UPDATED 2.28.2012 by Julie Montanaro
Muslims protested on the steps of the Florida capitol today.
They're trying to derail a bill they say curtails their religious freedom.
That bill is headed to the house floor for a vote and it was debated in a senate committee this morning.
Hundreds of Muslims from across the state are in Tallahassee. They are protesting a proposal that they say takes aim at their religious laws, laws they call Sharia.
'House bill 1209, leave this bill behind," they chanted.
"They're pushing legislation to target Muslims," said rally organizer Ahmed Bedier.
"We are not the people who are un-American, they are," he told the crowd, "for violating the constitution and introducing legislation that limits religious freedoms."
The foreign laws bill (HB 1209/SB 1360) says any ruling or decision made under another "code or system" will be void if it violates public policy or rights guaranteed in Florida's constitution. It specifically addresses family issues like marriage, divorce, and child support.
"We will not abide by Sharia law in Florida," said co-sponsor Sen. Greg Evers of Crestview. Why is that necessary? "Because we don't want a religious computation coming into our courts."
"If it's not a Florida law or an American law, it has no business in Florida courts," said sponsor Sen. Alan Hays of Umatilla.
"There are certain rulings about marriage and inheritance that are explicitly laid out in the Koran and I want to make sure those are followed through and not have a stranger who just happens to have an authority position in the state tell me that doesn't count," said FSU student Kany Aziz.
United Voices contends the bill did not originate in Florida but was drafted by an anti-Muslim extremist and modified by its sponsors in the sunshine state.
Tallahassee, Florida - Feb. 28, 2012 - Noon -
Muslims are protesting in front of Florida's capitol today. They claim some of the legislation making progress is an assault on Muslim religious laws.
Watch our LIVE noon report by clicking on the video player above.
(TALLAHASSEE, FL, 2/27/12) –- On TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28TH, Delegates to the 4th Annual Florida Muslim Capitol Day will hold a news conference at the Florida State Capitol to challenge “unconstitutional and un-American” legislation moving through the Florida legislature that sponsors say targets Islamic principles, or “Sharia," in addition to Jewish principles, or "Halakah."
Over three hundred participants are expected to attend from across the state.
Last week the FL House Judiciary Committee passed HB1209 sending it to the House Floor for a vote, which is expected sometime this week. A Senate Budget subcommittee will discuss an identical Senate version of the bill SB1360 Tuesday morning.
The Florida version of the anti-Sharia bill was drafted by anti-Islam activist David Yerushalmi. Yerushalmi is head of the anti-Islam hate group Society of Americans for National Existence (SANE), which on its now password-protected website offered a policy proposal that would make "adherence to Islam" punishable by 20 years in prison, called for the immediate deportation of all non-citizen Muslims and urged Congress to declare war on the "Muslim Nation," which SANE defined as "all Muslims."