Islamophobic legislation focused on a nonexistent issue in Florida

June 1, 2014 

As a Muslim, I am proud to call Bradenton my hometown. Growing up on the Suncoast I came to love the diversity, intellectual acumen and critical thinking skills that my neighbors, friends and classmates continuously demonstrated in shunning those who use fear and misinformation to disseminate hate.

However, after recently reading a number of outright deceptive and Islamophobic hit pieces aimed at the Democratic Party, I thought I would reveal the political agenda behind this conspiracy-laden bunch and their propaganda.

The "Application of American Laws for American Courts" bill sought to fix problems that don't exist. The sponsor of the bill in the Legislature, Sen. Alan Hays, couldn't even cite one case that the bill would rectify in the state of Florida.

Talk about wasting taxpayer's money while Floridians suffer from real issues.

Furthermore, it infringes upon the rights of practicing Muslims, Jews and Christians who have the constitutional protection of the First Amendment to self-determination in civil matters such as marriage.

It makes sense then that the Florida Bar International, the Anti Defamation League, ACLU, NAACP, Emerge USA and the Florida Chamber of Commerce, in addition to many others, opposed the bill.

Even the Senate committee's analysis revealed that the bill is likely unconstitutional due to separation of powers and contract clause violations, which infringe on freedom of religion.

Let's not forget that this watered-down bill originated from David Yerushalmi's model piece of anti-Muslim legislation which originally made practicing Islam a felony punishable by 20 years in prison.

After being shut down previously three times in our Republican-dominated Legislature, this watered-down version finally passed to appease the more radical elements within the party.

Let's show the haters that their political football is no Hail Mary. Make sure to turn out and vote in the upcoming election.

Muaaz Hassan


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