JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) — An event touted as the first “Muslim Day at the Missouri Capitol” drew more than 100 people.
Participants recited the Pledge of Allegiance to the U.S. flag, clapped for the U.S. Constitution and responded “yes” in unison when event leaders asked if they love other Americans.
Wednesday’s gathering was intended to display the peaceful and patriotic side of Muslims to state legislators who have proposed measures barring Missouri courts from considering international or Islamic religious law known as Sharia.
Event organizers said they have no desire for Sharia law to trump state and federal laws, but they said the legislation reveals an unwarranted fear of Muslims.
Other religious groups also have rallied at the Capitol. Christian groups, for example, have held prayer vigils and concerts.
Copyright 2011 The Associated Press
ST. LOUIS (KMOX) - Muslims from across the state are gathering in Jefferson City today, to voice their concerns about proposed legislation that would outlaw international laws – including sharia, or ecclesiastical Islamic law – in Missouri.
Representative Paul Curtman of Pacific sponsors one of those bills (House Bill 708). “The way this would work is that Missouri would not acknowledge any of those foreign laws, if those laws would deprive any of our citizens of their rights guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution,” Curtman explained.
Missouri is one of at least 13 states where anti-sharia legislation is under consideration or has already been made law. But Jim Hacking with the St. Louis office of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) doesn’t see the need. “The first amendment would already prohibit any use of sharia law or imposition of sharia law on any citizen of the United States and Missouri,” Hacking said.
But a recent court case in Florida, where a judge ruled that a dispute between Muslim parties could proceed under sharia law, has added fuel to the political fire; Politico.com reports several possible GOP presidential candidates have been staking out anti-sharia positions on the campaign trail.
As for the turnout today at the state capitol, Hacking says Missouri Muslims just want to meet their lawmakers — not protest anything.
“I would say that Muslims were triggered by the fact that this legislation has been proposed, but it is sort of a broader effort to educate lawmakers about Muslims and the concerns they have,” said Hacking. “The event is not solely limited to these bills.”
(Copyright KMOX Radio)