Tennessee anti-Shariah bill: how could it work?

Tennessee is considering a bill that would make it “a felony to follow some versions of the Islamic code known as Shariah.”

Article here.

Can anyone provide a link to the text of this bill?

Not looking for a debate about the right/wrong of this, just wondering how this could possibly be made to work, and why it’s felt to be necessary.

In the “how could it work” department, opponents reportedly fear it could outlaw things like praying 5x a day, eschewing alcohol, and religious fasting. How could a law conceivably be written so as to force people not to pray, or to make them eat three squares a day and drink a couple of beers?

In the “why is it felt to be necessary department,” presumably there are aspects of Shariah law that many people feel should be outlawed, such as execution for committing apostasy, or amputation of the hand(s) for committing theft. But such actions, when committed outside of the official US legal system, are already regarded as murder and assault, and are already illegal. Assuming the proposed TN law addresses these issues, what would it accomplish?

Finally, the article mentions a law passed in Oklahoma that bans the use of Shariah law in state courtrooms there. That law is currently being challenged but if it stands, what does it accomplish? aren’t juries and judges in US courts already required to follow US laws?

Lets say that you and I have a disagreement about something, but we don’t want to take it to the courts. So we agree that we’ll find a third person and lay out our dispute, and then he’ll decide who’s right and who’s wrong. This process is called arbitration, and you’ll find it in a lot of contracts.

Now, as long as you and I agree, the arbitror can use pretty much any system to settle our dispute. We could say, “We agree this contract is binding under New York law, or Oklahoma law, or Shariah law, or whatever system of law we want”, and the arbitror would decide according to that.

I think what the Tennessee bill and the Oklahoma bill are intended to do is to stop that…to stop letting people arbitrate under Shariah (because, of course, even though things like amputation or execution of apostasy are what people think about, most of Shariah is about how to settle contract disputes).

And upon reading the Tennessee bill, which can be found here (in PDF):


it seems to go much further than even the Oklahoma law, and while it seems to me the Oklahoma law is sort of iffy constitutionally, I see no way the Tennessee law would pass constitutional muster.

Um … wow. I’m not even sure what to say about this. Other than to wonder who let them use words like ‘evidentiary’ when they clearly have no clue what they mean.

It’s so embarrassing I’m going to start telling people I’m from South Kentucky.

Well, it could be where an abitration must still follow basic legal principles, except folks come to that agreement without having lawyers fight to death for every last detail.

If some aspect of Shariah law violates those (or any other religion for that matter), and that is used for arbitration, it doesnt hold up.

A very simplified example. Totally made up.

A divorce. State law says the split is 50/50. The divorce could be nasty with fighting over every last damn little thing.

Arbitration. Same 50/50 split. But this time each side goes through and agrees on the value of each thing. If they can’t, then the arbitrator decides and they move on.

Now lets say Sariah Law says under circumstances XYZ the man gets it 3/4 and the woman gets a 1/4. Even if they both agree, under this new law such a settlement is illegal.

I for one think this law might not be a bad idea, give that some religious groups appear to be pushing for different rules for different folks. Screw that I say. We need to nip that shit in the bud.

Mods: Move to IMHO, please!

Basically, what the’re saying is that “shariah”, according to the statute, only includes those things in shariah that encourage breaking secular law, BUT, and that is a pretty big BUT, the onus is on the follower to PROVE that an Islamic teaching does not encourage secular lawbreaking. The prosecutor isn’t required to prove that the teaching encourages lawlessness.

I can see this going down so fast you won’t realize what happened, except that this is in Tennessee, so it may need to go all the way to Washington before it gets struck down. What I see as problematic is the emphasis on Islam specifically. If it just said religion, it MIGHT pass constitutional muster since freedom of religion is not absolute in the US (i.e. you can’t just say that your religion permits murder and go your happy way killing random people and not expect to go to jail. They can’t force you to convert or recognize that murder is immoral, but they sure can make sure you go to jail.).

What happens when, unexpectedly, the Catholic Inquisition comes to Tennessee?

Noooobody expects the Tennessee Inquisition!

(someone had to do it…carry on)

Then make a 3:1 split illegal under those circumstances. I shouldn’t be illegal only if it’s based on some Islamic principle. Should it be legal if it’s agreed upon for reasons of Talmudic law, some Christian denomination’s rules, or completely secular reasons? But illegal if it involves Islam?

I’m from Tennessee and, in our defense, this is part of an ongoing saga, much of which is generated outside the state. This representative is from Murfreesboro (near Nashville), where a group of Islamic people recently tried to build a new building. This was about the same time as the NYC “mosque” thing and got the exact same treatment. The people backing this bill are the same tea baggers that fought the NYC and Murfreesboro Islamic centers. This is not a grass roots Tennessee thing, nor has there been any problem here with extremists or terrorism or anything else that this seeks to address. My completely non-GQ impression is that the national tea baggers looked at a map and said “Where can we find some Muslims to fuck with?”

So I’m quietly saying one of my daily prayers, kneeling by the roadside somewhere in central TENN. Does a sheriff’s deputy pull up, adjust his gun-belt, slip on his sunglasses, saunters over and say: “Son, you’re in a heap of trouble.”

Plus, what does this statute do to mandatory arbitration in casualty insurance contracts?

I’d even go so far as to say that I’m from northern Alabama. :stuck_out_tongue:

Frankly, I don’t see it as being constitutional and forsee a supreme court case should our idjit legislature be morons enough to pass it.

So, I guess that they’ll cut the education budget to defend this piece of crap. :smack:

Seeing as Allah is simply Arabic for God this it’s difficult to see how this could NOT apply to any Christian group or church (there are certainly plenty of parts of the bible that could be read as “encouragement of any person to support the abrogation, destruction, or violation of the United States or Tennessee Constitutions”).

That’s what I was going to post, too. Personally, I’m all for passing this bill, and then actually enforcing it as written.