Missouri Legislator Still Can’t Explain Why He Wants to Ban Shariah


About a month ago, we told you about a bill before Missouri’s legislature to ban Islamic Shariah law from being enforced in state courts. The proposal, introduced by Republican state Rep. Paul Curtman, drew its language from the sample legislation drafted by David Yerushalmi, an Arizona-based attorney who has previously called for Muslims to be deported. Since the beginning of 2009, two dozen states have considered proposals to ban Shariah, many of which have borrowed Yerushalmi’s language.

Yesterday, the Missouri bill passed out of committee in the House, after a heated debate. Per KMOX:

“This bill will go to court and you are wasting your ink on this paper. Because this will not be upheld in court,” [Democratic Rep. Jamilah] Nasheed said Tuesday. “You’re wasting your time gentleman. You’re wasting your time in this body.”

Nasheed called on Curtman to provide a list of cases in which international law had been used in American courts but Curtman was unable to provide an example of such a case.

Why should that sound familiar? Because this exact same scenario unfolded in March, when Curtman held a press conference unveil the bill. Here was his response then when a reporter asked for examples:

“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.”

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  • Tim Murphy

    Tim Murphy is a senior reporter at Mother Jones. Reach him at tmurphy@motherjones.com.