Idaho House panel reintroduces anti-Sharia law bill

Idaho

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BOISE (AP) — Republicans on an Idaho House panel on Thursday once again agreed to introduce anti-Sharia law legislation designed to prevent Idaho courts from making decisions based on Islamic or other foreign legal codes.

This is the third year in a row Rep. Eric Redman, a Republican from Athol, has brought legislation forward that says courts, administrative agencies or state tribunals can’t base rulings on any foreign law or legal system that would not grant the parties the same rights guaranteed by state and U.S. constitutions.

“State legislatures have a role to play in protecting constitutional rights,” said Redman, who is not seeking re-election this year. “If states do not have a role, why do we have state constitutions?”

The proposal doesn’t specifically mention Sharia law. However, pictures of a severed hand and a man about to be beheaded were included in the information packet Redman originally distributed to legislative leaders when he first introduced the proposal in 2016. The pictures were pasted in between definitions of Sharia law and accusing the Prophet Muhammad of being a pedophile.

Shariah law is derived of the Quran and rulings and sayings by the Prophet Muhammad.

There are no known cases in which an Idaho judge has based a ruling on Islamic law and Redman did not provide specific examples when asked by Democratic Rep. Elaine Smith of Pocatello.

“This is a wonderful piece of legislation, I’m happy to introduce this,” said Rep. James Holtzclaw, a Republican from Meridian and member of the House panel.

The House State Affairs panel agreed via voice vote to introduce the bill, but it still must clear a full hearing — which has not yet been scheduled.

There are 11 states — Alabama, Arkansas, Arizona, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Washington — that prohibit the use of foreign law in their state courts as of 2017, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

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