[Tallahassee, FL] A bill that would ban the use in Florida of Sharia Law, a code of law based on the Koran and the teachings of Mohammed, passed a State Senate panel Tuesday even as hundreds of delegates to the fourth Muslim Annual Capitol Day rallied against it on the Old Capitol steps.
This is the second year for the measure by Rep. Larry Metz (R-25/Eustis) and Sen. Alan Hays (R-20/Umatilla) who say they just want to keep foreign law out of Florida, not target any specific group. Nor does the bill mention Sharia by name, some say to comply with the U.S. Constitution’s ban on religious discrimination.
But Ahmed Bedier, the rally’s organizer, called the lawmakers out.
“We’re not the people who are un-American,” he said. “They are, for violating the Constitution and introducing legislation that limits religious freedom.”
But shortly thereafter, the Senate Criminal Justice Budget Subcommittee took less than five minutes to pass SB 1360, angering the dozens who wanted to speak against it. Some shouted as Sen. Ellyn Bogdanoff (R-25/Fort Lauderdale) gaveled the meeting to a close.
“Sir, I will tell you this, I am willing to sit here, as I hope other members are, to listen to your testimony, but you have the opportunity to speak to all of us individually,” Bogdanoff said. “There’s plenty of time – this bill has not gotten to the floor yet.”
Last week the House bill (HB 1209) cleared its last committee, and a floor vote is expected this week. The Senate version faces one more committee.
By: The News Service of Florida
Image: Rep. Larry Metz gestures in debate while promoting the Supreme Court division resolution, HJR 711, on the House floor Friday, April 15, 2011. The joint resolution, later approved, proposes amending the constitution to divide the current Supreme Court into two divisions. (photo: FL House)