Michigan is the site of one of the Shariah-panic crowd's favorite incidents. Supposedly, a group of Christians passing out literature outside an Arab festival in Dearborn were silenced in accordance with Sharia law. Conservative mouth breather John Hinderaker claimed that "local authorities now enforce Shariah in preference to the Constitution of the United States."
The story was nonsense -- the police were called by a Christian festival volunteer who said the group was "harassing" festival patrons. Nonetheless, the conservative version of the story where Michigan cops have become the local Basij is another exhibit A to the imminent Muslim Brotherhood takeover of the U.S.
Rep. Dave Agema, R-Grandville, is pushing a bill to bar the implementation of foreign laws. It doesn't mention Sharia — Islamic law — but he acknowledged it would be prohibited in courts under the legislation intended to prevent anyone "who tries to shove any foreign law down our throats."
"No foreign law shall supersede federal laws or constitution or state laws or constitution," Agema said. "Our law is our law. I don't like foreign entities telling us what to do."
Agema said his bill would protect the "vast majority" of Muslims, whom he contended "come to this country to get away from Sharia."
The latter statement is part of the broader misunderstanding among public officials consumed by Shariah panic. It's certainly possible that many American Muslim immigrants come here to get away from the draconian laws of some Muslim countries, but they're not trying to get away from "Shariah," which has no single interpretation and governs things like when you pray and what you can eat. Every observant Muslim considers themselves to be adhering to Shariah, but that doesn't mean they believe in the draconian punishments associated with fundamentalist states.
The bill would prevent courts from enforcing "a foreign law if doing so would violate a right guaranteed by the constitution of this state or of the United States." But that's redundant, because the Constitution already does that. Moreover, local civil-liberties advocates warn that the bill's ban on "foreign law" could have other consequences.
"It’s obviously meant to affect Muslims, and in that way it’s unconstitutional, but it could be much broader than that,” says Shelli Weinberg, legislative director of the Michigan branch of the American Civil Liberties Union. Weinberg points out that Michigan doesn't allow gay couples to adopt or recognize same-sex marriages performed elsewhere, so the law could conceivably be used against those families. "Treaties, marriages, adoptions, all this would be under the gun if the law were passed,” Weinberg says.
Obviously, though, same-sex couples concerned about their rights as parents are probably just part of the Islamist conspiracy. "If anybody has a problem with this that means they don't agree with U.S. laws," Agema says.
When it comes to same-sex couples, however, the Islamists and Agema are probably both on the same page. Earlier this year, Agema supported a bill that fined state colleges for offering benefits to same-sex couples, and supports the state ban on same-sex marriage.