Anti-Shariah movement loses steam in state legislatures

The wave of anti-Shariah legislation has broken in recent weeks, as bills in several states have either died or been withdrawn, raising questions about whether the anti-Shariah movement has lost its momentum.

At this point in 2011, 22 state legislatures had either passed or were considering bills to prohibit judges from considering either Islamic law, known as Shariah, or foreign law in their decisions.

What a difference a year can make.

According to Gavel to Gavel, an online newsletter that tracks state laws affecting courts, similar bills have also recently died or are likely to die in Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Iowa, Mississippi, and New Mexico, although at least a few of them could be revived next year.

Last year, anti-foreign law bills died in the Arkansas, Maine, Texas, and Wyoming legislatures, and were not revived this year, according to Gavel to Gavel.

“There really wasn’t much time or interest in discussing this,” said John Schorg, a spokesman for Indiana’s House Democrats.

While the anti-Shariah movement may be losing momentum, it certainly hasn’t gone away. On March 12, South Dakota Gov. Dennis Daugaard signed an anti-foreign law bill, joining Arizona, Louisiana, Oklahoma, and Tennessee in passing such laws.

And in Florida, Democratic state Sen. Nan Rich, the minority leader, acknowledged that practicality, not principles, is what undid the anti-foreign law bill there.