Republicans focus on anti-shari’a style bill while Michigan financial woes mount
By Natasha Dado
DETROIT — Democratic state representatives and civil rights activists on Tuesday in a press conference at the Cadillac Place here, condemned new legislation they say unconstitutionally targets American Muslims.
|From left: State Representative Harvey Santana (D-Detroit), State Representative Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) and Mary Bejian of Michigan’s American Civil Liberties Union speak out against an anti-shari’a style bill proposed in Michigan. PHOTO:?Natasha Dado/TAAN?|
House Bill 4769 was introduced by State Representative Dave Agema (R-Grandville). It prohibits foreign law from being used in Michigan courts or administrative agencies, and is co-sponsored by more than 40 republicans. Although the term shari’a is excluded from the bill, officials say it still resembles other anti-shari’a bills proposed across the country.
“I think we ought to focus our attention on creating jobs, pushing a better Michigan, embracing the idea that we have people who don’t look like Dave Agema in the state of Michigan, and I think we would be a lot better off,” State Representative Harvey Santana (D-Detroit) said, speaking at the conference.
Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Detroit) said the bill cast suspicion on Muslims who have lived in the state for over a century and never tried to impose shari’a law. Mary Bejian of Michigan’s American Civil Liberties Union calls the bill discrimination and says the law is unnecessary. “Even the supporters of these proposed bills admit that there’s been no imposition of so called shari’a law on civil law,” Bejian said.
Tlaib says the bill targets people of color and different faiths instead of dealing with economic issues. “We need him (Agema) to understand that this is not what Michigan tax payers put him in place to do.”
As the first Muslim woman to serve on the state legislator, Tlaib said she was appalled Republicans didn’t ask her how the legislation would affect American Muslims in the state.
Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations of Michigan, Dawud Walid, said if the governor signs the bill into law CAIR would file a lawsuit the next day.
According to Walid, under provisions of the bill if individuals wanted to offer a legal challenge because Dearborn Public Schools offers halal meat to students they could say the school system is under a foreign type of system or shari’a.
According to reports, the bill is patterned around similar legislation written by David Yerushalmi from the Society of Americans for National Existence, who was exposed by the New York Times for being behind the anti-shari’a movement in the country.
Agema has also made controversial comments about Muslims. According to a report from the Grand Rapids Press he said, “We have the largest concentration of Muslims in the state in the Dearborn area. I know we have (sleeper) cells there. That is what I really want to get at.” article source