Alabama’s bill goes a bit further. If enacted, it would require the state’s courts to avoid enforcing or applying rulings from other courts if those rulings are based on foreign law. That could affect contractual obligations from foreign courts (a more than occasional occurrence in international business dealings).
And superficially, the bill’s reasoning appears sound.
“The public policy of this state is to protect its citizens from the application of foreign laws when the application of a foreign law will result in the violation of a right guaranteed by the Alabama Constitution or of the United States Constitution, including, but not limited to, due process, freedom of religion, speech, assembly, or press, or any right of privacy or marriage,” it asserts.
The amendment’s text never explicitly references Sharia, but as the Greene County Democrat reports, it’s merely the latest incarnation of anti-Sharia legislation in the state. It’s also the brainchild of State Sen. Gerald Allen (R-Tuscaloosa), who sponsored the original, failed version of the bill in 2011. Critics panned Allen for being unable to name any examples of Alabama Muslims attempting to enforce Sharia. His bill received another major blow when the Anniston Star revealed its text had been partially plagiarized from Wikipedia.
Allen is still a fixture in extremist circles. Last month, he received a national security award from ACT! for America, an anti-Islam group founded by Brigitte Gabriel.
To provide some context: Gabriel appears frequently at events organized by Religious Right groups like Christians United for Israel (CUFI). At a 2007 CUFI event, she declared, “It’s the difference between good and evil. This is what we’re witnessing in the Arabic world. They have no soul! They are dead set on killing and destruction.”
Allen’s willingness to accept an award from Gabriel’s organization provides troubling insight into his motivation for doggedly pushing anti-Sharia legislation. His bill has nothing at all to do with existing legal realities, either: it’s already illegal for courts to impose Sharia, and there hasn’t been a single reported instance of a U.S court attempting to do so.
That’s why Americans United has encouraged its Alabama members to reject Amendment One. We object to anti-Sharia bills because they’re unnecessary, their provisions are overly broad, and they unfairly target the nation’s Muslim communities. And that violates the First Amendment.