Nativism Watch

Texas lawmaker kicks off new year with anti-Muslim legislation

Imagine 2050 Staff • Jan 15, 2015

Texas State Rep. Dan Flynn has introduced one of latest bills that would keep a state courts from recognizing Shariah law, signaling a renewed commitment in 2015 to anti-Muslim bigotry.

On Jan. 12, Flynn introduced HB 670, a bill “[r]elating to the application of foreign laws and foreign forum selection in this state.”

The bill does not specifically mention Shariah and, like other similar efforts, purports to protect Texans from foreign laws. However,  the measure is based on model legislation American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) authored by anti-Muslim lawyer and activist David Yerushalmi.

In the more recent ALAC-inspired bills, language mentioning Islam or Shariah is purposely omitted to avoid some legal scrutiny after a federal judge struck down a similar measure in Oklahoma, ruling it unconstitutional because it  targeted a specific religious group.

The anti-Muslim paranoia behind the bill was outlined in an email Flynn wrote to his constituents last April. In it, Flynn mentioned that certain British courts use Islamic law as guidance when drafting wills and warned that America will soon be heading down this same path as a result of diversity and political correctness.

“We found ourselves, as Americans, thinking more and more that ‘this can’t happen in America‘. There is no denying the shift, propagated by the left, to encourage a more European approach to multiculturalism,” he wrote in the email.

Flynn added this type of legislation is needed because there is an attack on “Judeo Christian heritage we covet and aim to protect” and that the American people must “wake up and recognize the Spiritual Warfare raging in America.”

It is common for state and federal courts to take foreign laws into their consideration though it is highly unlikely for them to supersede American law. Instead, these bills aim solely to stoke fear and suspicion of Muslims.

Just take the words of Yerushalmi himself:

“If this thing [ALAC] passed in every state without any friction, it would have not served its purpose […]The purpose was heuristic — to get people asking this question, ‘What is Shariah?’”

Currently, nine states have passed some form of anti-Shariah legislation: Arizona, Tennessee, Louisiana, Kansas, North Carolina, Oklahoma, Washington, Florida, and Alabama.

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