Target: Richard Hammel, Michigan House Minority Leader
Goal: Reject Islamophobic bill that would prohibit foreign laws from influencing court decisions
Michigan legislators are considering a bill that would prevent courts in the state from being influenced by foreign laws when making decisions. The bill itself does not directly single out any religion, but its biggest supporters have stated that it is meant to prohibit Islamic laws from influencing the legal system. Because there are already laws in place both on the state and federal level that prohibit religious laws from being taken into consideration, it is clear that this bill is simply an excuse to attack Muslim-Americans and encourage anti-Muslim fear and hatred.
Other states have introduced similar bills aimed at preventing Islamic law from being implemented as it has been in other countries. Even though U.S. laws ensure that this is an imaginary threat, several states have succeeded in passing the legislation. Those that have successfully implemented these anti-Islam laws have been careful to avoid mentioning Islam directly.
In Oklahoma, an explicitly anti-Sharia law bill was passed, but it was later struck down because of the threat to religious freedom. Avoiding direct mention of Islam could allow this discriminatory bill to succeed in Michigan.
The intentions of Dave Agema, the Michigan legislator who introduced this bill, become clear when considering his history of making Islamophobic statements. He has called Islam a violent religion, claimed that all terrorists are Muslim, and warned that the large Muslim population in Michigan indicates that terrorists are secretly living in the state. He has also publicly admitted his belief that President Obama is secretly Muslim, perpetuating the fear that many Americans have of Islam becoming more accepted as an American religion.
Putting anti-Muslim discrimination into law in Michigan would do nothing to protect citizens or uphold the constitution; it would only increase Islamophobia and anti-Muslim violence. Encourage Michigan legislators to vote against this bill to ensure that all religious groups are treated equally, and Islam is not unfairly targeted.
Dear Representative Hammel,
Conservative legislators in Michigan plan to consider a bill that would prevent judges from being influenced by foreign laws. Although the bill does not explicitly target Islam, its supporters have made it clear that the intention is to eliminate the perceived threat of Islamic law from affecting state laws.
The bill unfairly targets Islam and presents an issue that is already addressed by existing laws. The legislation would not increase safety in Michigan, nor would it help to ensure that court decisions are constitutional. The bill would only spread fear and increase discrimination against Muslim-Americans.
The legislation was introduced based on a fear of Islam, and its passage would only encourage Michigan residents to be suspicious of the Muslim members of their communities. Please encourage Michigan House members to reject this bigoted bill.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Viktor Nagornyy via Flickr.