14 moms have responded )





"KANSAS CITY, Kansas (Reuters) - Kansas lawmakers have passed legislation intended to prevent the state courts or agencies from using Islamic or other non-U.S. laws in making decisions, a measure critics have blasted as an embarrassment to the state.

The legislation, which passed 33-3 in the state Senate on Friday and 120-0 previously in the House, is widely known in Kansas as the "Sharia bill," because the perceived goal of supporters is to keep Islamic code from being recognized in Kansas.

The bill was sent to Republican Governor Sam Brownback, who has not indicated whether he will sign it.

In interviews on Saturday, a supporter of the bill said it reassured foreigners in Kansas that state laws and the U.S. Constitution will protect them. But an opponent said the bill's real purpose is to hold Islam out for ridicule.

Kansas Representative Peggy Mast, a lead sponsor of the bill for the past two years, said the goal was to make sure there was no confusion that American laws prevailed on American soil.

Mast said research showed more than 50 cases around the United States where courts or government agencies took laws from Sharia or other legal systems into account in decision-making.

Commonly, they involved divorce, child custody, property division or other cases where the woman was treated unfairly, Mast said.

"I want people of other cultures, when they come to the United States, to know the freedoms they have in regard to women's and children's rights," said Mast, a Republican. "An important part of this bill would be to educate them."

State Senator Tim Owens, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, said there was no need for legislation reaffirming American laws that already exist. All the proposed legislation does, he said, was target one particular group - Muslims - for discrimination.


"It's based on fear, it's based on intolerance and it is not based on understanding of the Constitution," said Owens, a Republican, who said the measure is an embarrassment to Kansas.

"People will ask, 'How narrow has that state become?'" Owens said. "How unwelcoming is this state?"

He said non-U.S. companies may be unwilling to do business in a state whose residents object to "anything different than what they think is appropriate."

Roughly 20 states have considered legislation similar to what has passed in Kansas, said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington. Some state legislatures, including Kansas, have passed laws that do not mention Sharia by name, he said.

Hooper said there was a movement by conservative-leaning state legislatures to introduce anti-Islam bills that have no legal foundation.

"Really, the goal seems to be (to demonize) Islam and (to marginalize) American Muslims," Hooper said. "Some (states) have passed these watered-down bills and declared a great victory. It's utter nonsense, but if your goal is to promote intolerance, I guess you won."

After Oklahoma voters approved a law in 2010 barring state judges from considering Sharia law specifically in making decisions, federal courts granted an injunction preventing the law from taking effect.

A three-judge panel of the U.S. 10th Circuit Court of Appeals in Denver upheld the injunction, ruling the law unfairly discriminated against a particular religion.

Sharia, or Islamic law, covers all aspects of Muslim life including religious obligations and financial dealings, and opponents of state bans say they could nullify wills or legal contracts between Muslims.

A report earlier this year showed that nearly a third of Americans believed American Muslims want to establish Sharia law in the United States.

The same report, by the Brookings Institution and the Public Religion Research Institute, showed 88 percent of Americans acknowledged knowing little about Muslim beliefs."

I have to admit, I kind of think it's a good idea. I mean, if you're going to live in America, you should abide by American law, it's there to protect all Americans, not just those of certain ethnicities, races, genders etc etc. But, I can see the other side too, so I'm just not sure!


Mary - posted on 05/13/2012




I would be in favor of this if this mindset were applied to ALL religions across the board. Islamic laws and beliefs should be afforded the same consideration as those of Christian, Jewish, Hindu, or whatever faiths. To be clear: when it comes to legal issues, that means none.

However, the US has had a lot of uproar lately over passing other legislation that Christians believe goes against or offends their faith. Contraception coverage, abortion, same-sex marriage...all of these topics have been hugely controversial because of how certain religious leaders see them in light of their "faith".

I'm not against discounting Sharia law when it comes to judges or legislators making decisions; I'm actually all for it. I just want the same to be said for discounting other beliefs when it comes to things like healthcare coverage or marital rights.

[deleted account]

Sharia law is not benign and I speak from the position of one who made a dedicated study of Islam many years ago with the intention of converting to the faith.

Any religious law that tries to supercede the laws of the land should be utterly disregarded.

Stifler's - posted on 05/14/2012




I think they should have made it all religions not just Sharia law. Religion should have nothing to do with the law. I don't care what religion anyone is but don't try to make everyone live by the rules of your religion.

