Last week, Kansas governor Sam Brownback signed into law the “American Laws for American Courts” bill, SB79. The bill passed the Kansas Senate by a vote of 33 to 3 and unanimously passed the House with 120 votes. Tennessee, Louisiana and Arizona have also passed similar legislation modeled after a bill written by the American Public Policy Alliance. Oklahoma has also passed a similar bill that was struck down by the courts recently.
Just as in Tennessee, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Arizona, the Kansas bill came into the hands of legislators and was helped on its way to the governor’s desk by some of the nation’s most notorious anti-Muslim organizations and individuals. Lawyer David Yerushalmi created the model legislation for the American Public Policy Alliance, according to Mother Jones. Yerushalmi has attacked African Americans as well as Muslims in the past. He once wrote that African Americans are “the most murderous of persons.”
The largest Islamophobic group in the country, ACT! for America, also took credit for getting the bill passed in Kansas. ACT! circulated an email yesterday claiming to that it “spearheaded a grassroots effort that produced more than 30,000 phone calls and emails to Kansas legislators.”
ACT! has also taken credit for helping to get other anti-Sharia laws passed, especially in Oklahoma where ACT! spent $45,000 on promoting the anti-Sharia amendment that passed in that state in 2010. ACT! is run by Brigitte Gabriel. Gabriel is a known conspiracy theorist whose arch nemesis is the Muslim Brotherhood. Gabriel claims that the Brotherhood has infiltrated the American government on every level.
It remains to be seen whether the anti-Sharia laws will hold up in court. The bills themselves do little else than further demonize Islam and twist public perceptions of Muslim Americans. Driving these bills is a white nationalist ideology which sees Muslims as a threat to a very narrow vision for America’s future. Bills like this may be introduced in a plethora of states in 2013 and without an organized response, more states will fall into this Islamophobic trap.