Wednesday, March 19th, 2014 marked the 6th annual Florida Muslim Capitol Day in Tallahassee, Florida. According to United Voices for America, “This year is especially important, because a few lawmakers are desperately trying to pass an anti-Muslim law that violates our constitutional right to religious liberty.”
Event Chair Manal Fakhoury appealed to Florida Muslims to join them in Tallahassee this year, writing, “As you know, right-wing lawmakers across the country are trying to demonize Muslims by introducing discriminatory laws in dozens of states, including Florida. If you don’t stand with and help us fight for religious freedom, they will win. … In Florida, anti-Muslim lawmakers have re-introduced SB 386, aka the anti-Sharia bill. Last year we mobilized hundreds of supporters to the state capitol and defeated a similar law and we need your help to defeat it again.”
Here are the facts. The bill is titled “Application of Foreign Law in Certain Cases” and provides that while the state recognizes the rights of individuals to contract freely, it is in the interest of the state to “protect and promote liberties, rights, and privileges granted under the State Constitution or the United States Constitution.” Florida SB 386 is NOT an anti-Sharia bill. The bill seeks to render void and unenforceable any contract or contractual provision that would deprive an individual of their fundamental human rights.
On Tuesday, March 18, 2014, the companion bill in the House, HB903, passed with a favorable vote of 7 to 4 (interestingly along party lines, with all of the Republicans voting in favor and all Democrats voting against) in the Civil Justice Subcommittee and is now in the Judiciary Committee. The next meeting of the Judiciary Committee is Friday, March 21, 2014, although this bill does not appear to be under consideration at this time.
If the Muslims in America are here to enjoy the individual freedoms and liberties protected by our state and U. S. Constitution, why are they opposing this law? No other religious organization has campaigned in opposition to this bill so vociferously. Why are they calling Florida SB 386 anti-Sharia? Is it because they refuse to recognize the Constitution of the United States as the Supreme Law of the Land? Are there some tenets within the Sharia that do not protect an individual’s liberties and rights?
This bill in no way violates anyone’s constitutional right to religious liberty. What is does is recognize the fundamental human rights of the individual unalterably enshrined within our state and U. S. Constitution.