Tracey - posted on 05/15/2012




Using religion in defence & sentencing is used over here. Recently a group of islamic teens who assaulted a white girl were given a much reduced punishment because they were unused to alcohol which is banned in their religion and the judge felt they were not in full control of their actions.

Religion should have no part in law otherwise I will invent a religion that states I am allowed to steal from anyone who has something I want, kill anyone who disagrees with me and not pay taxes, and I cannot be punished for it.

As a visitor to a country it is my responsibility to behave in an acceptable way and if I am unsure if an activity is illegal it is my job to find out before starting it.

Kimberly - posted on 05/13/2012




I totally agree I moved from Canada to Australia to live with my now husband and there are lots of laws and rules that are different to back home, but I made a CHOICE to live HERE so its my job to also follow the Australian laws. I realize that different countries have different customs and laws and thats great but dont move to a country because you dont want to live in your own then start trying to change things here that suit you better or are more like back home. If you want to live in our country then respect our way of life if you want it to be the exact same as back home then do just that go back home.


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Erin - posted on 06/06/2012




FANTASTIC! This is a nation of laws for all people based on the Constitution not on laws of foriegn religions. NO person should have the right to have a different court of law for them just because they believe in a certain religion. In addition I'll be d*** if I am gonna stand for Sharia law in my country where women would be at the mercy of abuse and murder and rape from their husbands and religious leaders in a country that has banned such outrageous practices against women. The only reason any person would want Sharia law is if they wanted to molest, murder, rape, abuse or control their wife against her will.

Tracie - posted on 05/17/2012




Laws from any religion have no place in our secular courts. That's why parents who practice faith healing and wind up killing their kids to to jail. That's why things like animal sacrifice and polygamy are illegal. Secular law trumps religious law in all things. This is already the case, so I feel this law was unnecessary and redundant.

Kelina - posted on 05/14/2012




If you notice in the first line it does say islamic OR other non-US laws in making decisions. My guess would be that islamic is just the most different. Or the most commonly quoted when trying to get out of something. I think it's redundant but a good reminder that if you're living somewhere you abide by their rules. On a smaller scale, I don't really care what you're used to at home, but when you come into my house you're under my rules-simple as that. And my friends kids know it. Why shouldn't the same rule apply to our laws?

Elfrieda - posted on 05/14/2012




I think it's unnecessary at best, and nasty xenophobic rhetoric at worst. Of course the judges will rule according to American laws, they're IN KANSAS! There's no need to have all this hoopla over something that is not actually a problem to begin with. The most I can see happening is the judge saying, "Oh, you're used to thinking of it this way? Hmm, well, since you didn't realize, I won't give you the harshest penalty." But I doubt that would happen much anyway.

Sally - posted on 05/13/2012




If you chose to live in my country then you should live with the same laws as me. Its as simple as that as far as im concerned. You do not get to pick the bits you like i.e health care,benefits etc and dis-regard the parts you don't.

Jenny - posted on 05/12/2012




I think that if they (Islams for example) have disagreements between themselves they should appeal to their Islamic law to sort those out. But if they choose to take matters to the American Courts then they should abide by the American Laws.

If it comes to Islams having broken the amerian law against an american, they should be ruled by that law.

Im sure this ruling goes very deep, and a lot of things must be taken into consideration, like the severity of the crime. Maybe the simplest way would be for this legislation to be passed, then an immigrant into this country will know without a doubt that they will be treated according to American Law for their actions. The line will be clear.

I think it depends also on if they are an American citizen. If so then part of that should be that they are under American law.

ETA: But i do see how because of their religion and culture it might seem unfair to rule them by a foreign law. Im sure there are religious morals or standards or allowances that go directly against the American law. So should an exception be made for the religious person? IDK. I would like to say no, but I can understand how its not so simple, especially since your religion states that the Law of God is above any man made law. (Im not sure that Islam has that claim, but I sure know some Christians that believe this way.)

Denikka - posted on 05/12/2012




If you live in a country, you are subject to their laws. ALL of them. There shouldn't be exceptions if you are a citizen. It's different if you're visiting or whatever, but if you have decided to make a place your home, you abide by the rules. I am completely for this.

[deleted account]

This is a hard one. But when you choose to go and live in a foreign country surely you choose to abide by the law of that country? If you don't agree with the laws you are expected to abide by, then perhaps you should think long and hard before moving to that country. I'm not referring to religious culture, I feel you should be able to bring your religion with you where ever you go, but state and federal law should be respected regardless of your chosen religion.

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