TALLAHASSEE, Fla., March 10 (UPI) -- Two Republican Florida lawmakers advanced a bill to outlaw Muslim Shariah law and other non-secular or foreign laws from being used in state courts.
State Sen. Alan Hays of Umatilla and state Rep. Larry Metz of Yalaha said they were not targeting Shariah, which Muslims consider sacred. They said they just wanted to protect Floridians.
"I filed a bill that says in the courts of Florida the laws of no other country can be used to influence the decisions of Florida," The Miami Herald quoted Hays as saying. "If it's Shariah law or any other law -- I don't care what law it is -- if it's not a Florida law and if it's some foreign law, it doesn't belong in our courts.
"Other states have had these shenanigans tried and I don't want that to happen in Florida," Hays said, declining to offer details.
Metz said he and Hays wanted "to make sure we don't have an unconstitutional outcome in our court system."
Neither lawmaker could name a Florida case in which Islamic or international law had led to an unconstitutional outcome or caused a problem in a state court, the Herald said.
Most Muslims believe Shariah is largely derived from the Koran and the Hadith, narrations on the words and deeds of the Prophet Mohammed, Islam's founder.
The bill's language was copied almost word for word from "model legislation" posted on the Web site of a group called the American Public Policy Alliance, the Herald said.
The alliance, whose Web site offers no address for the organization, claims the alleged "insinuation of Islamic Shariah law" into U.S. city, state and federal court systems is "one of the greatest threats to American values and liberties today."
The head of the south Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, a national Muslim civil-liberties advocacy organization, said his group was prepared to fight the bill if it passes.
"It's absurd. I've never even heard of a court using Shariah law in making a ruling in a case," Nezar Hamze told the Herald. All religions, including Christianity, have laws, he said.
Discussion of the bill took place a day before the U.S. House Homeland Security Committee held a hearing on alleged U.S. Muslim radicalization and the threat of domestic Islamic terrorism.