By Associated Press, The Washington Post
TOPEKA, Kan. â€” Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback has signed a law aimed at keeping the stateâ€™s courts or government agencies from basing decisions on Islamic or other foreign legal codes, and a national Muslim groupâ€™s spokesman said Friday that a court challenge is likely.
The new law, taking effect July 1, doesnâ€™t specifically mention Shariah law, which broadly refers to codes within the Islamic legal system. Instead, it says courts, administrative agencies or state tribunals canâ€™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.
â€œThis bill should provide protection for Kansas citizens from the application of foreign laws,â€ said Stephen Gele, spokesman for the American Public Policy Alliance, a Michigan group promoting model legislation similar to the new Kansas law. â€œThe bill does not read, in any way, to be discriminatory against any religion.â€
But supporters have worried specifically about Shariah law being applied in Kansas court cases, and the alliance says on its website that it wants to protect Americansâ€™ freedoms from â€œinfiltrationâ€ by foreign laws and legal doctrines, â€œespecially Islamic Shariah Law.â€
Brownbackâ€™s office notified the state Senate of his decision Friday, but he actually signed the measure Monday. The governorâ€™s spokeswoman, Sherriene Jones-Sontag, said in a statement that the bill â€œmakes it clear that Kansas courts will rely exclusively on the laws of our state and our nation when deciding cases and will not consider the laws of foreign jurisdictions.â€
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