By Vladimir Gladkov
Kansas Governor Sam Brownback has signed a bill prohibiting local courts from relying on foreign laws in decision-making if they fail to guarantee the rights guaranteed by the legislation of the United States.
Although the move does make sense, the Kansas Muslim community has slammed it as discrimination and threatened to sue. Unlike Europe, America has had no trouble integrating Muslims into its society. Yet, the unexpected controversy over the Kansas bill is an alarming signal to the authorities. Ever since the bill was motioned, there’s been a loud voice of discontent from the local Muslims as they sought to press Governor Brownback into vetoing it. The authors of the law have brushed off accusations of religious discrimination as groundless for the bill makes no mention whatsoever of the Sharia norms.
Most analysts are confident, however, that forbidding the use of Sharia in America is precisely what the new bill actually aims at. What’s more, some U.S. states already have similar laws and several others intend to follow suit. Oklahoma became the first state to pass a bill banning courts from considering the Islamic Sharia law in their judgments. Later, a federal appeals court blocked the Oklahoma bill as unconstitutional.
While the majority of American Muslims are law-abiding citizens, incidents like the shooting spree staged in November 2009 by a U.S. army officer, Major Nidal Malik Hasan who killed 13 people at the Fort Hood base in Texas, prove that the Islamist propaganda sometimes hits the target.
Incidentally, some of the authorities’ actions may potentially fuel tension between Muslims and non-Muslims. Suffice it to recall a Muslim surveillance program launched by the New York police in cooperation with the CIA, notwithstanding the fact that the agency whose task is to gather intelligence data abroad has no permission to spy on Americans inside the country. Or take the notorious false plots hatched by the FBI to trap people into artificially created radical groups. Caliph al-Akili, a resident of Pittsburg, sent letters to human rights organizations before being arrested, in which he said that he had fallen victim to a police conspiracy.
The recent revelations by a former FBI informer, Craig Montell, have caused quite a fuss. The FBI used him to spy on New York Muslims and weave artificial terrorist conspiracies. The Guardian newspaper quotes him as saying that he was forced into having sex with Muslim women in order to record their conversations.
Such tactics is dangerous as it plays into the hands of real Islamists. On the other hand, the example of Europe shows that complete tolerance may be even worse. So the White House is faced with the need to find a compromise that would prevent a social split and whatever consequences it might entail.