Missouri Jumps on the Anti-Sharia Bandwagon

| Wed Mar. 2, 2011 1:28 PM EST

Courtesy of Rep. Paul CurtmanCourtesy of Rep. Paul CurtmanTime to update the map. On Tuesday, Missouri became the 16th state (by our count) to consider a ban on the enforcement of Islamic Sharia law in state courts. The proposed law is nearly identical to the sample legislation drafted by David Yerushalmi, the Arizona-based attorney whose racist views and militant attitude toward Muslims I reported on yesterday. Via PoliticMo, here's the bill's sponsor, Republican state Rep. Paul Curtman:

"I don't have the specifics with me right now but if you go to—the web address kind of escapes my mind right now. Any Google search on international law used in the state courts in the U.S. is going to turn up some cases for you."

Later Tuesday afternoon, Tilley sent out a statement citing a single case in New Jersey. There, a Muslim man apparently sexually assaulted his wife. The judge did not cite Sharia law, instead citing first amendment religious concerns in his ruling, which was overturned by a higher court.

Who brings supporting evidence to a press conference, anyway? It's worth emphasizing that the New Jersey case, which is cited over and over and over as evidence of creeping Sharia in the United States, not only ignored existing state law, but also totally misinterpreted Islamic law. As Sharia expert Abed Awad told Justin Elliott, " Islamic law...prohibits spousal abuse, including nonconsensual sexual relations."

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The success rate for anti-Sharia legislation is low: Only 2 of the bills have actually been signed into law. And though Yerushalmi has testified that neither the Tennessee or Louisiana laws have yet been challenged in court, they both include clarifying language to address some of issues that might arise (like preventing businesses from honoring foreign contracts). However, the Missouri legislation (which is accompanied by a proposed constitutional amendment) does have the support of, among others, the GOP house speaker, Steven Tilley.

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