Penn. Interfaith Leaders Challenge Anti-Sharia Bill

A rabbi, an interfaith leader, and a Temple University professor joined the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) on Wednesday to denounce as “Islamophobic” a Pennsylvania bill they say is an attack on sharia law, which is followed by devout Muslims.

House Bill 2029, introduced by Rep. Rosemarie Swanger (R., Lebanon), says state courts shall not, in deciding cases, “consider a foreign legal code or system” that lacks “the same fundamental liberties” as the state and federal Constitutions.

The language is plain and seems innocuous. Swanger’s June 14 letter promoting the bill to her colleagues, however, repeatedly mentioned sharia law as a menace.

“Increasingly, foreign laws and legal doctrines – including and especially sharia law – are finding their way into U.S. court cases,” she wrote. “Invoking sharia law, especially in family law cases, is a means of imposing an agenda on the American people.”

Critics say her bill is based on a model of legislation, introduced nationally two years ago, that has had the effect of ostracizing Muslims.

Separately, the Anti-Defamation League of Eastern Pennsylvania, a Jewish antibias group, also criticized the bill.