MADISON- The hateful nature of today’s Republican party is on full display right now, with a number of Republican lawmakers working to pass a bill written by a known white supremacist. Rep. Thomas Weatherston, of Caledonia, is leading an effort to pass Assembly Bill 401, an “American Laws for American Courts” bill. The bill was co-written by the American Public Policy Alliance, a ‘think tank’ that peddles lies about American Muslims, with help from David Yerushalmi, who is featured as an anti-Muslim extremist by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Yerushalmi also runs the American Freedom Law Center, a known hate group, and serves as counsel to the Center for Security Policy, another ‘think tank’ which promotes conspiracies about Muslims in America. This “American Laws for American Courts” bill is a thinly veiled PR move designed to demonize American Muslims, and has drawn criticism from the American Bar Association, and religious leaders of many faith groups.
Annysa Johnson of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reports:
State Rep. Thomas Weatherston (R-Caledonia) is spearheading an effort to pass a so-called “American Laws for American Courts” bill, which would bar Wisconsin judges from applying foreign laws — including those based on Islamic law — if doing so would violate fundamental human rights protected by the U.S. and Wisconsin constitutions.
Weatherston said he’s “not concerned about Muslims.” In fact, his bill, like others across the country, doesn’t explicitly mention Sharia. But he is worried, he said, “about other countries’ laws creeping into the United States.”
“Especially religious laws, no matter what the origin is,” said Weatherston. “I’m just making sure that U.S. laws are heard in U.S. courts.”
Critics, including the American Bar Association and many non-Muslims, argue that the laws are unnecessary because such protections already exist in American jurisprudence. And they’re seen by many as part of a larger agenda to vilify Muslims.
“If you look at the promotional materials, the lobbying, it’s the same people who are pushing against Sharia around the country — holding rallies, talking about ‘Sharia creep’ and Muslims taking over,” said Asifa Quraishi-Landes, who teaches constitutional and Islamic law at the University of Wisconsin-Madison and serves as president of the National Association of Muslim Lawyers. “They see any acknowledgment of Sharia in American Muslim life as a first step to the Trojan Horse.”
Sharia, meaning “path,” is the Islamic law, a set of guiding principles that touch on every aspect of Muslim life, from how one dresses and prays to marriage and business contracts. Aspects of it are embedded in the legal systems of Muslim-majority countries, and its tenets are interpreted variously based on the country and schools of Islamic thought. Those who are suspicious of Islam point to its harsher punishments, such as stoning and amputations in rare cases, and its bias in many cases against women.
American Laws for American Courts, or ALAC, was developed by the nonprofit advocacy group American Public Policy Alliance, David Yerushalmi of the Center for Security Policy and others as a way to address the constitutional challenges raised against the earliest versions of the laws — in Tennessee and Oklahoma — which explicitly singled out Sharia.
Read more at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.