Washington, D.C. — Interfaith Alliance today expressed disappointment in the Kansas State Legislature’s passage and Governor Sam Brownback’s signing of a measure which bans the use of foreign law, including Shariah, Islamic law, and other religions’ legal codes, in courts. Interfaith Alliance has been a leader in efforts to combat anti-Muslim bigotry, prevent unnecessary and harmful legislation such as this around the country, and create respect and understanding among people of all faiths and beliefs. In response to the legislation, Interfaith Alliance President Rev. Dr. C. Welton Gaddy issued the following statement:
I wish I could say I am as surprised as I am disappointed that the state of Kansas now has a law on its books prohibiting the use of foreign law, including religious law, in the state’s courts. Though there is no explicit mention of Shariah, Islamic law, in this legislation, make no mistake – this measure is part and parcel of the thinly veiled, unjustified, fear-mongering campaign being waged against the American Muslim community across the country. Kansas is now one of dozens of states to propose anti-Shariah legislation, all of such bills peddled by a well-funded group of extremists.
I hope that more Americans will soon see through the vitriol and misinformation being spread about American Muslims and Islam today. The fact is that the place of Shariah law in the lives of American Muslims is no different than the religious legal codes of any other religious American; religious laws hold important meaning for a given faith’s followers but are not legally binding on those who follow a different set of beliefs, nor can they trump our Constitution, if they were ever to conflict.
Anti-Sharia and anti-foreign law legislation is an affront not only to Muslims but to all people of all faiths, and to anyone who values religious liberty in America. Just as our Constitution protects against any legal code ever trumping American law, it protects the right of religious Americans to conduct their lives based on the teachings of their faiths – a right that is endangered by this legislation.
Interfaith Alliance celebrates religious freedom by championing individual rights, promoting policies that protect both religion and democracy, and uniting diverse voices to challenge extremism. Founded in 1994, Interfaith Alliance brings together members from 75 faith traditions as well as those without a faith tradition to protect faith and freedom. For more information visit interfaithalliance.org.