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Florida House Passes Anti-Foreign Law Bill

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TALLAHASSEE (CBSMiami) – The Florida House passed a bill Thursday that would ban the mythical threat of Sharia, or Islamic law, and other foreign laws from being used in state family courts.

The bill is similar in scope to bills in a handful of other states. The push for the bills began a few years ago when extremist wings of political parties began to spread the word that Sharia Law could be creeping into the United States.

The theory has been pushed by Congresswoman Michelle Bachmann and others. Bachmann has repeatedly said in the past that President Barack Obama wants to institute Sharia Law in the United States, even though President Obama isn’t Muslim.

Florida’s law doesn’t mention a specific set of foreign laws and instead targets foreign laws in general. But the need for such a law doesn’t seem to be needed, according to the Florida Bar Association.

Christopher Rumbold of the Florida Bar’s legislation committee said his research turned up no Florida case in which Sharia or another foreign law was used against a Florida resident.

“I am loath to impute any xenophobic characteristic to this bill,” he said. “But I have been called unpatriotic based on my opposition.”

The bill’s proponents say they’re just trying to head off what’s happened in other states. Rumbold looked at those cases, too, he said, and “they don’t say what (the bill’s supporters) say they say.”

According to the Council on American-Islamic Relations, six states have similar laws: Arizona, South Dakota, Kansas, Louisiana, Tennessee and Oklahoma. The group sued in Oklahoma — where the law specifically mentioned Shariah — and that law was suspended.

The bill was written based on draft legislation put together by Arizona attorney David Yerushalmi, who is trying to get Sharia outlawed across the U.S.

The Southern Poverty Law Center lists Yerushalmi’s ideology as “anti-Muslim” and said besides his problems with Muslims, he “also rails against liberal Jews and the “progressive elites” he says they influence. He’s described blacks as “the most murderous of peoples” and reportedly once called for undocumented immigrants to be placed in “special criminal camps,” detained for three years, and then deported.”

(TM and © Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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