Lieutenant Governor Ron Ramsey says he would be willing to meet with Muslims before taking up a controversial bill to limit the practice of Sharia law.
Ramsey says he is concerned over reports that Sharia law has been cited in American court decisions. That claim has been made in several states where anti-Muslim laws have been proposed. But neither the watchdog group “Media Matters” nor ABC News has been able to find any evidence of such cases.
Ramsey says he’ll listen to the Muslims themselves.
“I’ll be more than willing to talk to them, anytime they want to sit down and talk to me, I’ll be glad and willing to do that, and they can explain it to me. But at the same time I want to make sure that the United States, we live under constitutional law, not some other laws.”
Ramsey says he hasn’t studied the proposed law from fellow Senator Bill Ketron, which would limit the practice of the Muslim faith.
So far proponents of Ketron’s bill say it is an anti-terrorist measure, while opponents question the state’s entry into regulating a religion.
Ketron’s bill is SB 1028/HB 1353 Matheny.
The bill is assigned to the Judiciary committees of the House and Senate.
Lieutenant Governor Ramsey says if the bill goes much beyond dealing with courts, he’ll be reluctant to pass it.
“It’s my understanding that there are some courts across this nation that have used Sharia law as a basis of decisions. There are those who follow Sharia law, and have gone into courts and asked for that to be a portion of that decision. And I have a problem with that. I think that if you move to this country and want to become an American, then you live under our constitutional law, that we have now. I don’t whether we want to limit the practice of it, I don’t know exactly how that works, but I don’t think that Sharia law should enter into our court system.”
Muslims say that Sharia law is a philosophy of life, like halaka, Jewish law, or perhaps the Ten Commandments.
They have objected to a paragraph in the bill they say mischaracterizes their religion:
The threat from terrorism within the homeland, including from within this state, otherwise known as “homegrown terrorism,” is primarily the result of a legal-political-military doctrine and system adhered to, or minimally advocated by, tens of millions if not hundreds of millions of its followers around the world. This legal-political-military doctrine and system is known as sharia to its adherents, authoritative leaders and scholars.
The bill gives the state attorney general the authority to designate as terrorist any organization that gives material aid to a “sharia organization.”
Our previous story on the subject: “Religious Groups Fight Together Against Anti-Sharia Bill”