Faiza Patel and Amos Toh, Religion News Service
NEW YORK (RNS) Foreign law bans are back.
For the fourth year running, Florida is trying to outlaw the use of foreign and international law in state courts. Missouri has mounted another attempt to pass an anti-foreign law measure after last year's effort was vetoed by Gov. Jay Nixon. The bans also have crept farther north, making a debut in Vermont.
These laws, which have passed in seven states, are the brainchild of anti-Muslim activists bent on spreading the illusory fear that Islamic laws and customs (also known as Shariah) are taking over American courts. This fringe movement shifted its focus to all foreign laws after a federal court struck down an Oklahoma ban explicitly targeting Shariah as discriminatory toward Muslims.
But, as explained in a report by New York University's Brennan Center for Justice, by banning all foreign law, the laws create new problems, particularly for American businesses with commercial relationships overseas. To avoid ensnaring routine international commerce, supporters of foreign law bans have added a confusing array of restrictions and exemptions to ensure that only those who are disfavored are targeted.
And as these restrictions pile up, the bans come full circle and reveal their true purpose: to demonize the Islamic faith. (Read more)