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Michigan lawmakers introduce anti-foreign law legislation

The Michigan House of Representatives [official website] on Monday introduced a bill [HB 4769 text, PDF] that would ban Sharia law and other laws deemed "foreign." The bill, introduced by Representative Dave Agema (R), seeks to limit the enforcement and application of "foreign laws that would impair constitutional rights." Contractual provisions or agreements that provide for the choice of foreign law to govern disputes would be amended to ensure the constitutional rights of the parties are protected, and be considered void otherwise. Though the bill does not expressly mention Islamic Sharia law [CFR backgrounder; JURIST news archive], Muslim advocates suggest that bill was introduced to ban the Islamic legal code. Dawud Walid, head of the Michigan branch of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) [official website], said Michigan has been falsely accused [Detroit Free Press report] of having a sharia-controlled government and condemned "fear mongering" about Sharia law.

A similar Oklahoma law has recently been challenged in court. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and CAIR in May asked [JURIST report] the US Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit [official website] to uphold [brief, PDF] a lower court ruling that blocked an Oklahoma constitutional amendment banning courts from considering international or Islamic law. Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly approved the measure [JURIST report], State Question 755 (SQ 755) [text, PDF], last November with 70 percent of the vote. The ACLU and CAIR filed suit on behalf of Oklahoma citizen Muneer Awad, who argued that the ban would invalidate part of his will, which is partially rooted in Islamic Sharia Law, and a judge for the US District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma [official website] issued a temporary injunction [JURIST report]. Haroon Moghul [company profile], Executive Director of The Maydan Institute [official website], described the Oklahoma law as a "preemptive strike" [JURIST comment] against American Muslims.

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