Update 5/03/13: Congratulations! Thanks to your calls and emails, SB 58 died in the Senate today!
"Without the tireless efforts of many individuals and organizations, this discriminatory bill would have become law in Florida," said CAIR-Tampa Executive Director Hassan Shibly.
The Tampa Bay Times reported this afternoon:
"The bill was scheduled for a third reading Friday, but it would have taken a unanimous vote to advance the bill in the Senate. The bill's sponsor, Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, decided not to try for a unanimous vote because on Thursday, the bill (SB 58) failed to get the two-thirds vote needed to bring it to the Senate floor and the vote was 25-14, one vote short. The bill passed the House April 18th by a vote of 79-39."
Dozens of similar discriminatory and unconstitutional bills have been introduced in state legislatures nationwide.
Summary of Bans on Court Use of Sharia/International Law
In 2011, the American Bar Association (ABA) passed a resolution opposing legislation like SB 58, noting that it is "duplicative of safeguards that are already enshrined in federal and state law," and saying, "Initiatives that target an entire religion or stigmatize an entire religious community, such as those explicitly aimed at 'Sharia law,' are inconsistent with some of the core principles and ideals of American jurisprudence."
Update 4/18/13: Today the Florida House passed Anti-Muslim House Bill 351 with a vote of 79 to 39. The bill passed primarily with Republican support and the votes of three Democrats, with the majority of Democrats opposing it.
According to the Miami Herald:
"I am not afraid that our family court judges will be interpreting United States law in a way that offends the fundamental liberties of our citizens," said Rodríguez. "What I am afraid of is sending a signal to the rest of the country and to the world that our state is not open for business."
Despite that, Florida Governor Rick Scott praised the bill!
HB 351 and its sister bill in the Senate, SB 58 harm our freedom to practice our faith and freedom to contract: Read this excellent editorial in the Gainesville Sun on why we must oppose the bill.
WE CAN STILL STOP IT! It got to this point last year and with your help we still defeated it! We must act now:
Update 4/8/13 Thanks to your support, CAIR-FL has sent thousands of messages to Fla. Legislators opposing anti-Muslim bill SB 58 which was being considered in Tallahassee. We also worked with community leaders, allies, and the media to expose the anti-Muslim bigotry behind SB 58!
Today many groups including the Florida Bar Family Law Section, Florida Bar International Law Section, the Anti-Defamation League, the National Council of Jewish Women, the Center for the Advancement of Human Rights, and many others testified against the anti-Muslim SB 58 during today's Children, Families, and Elder Affairs Senate Committee!
However, the committee again voted, 5-4 to pass SB 58 to the Senate for a vote by the full body.
But it is not too late to defeat it! Here is what you can do to help:
1.Register to join us in protesting the bill in Tallahassee on Muslim Capital Day
2. Sign the last two petitions we will prepare, one for the full Senate and one for the full House once the bill goes for a final vote.
CAIR-Florida will continue working with our allies to defeat this bill and is ready to fight it in the courts should it pass. Stay up to date with the latest news on the bill by visiting the SB 58 page on our website!
SB 58 is sponsored by Senator Alan Hays:
At a recent breakfast, Hays thanked supporters of the Anti-Muslim Bill SB58 for being "brave enough to stand up for our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ."
According to the Huffington Post, Hays also claimed that Sharia law is like a disease we should vaccinate against!
According to the Miami Herlad and Mother Jones, Hays also passed out anti-Muslim literature describing Islam as a threat to the United States!
Watch Hays admit that SB58 does not solve any real current problems, and watch him compare foreign law to a disease:
UPDATE March 6th: WEDNESDAY, the Senate Judiciary Committee voted along parties lines 6 v. 3 to pass the Senate version of HB 351, SB 58, to the next committee in the Senate.
UPDATE February 21st: Your emails are working! We have received word today that your emails to the Florida House are building momentum against HB 351 amongst the Representatives.
Thanks to the pressure you have helped create, the House Judiciary Committee today amended the anti-Shariah bill in a failed effort to make the bill less bigoted and problematic.
Nonetheless, CAIR-Florida, and other organizations such as Emerge, the ACLU and the Florida Bar's International Law Section (ILS) remain strongly opposed to the bill.
The amendment does not alter our opposition to the bill. The bill remains unnecessary, inspired by hate groups, and still causes numerous legal problems, not to mention undermining our state's reputation as hospitable to international trade and investment.
Watch Laila Abdelaziz testify today before the House Judiciary Committee on behalf of Emerge, CAIR-FL, and to oppose HB 351. Watch the video to the end to see the ACLU's opposition, and Rep. Schwartz call the bill out for its "Bigotry!":
HB 351 is legislation which harms our religious freedom and limits our ability to contract.
It is based on the model piece of legislation written by anti-Muslim extremist David Yerushalmi, a man who is on the Southern Poverty Law center's list of the "Anti-Muslim Inner Circle," and who wants to make adherence to Islam punishable by a 20 year jail sentence.
Thanks to the pressure you helped create, the House Judiciary Committee voted to amend HB 351. Nonetheless, the bill still offends religious freedom and the Constitution and CAIR-FL is working with Emerge to defeat the bill with your support! Watch our testimony against the bill in the video above!
UPDATE February 15th: According to the Florida Bar's International law Section (ILS), Anti-Muslim bills HB 351 & SB 58 which were sponsored by Senators Alan Hays and Greg Evers and Representative Larry Metz, are "unconstitutional, conflictive with other Florida laws, and will lead to more expensive, drawn-out litigation and further burden our court system."
The Florida Bar ILS thus OPPOSES the anti-Muslim legislation, which is based on the work of anti-Muslim extremist David Yerushalmi, a man who wanted to make adherence to Islam punishable by 15 years in jail!
Click here to read the Florida Bar's International Law Section's executive summary and detailed analysis of how HB 351 & SB 58 are unnecessary and unconstitutional.
UPDATE February 7th: The petition has now closed. The Florida House Civil Justice Subcommittee met on Thursday, February 7th, to discuss the Anti-Religious Freedom legislation. Thanks to your support, we managed to send Florida legislators thousands of e-mails in less than 24 hours! Please stay tuned for more updates and information regarding this legislation.
Message on Anti-Religious Freedom HB 351 from United Voices:
"Islamophobes in the Florida state legislature think that the third is a charm.
After anti-Shariah legislation was killed and defeated in 2011 and 2012, Florida lawmakers Larry Metz and Alan Hays are at it again, peddling laws to restrict OUR religious freedom.
These cleverly-worded bills focus on family law, but are targeted specifically against Muslims and impact the religious family laws of everyone—Muslims, Christians and Jews. If passed, these anti-Shariah laws would restrict and/or deny the use of religious law for matters involving marriage, divorce, and child custody.
Florida state senators Alan Hays and Greg Evers have sponsored SB 58: Application of Foreign Law in Certain Cases. Florida representative Larry Metz sponsored the companion HB 351. We need your help to defeats these bills.
“The Legislature's leadership should block this legislation because it is legally unwarranted and morally abhorrent,” said David Barkey, counsel for Anti-Defamation League, in the Tampa Tribune.
Do not allow state legislators to use the politics of hate and foxy ploys to limit your religious freedoms. It was your support that defeated anti-Shariah laws in years past. In 2013… prejudice and bigotry have no place in our country."
The movement to ban the practices of the Muslim faith, or Sharia, is an unconstitional assault on our religious liberty. CAIR Florida has defeated the effort to ban sharia and thereby restrict religious freedom in 2010 and 2011."
Learn the truth about Sharia and the effort to ban in the blogs below: