Michigan Islamophobic Activists Rally for Anti-Shariah Law
Roughly 150 anti-Islam activists held a rally at the Michigan statehouse yesterday in support of a proposed law to prevent the implementation of foreign law in U.S. courts. The bills in the House and Senate copy similar legislation in other states commonly referred as “anti-sharia” laws.
Like these other laws, the Michigan legislation (HB 4769 and SB 701) are misguided responses to the imagined threat of “Islamic lawfare” — a conspiracy theory that Muslims are attempting to overthrow the U.S. Constitution by subversively introducing sharia law in the United States.
With the House bill currently stuck in committee, the sponsor of the legislation, Grandville Republican Dave Agema, used the rally to urge the legislature to move the proposal forward.
The legislation is being pushed by the right-wing American Public Policy Alliance, who provided the language for the law based on their “American Laws for American Courts” (ALAC) model legislation — the same model behind similar laws passed in Tennessee, Louisiana and Arizona.
As the Center for American Progress’s Fear Inc. report identified, the ALAC legislation was designed by David Yerushalmi, one of the key “misinformation experts” behind the entire anti-Islam industry who has said that ” the Muslim peoples, those committed to Islam as we know it today, are our enemies.”
The Michigan bill is opposed by a diverse group of religious and community organizations concerned about its impact on private contract law often used by various religious groups. Six organizations signed onto a statement directly responding to Thursday’s rally, which said:
All who reside in Michigan have the fundamental right to practice their sincerely held, bona fide religious beliefs, as long as those do not violate the U.S. and Michigan constitutions and laws. Agema’s bill could not only adversely affect Michigan Muslims, but also followers of other religions, including Judaism and Christianity, for whom courts routinely order reasonable accommodations for the observance of religious laws.
The signers were The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee – Michigan, The Arab Community Center for Economic and Social Services, The Council on American-Islamic Relations – Michigan, The Interfaith Council for Peace and Justice, Jewish Voice for Peace – Detroit and National Action Network – Detroit.
The Michigan Catholic Conference is also opposing the bill for the same reasons, framing it as “an attack on religious liberty itself.”