« Black lawmakers’ effort to expand early voting is rejected in Senate | Main | Clay Co. clerk: FBI is looking at Rep. Cliff Stearns »

Imam, rabbi and pastor protest 'anti-Sharia' law

ot_351185_keel_flgov_8.jpg

An imam, a rabbi and a pastor walked into Senate President Mike Haridopolos's office with two demands: Withdraw the Foreign Law bill they say targets Muslims, and investigate who is behind the anti-Muslim booklets and flyers that circulate the Senate. [Scott Keeler, Times]

An imam, a rabbi and a pastor walked into Senate President Mike Haridopolos's office Wednesday with two demands: Withdraw the Foreign Law bill they say targets Muslims. And investigate who is behind
the anti-Muslim booklets and flyers that circulate the Senate.

Session ran through lunch, and Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, did not meet the clergy or the 20 Muslims, Christians and Jews who carpooled from around the state to protest together. The group organized after reading about the anti-Muslim booklets and flyers on the Miami Herald and Tampa Bay Times blogs.

At issue is a booklet Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, delivered to fellow senators called "Shari'ah Law: Radical Islam's threat to the U.S. Constitution." Hays, sponsor of SB 1360, said he gave out the booklet to educate his peers and influence the votes on a bill that would void marriage, divorce and custody contracts grounded in foreign law. The measure passed the House and is scheduled for a Thursday Senate hearing.

Hays insists the proposal doesn't target a particular group, but protesters say the intent is obvious.

"This proves this bill is exactly what we've been saying it is. It's intended to target the Muslim community in Florida, and it's intended to target and limit religious freedoms for Muslims," said event organizer Ahmed Bedier, president of United Voices of America. 

In Haridopolos's absence, Senate Chief of Staff Craig Meyer met privately with the clergy and with Bedier.

"The chief of staff did assure us that they will not tolerate hatred, but they also respect freedom of speech," Bedier said in a press conference after the meeting.  

Haridopolos told the Times/Herald last week he supports the bill because he believes it will help protect the U.S. Constitution. But Bedier asked that the Senate not take the bill up this session because it's not a pressing issue and the booklets and flyers may influence votes.

"If senators want to debate the bill on its merits, that's fine. However, they should never resort to hatred or hate speech in order to push legislation forward," he said.

Two other flyers are also circulating the Senate hallways, both by groups that don't have websites and aren't registered lobbyists.

The flyers say things like "our religious, political and peaceful way of life is under attack by Islamic and Sharia Law," and "save us!" from a society where "women have half the rights of men" and "may be beaten by their husbands." 

Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich, D-Sunrise, condemned the flyers as "fear mongering," while the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish advocacy group, put out a press release that says they are "troubled" by the anti-Islam materials. View this photo

Comments

Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Joe Lo

Why would anyone object to such simple straightforward legislation that only confirms existing American Law, unless this person actually WANTS his belief system to trump our constitution. I don't understand all the fear.
Although not perfect, we have the best system in the world based on the rule of law. Political/religious groups have had the best protection in the world.

John Sauer

"This proves this bill is exactly what we've been saying it is. It's intended to target the Muslim community in Florida, and it's intended to target and limit religious freedoms for Muslims," said event organizer Ahmed Bedier, president of United Voices of America.

Ahmed, If muslims want unrestrained religious freedom, in this country, they are free move to a country governed by sharia law. Sharia law is intertwined into the muslim religion. They are one and the same as demonstrated by your protest. In this country we are governed by the Constitution of the United States of America. If you are a citizen of the United States, you are guaranteed the freedom to move to another country. Please don’t give up your freedom here. If you are not a citizen of the United States of America you can leave anyway, as long as you haven’t stoned your wife or daughter or beheaded a neighbor for exercising his religion.

"If senators want to debate the bill on its merits, that's fine. However, they should never resort to hatred or hate speech in order to push legislation forward," he said.

The only reference to hate speech I see is from you. The bill is a straightforward expression of support for the Constitution. Supporting the Constitution of the United States is not hate speech unless you hate the Constitution of the land you chose to reside in. What is your purpose here?

Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich, D-Sunrise is free to join you so she doesn’t have to put up with the “fear mongering” from those who support the Constitution of the United States of America.

steve

Problem with sharia law is it is a government hid inside the muslim religion! Where is there seperation of church and state. This religion and it's sharia is sedition pure and simple! Look up the definition. sharaia law imposes overtly it's values overidding established law with barbaric system.

Joe Lo

"Problem with sharia law is it is a government hid inside the muslim religion!"

Very well stated Steve. Thanks!

Peter Lebowitz

No country can live under two sets of laws. WE ARE HAPPY WITH OURS. If you are not, feel free to leave the U>S> and live in a prehistoric society that lives undere Sharia. Wake up America, this is just one way the Radical Islamists intend to destroy Western Democracy.STOP ACCOMADATING the Muslim Community. Learn ,our culture, keep your religion, but stop trying to change us.
Peter

JonG

These comments display one thing: Ignorance of the way OUR (American) judicial system operates. They also represent a fundamental lack of understanding for Islamic law. One cannot simply pick-up the Quran, read a few verses and conclude Islam is a religion of tyranny and violence. It should be noted, for all you Christians, that the New Testament is the most violent book amongst the Torah, New Testament and Quran. As for the judiciary, it is well settled in this country that individuals are free to order their personal, family and business affairs according to their religion--through arbitration-- and still have their arbitral awards enforced in court. The use of Jewish (Bet Din) panels and Christian conciliation methods have become commonplace in our system of justice for the better part of a century. Thus, these anti-foreign/Sharia law bills are nothing more than a blatant attack on Islam--which decidedly HAS NOT infiltrated the judiciary in any way--and threatens to undermine, rather than rehabilitate, our courtsystem. ...

I am all for freedom of speech and every individuals' right to an opinion, but try to make sure its at least an educated opinion you're throwing out there, as opposed to ignorance and hate. .... it's just not a good look!

The comments to this entry are closed.