March 14th, 2012 17:22 EST
NJ Muslims Thankful for Withdrawal of Anti-Sharia Bill
Leaders of the New Jersey Muslim community today thanked Assemblywoman Holly Schepisi for her decision to withdraw bill A-919, which would have prohibited "application of foreign laws," from further consideration by that state`s legislature.
Assemblywoman Schepisi, who represents the 39th legislative district in Bergen and Passaic Counties, introduced the bill in late 2011. It was originally introduced in 2010 by Assemblywoman Charlotte Vandervalk. Bills with similar language have been promoted by those seeking to target Sharia, or Islamic principles.
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Anti-Sharia bills were recently withdrawn or failed to pass in Minnesota, Georgia and Florida.
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"This is a wise decision by the esteemed assemblywoman," said Dr. Aref Assaf, president of the American Arab Forum, a think-tank based in Paterson, N.J. "Of course we want our Constitution to be the supreme law of the land. New Jersey need not follow other states that have either passed or attempted to pass similar legislation that has the principal objective of demonizing the faith of millions of American Muslims."
"Rather than strengthening constitutional protections, these bills undoubtedly violate religious freedom and weaken the independence of our courts," said Council on Amerinca-Islamic Relations-New Jersey Chair Nadia Kahf. "We thank Assemblywoman Schepisi for her decision in support of religious freedom and constitutional rights."
The American Arab Forum is the leading Arab-American organization in New Jersey. Its focus is to proactively advocate for Arab and Muslim-American affairs. GO TO: www.aafusa.org.
CAIR is America`s largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.