Tennessee Bill Would Jail Some Followers Of Sharia Law For 15 Years
A bill in Tennessee would mean 15 years jail time for some followers of Sharia law.
State Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, and state Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma (pictured), introduced the same bill in the Senate and House last week. It calls Sharia law a danger to homeland security and gives the attorney general authority to investigate complaints and decide who’s practicing it.
Ketron and Matheny believe there is a movement to replace the Constitution with Sharia law.
Imam Mohamed Ahmed of the Islamic Center of Nashville …said Islam teaches its followers to obey the law of the land. Shariah law, he said, teaches moral values.
“What do you mean, really, by saying I can’t abide by Shariah law?” he said. “Shariah law is telling me don’t steal. Do you want me to steal and rob a bank?”
If not fixed, the bill could conceivably criminalize prayer and dietary preparations. The bill was written for the conservative Tennessee Eagle Forum by Chander, AZ attorney David Yerushalmi, who says Sharia is treasonous. Under this law, supporting organizations designated by the attorney general as Sharia groups would be considered a felony.
Charles Haynes, a senior scholar with the First Amendment Center in Nashville, disagrees. He said the bill is based on a complete misunderstanding of Sharia law, which he described as a set of voluntary religious rules, similar to Catholic canon law or Jewish religious law.
The bill is wrongheaded, he said.
“It’s complete nonsense,” he said.
The bill also is unnecessary, Haynes said, because people of all faiths have to follow secular law.Click here for reuse options!
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