The introduction of a bill that makes it clear that Kansas courts will rely solely on state and national laws has been branded as discriminatory by critics.
The bill, signed by Republican Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, has been dubbed the ‘Shariah bill’ because critics say that it specifically targets the Islamic legal code (1).
The Bill’s supporters claim that this will serve to preserve US law and reassure foreigners that state and national laws would protect them. They cite cases from around the country where judges used Shariah law when deciding cases, especially in family and property related disputes between Muslims. A spokeswoman for Governor Brownback, Sherriene Jones-Sontag, was quoted by MCNBC as saying in an E-Mail that the bill "…makes it clear that Kansas courts will rely exclusively on the laws of our state and our nation when deciding cases and will not consider the laws of foreign jurisdictions”.
Opponents of the bill say that the Bill singles out the Islamic faith and could have the result of nullifying wills and contracts between Muslims. They also say it is completely unnecessary as US law prevails in the country anyway.
But as John Surico says, the wording of the bill does not single out Islam; it says ‘foreign legal codes’ can’t be used.
There is a growing perception of Islamophobia in America even though any risk posed is miniscule. The Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington is now looking at taking legal action against the bill and council spokesman Ibrahim Hooper said that "It's unfortunate the governor chose to pander to the growing Islam-phobia in our society that has led to introduction of similar unconstitutional and un-American legislation in dozens of state legislatures".