Urge MO Governor Jay Nixon To Veto SB 267 & Protect Freedom of Religion
The St. Louis Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-St. Louis) is calling on all people of conscience in Missouri to urge Governor Jay Nixon to VETO anti-Islam Senate Bill 267 (SB 267).
In the last few years, CAIR has witnessed a trend of state-level support for such legislation. While many public discussions about these bills seek to put a benign face on it, its purpose is to target religious practices of Muslims, similar to past misguided efforts to target Catholics, Jews and other faith minorities in the United States.
Make your voice heard by acting now to oppose such hatful and bigoted legislation!
As a concerned Missourian I urge you to veto Senate Bill 267.
Sponsored by Sen. Brian Nieves, SB 267 is an unnecessary and biased piece of legislation introduced to address a perceived problem that simply does not exist.
While many public discussions about SB 267 seek to put a benign face on the bill, its purpose is to target religious practices of Muslims, similar to past misguided efforts to target Catholics, Jews and other faith minorities in the United States.
SB 267 would negatively affect constitutionally-protected religious rights, impacting the writing of marriage contracts, the implementation of wills or even being buried according to one's religious beliefs. It could also adversely affect the validation of international adoptions and foreign marriages.
While corporations are exempted under SB 267, international business contracts signed by private state businesses could not be enforced in state courts if written in compliance with foreign laws. SB 267 casts uncertainty on international business transactions and could drive away multinational corporations from our state. Simply put, SB 267 is bad for business.
SB 267 Questionable Origins:
In the past two years, 78 anti-Islam bills or amendments like SB 267 have been introduced in state legislatures nationwide. Of these, 62 contained language that was extracted from Islamophobe David Yerushalmi’s American Laws for American Courts (ALAC) model legislation. Yerushalmi leads the hate group Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE), which once offered a policy proposal that would make "adherence to Islam" punishable by 20 years in prison, called for the immediate deportation of all non-citizen Muslims and urged Congress to declare war on the "Muslim Nation," which SANE defined as "all Muslims."
SEE: Profile of David Yerushalmi
SB 267 Wastes Valuable Legislative Time:
No religious or foreign law code can replace U.S. law. Article VI, Clause 2 of the U.S. Constitution clearly states, “This Constitution … shall be the supreme law of the land; and the judges in every state shall be bound thereby. …” Additionally, the First Amendment prohibits Congress from making any law “respecting an establishment of religion.” America has an established tradition of allowing people of faith to make agreements and resolve disputes within the parameters of their religion, as long as any resulting contract complies with U.S. law.
Catholic canon law and Jewish Halacha are the most frequently cited examples in the context of the debate surrounding Islamic practices. No national Muslim organization has called for the implementation of foreign law in the United States.
The American Bar Association Opposes Such Legislation:
In 2011, the American Bar Association (ABA) passed a resolution opposing ALAC-type legislation noting that it is “duplicative of safeguards that are already enshrined in federal and state law,” and saying, “initiatives that target an entire religion or stigmatize an entire religious community, such as those explicitly aimed at ‘Sharia law,’ are inconsistent with some of the core principles and ideals of American jurisprudence.” The ABA also stated the following:
• “Language in these Bills and Amendments dealing with ‘international law’ or ‘foreign and customary law’ is likely to have an unanticipated and widespread negative impact on business, adversely affecting commercial dealings and economic development in the states in which such a law is passed and in U.S. foreign commerce generally.” [Emphasis added.]
• “Many of the Bills and Amendments would infringe federal constitutional rights, including the free exercise of religion and the freedom of contract, or would conflict with the Supremacy Clause and other clauses of the Constitution.”
I appreciate your time and consideration and look forward to your response.
If you need any additional information, please contact: Faizan Syed, Executive Director of the St. Louis Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR St. Louis) at (314) 330-2946 or firstname.lastname@example.org.