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Sen. Hays continues to push Islamophobic agenda in Florida

Imagine 2050 Staff • Apr 29, 2014

Protesters in Florida view a textbook chapter on Islam, which is at the center of the controversy.

The song “You’ve Got a Friend in Me” seems to be the most fitting way to describe a Florida state senator’s willingness to uphold the agenda of an anti-Muslim group in the state legislature.

The Randy Newman tune comes to mind because the anti-Muslim organization ACT! for America has seemingly found a friend in Sen. Alan Hays. The Republican senator has introduced two bills that reflect two of the group’s legislative priorities that attempt to marginalize Muslims.


Hays recently introduced Senate Bill 864, which, if passed, would eliminate the state’s role in selecting and approving textbooks used in public schools and instead give local school boards the responsibility of choosing the materials. The bill has been criticized for a number of reasons. First, it is expected to cost the school districts even more money than it would if it were still controlled by the state. And second, the bill is expected to allow a chance for those convinced schools are proselytizing for Islam to censor books that teach about Islamic history.

The bill comes after controversies in Volusia County and Brevard County last year when a school board decided to continue using a textbook that protestors claimed was biased in favor of Islam and neglected other religions. The decision attracted members of ACT!, who encouraged Hays’ constituents to urge him to propose a bill to halt the Islamic indoctrination of students.

“This bill imposes on the local school board members the responsibility and accountability to their citizens,” Hays said.

Hays’ textbook bill, however, is not the only piece of anti-Muslim legislation making its way through the state legislature.

Anti-Shariah Legislation

Apparently believing the fourth time’s the charm, Hays has once again introduced a bill aiming to ban the use of Shariah law in Florida courts. The bill, SB 386, is an unnecessary piece of legislation used to fuel fear that Muslims seek to undermine the Constitution.

On Monday, it passed in the Florida Senate 21 – 14 and will now to head to the House of Representatives. Hays introduced a similar bill last year that was narrowly defeated. He continues to be a proponent of such bills and has previously referred to Shariah as a “dreadful disease” and the only “vaccination” for it is this type of legislation.

Hays’ bills are based on the model legislation “American Laws for American Courts” (ALAC), authored by anti-Muslim lawyer David Yerushalmi. According to Yerushalmi, the point of ALAC legislation is not necessarily to ban Shariah in states but instead to get people asking “what is Shariah?”

ACT!’s National Strategy

ACT!’s efforts to pass anti-Shariah legislation and accuse schools of indoctrinating children with “pro-Islamic” textbooks are not limited to Florida. Both are two major components in the group’s national strategy. ACT! provides an online tool that lists all of the textbooks and teaching materials it claims are indoctrinating students. Recently, ACT! members have been raising similar complaints about textbooks in states including Tennessee, Alabama, Virginia and Texas.

ACT! has also been at the forefront of organizing to pass anti-Shariah laws nationwide. They are currently targeting 24 states where they hope to see ALAC legislation passed. Right now, seven states have anti-Shariah laws on the books with several others introducing bills of their own.

ACT! claims to be concerned about security and education for all Americans, yet they continue to use “friends” like Sen. Hays to demonize and marginalize an entire community. Their blatantly anti-Muslim agenda should make their real intentions transparent.

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