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No Islamic Law: Arkansas House Says Courts Must Follow American Laws

02-07-2017

Arkansas House of Representatives pass a bill Monday that would require "American laws for American courts."

The House approved HB-1041, which directs judges in the state's courtrooms to use only American-based laws when they make decisions. 

The bill, proposed by Rep. Brandt Smith, R-Jonesboro, passed the House Judiciary Committee and then the full house, even though critics say it targets Muslims. 

The measure does not mention Sharia law by name.  But it would forbid law that "in whole or in part" relies on foreign law that "does not grant the parties...fundamental rights, liberties and privileges granted under the Arkansas Constitution or the U.S. Constitution," including due process, equal protection, freedom of religion, speech and press, the right to privacy and the right to bear arms.

Before Monday's 63-24 vote, one lawmaker questioned whether Smith's bill may also prohibit the use of Mosaic law, such as the Ten Commandments, while another asked for the vote to be delayed. 

Smith told his colleagues that the state judges should use clarity on what material they should use when weighing cases. 

Legislatures in Idaho, Kentucky, Montana and Oregon have considered similar bills this year. 

The law will be sent to the Arkansas Senate.
 

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