The boldest legislative attempt yet to limit how Muslims worship. At least 13 states have bills pending that would bar judges from considering Shariah in legal decisions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures, but none of those proposals is as strict as what Tennessee is weighing.
Tennessee is considering making it a felony to follow some versions of the Islamic code known as Shariah, the most severe measure yet put forth by a national movement whose members believe extremist Muslims want Shariah to supersede the Constitution.
The bill – drawn up by conservatives with ties to opponents of a planned Islamic center two blocks from New York City’s ground zero and efforts to expand a mosque 30 miles southeast of Nashville – would face steep constitutional hurdles if enacted.
“This is an anti-Muslim bill that makes it illegal to be a Muslim in the state of Tennessee,” said Remziya Suleyman, policy coordinator for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition, which was among several civil rights and interfaith groups that held a news conference Tuesday to oppose the proposal.