Mar 22 2015
Plano state Rep. Jeff Leach’s bill that appears aimed at Islamic tribunals is up for a hearing Tuesday in Austin. It should be interesting.
Dallas News Go to this House webcasting site in the afternoon and watch to see if the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee has started its meeting. It’s scheduled for shortly after the House chamber session in the afternoon.in the afternoon and watch to see if the Judiciary and Civil Jurisprudence Committee has started its meeting. It’s scheduled for shortly after the House chamber session in the afternoon. Times float.
This bill (HB 562) now has more joint and co-authors hanging off it than ornaments on a Christmas tree. From North Texas, the posse includes Jodie Laubenberg, Dewayne Burns, Rodney Anderson, Pat Fallon, Phil King, Matt Krause, Morgan Meyer, Tan Parker, Matt Rinaldi, Scott Sanford, Matt Shaheen, Ken Sheets, Ron Simmons, Jonathan Stickland, Tony Tinderholt, Scott Turner, Jason Villalba and Bill Zedler. And ALL Republicans.
Dallas News A national furor over Islam has touched down in the heart of North Texas, where Irving’s mayor has accused mosque leaders of creating separate laws for Muslims.
The dispute has made Mayor Beth Van Duyne a hero among a growing movement that believes Muslims are plotting to take over American culture and courts.
“It fuels anti-Islamic hysteria,” said Zia Sheikh, the Islamic Center of Irving’s imam. “Her whole point was to rile up her supporters. … People are trying to galvanize their base. The problem is we become the whipping boys.”
The mayor stands by her statements, including an interview with former Fox News host Glenn Beck last month, when she said Sheikh and other imams were “bypassing American courts” by offering to mediate disputes among their worshippers according to an Islamic code called Shariah.
This has led Van Duyne to back Rep. Jeff Leach’s bill, “American Laws for American Courts,” which would forbid judges from the already illegal practice of using foreign law in their rulings.
While the bill does not mention religion, Leach, R-Plano, has singled out the Islamic mediation panel as a “problem” it will solve. The wording is largely identical to a bill filed several years ago, pitched then as a way to stop the influence of “large populations of Middle-Easterners.”
“They’re calling me Islamophobic because I’m supporting the U.S. and Texas constitutions, and U.S. and Texas laws?” Van Duyne said, after being told that Muslims plan to protest tonight’s vote. “I’m not going to be embarrassed because I’m standing proud to be an American.”
Sheikh is a co-founder of the Islamic Tribunal, a panel of Dallas-area imams that offers to mediate disputes between Muslims for a fee. And following the CAIR-Texas spokesman, who says Muslims are above the law, man-made American law, the texas-islamic-tribunal-lawyers-appear-to-be-practicing-without-license.
Breitbart Texas has learned the four Islamic Tribunal “lawyers” in Dallas do not appear to be licensed to practice law in Texas. A search of the State Bar of Texas’ membership lookup revealed the four men are not listed as members of the Bar. Breitbart Texasconfirmed this search in a conversation with the Bar’s membership department who claimed they had no membership listing for the four individuals.
“This is how it starts,” a Breitbart.com writer warned in January, conflating the service with “vicious, misogynistic, and brutal” systems in other countries.
While the tribunal is headquartered in Dallas, blog posts around the country pegged its home as Irving: the purported ground zero in a Muslim takeover of the U.S. legal system.
Irving’s perceived link went viral with a February Facebook post, in which Van Duyne vowed to contact state legislators and “fight with every fiber of my being” if the group was violating basic rights.
Van Duyne later told The Dallas Morning News she based her comments on the Islamic Tribunal’s website, which referenced religious courts in Islamic history and called the imams “judges,” but clearly advertised itself as “a mediation and non-binding arbitration firm.”
The mayor’s stand against the tribunal made her a celebrity in online circles where the U.S. Muslim population is routinely linked without evidence to Islamic terror groups and dictatorships on other continents.
The mayor finally sat down with Muslim leaders late last month, after Sheikh asked to meet her. The imam said he was was surprised when Van Duyne brought Texas House members Rodney Anderson, R-Austin, and Matt Rinaldi, R-Austin, with her.
The mayor said Sheikh asked for an apology and retraction of her Facebook post. Sheikh said he simply “asked her to clarify a statement … which seemed very Islamophobic.”
In any case, the mayor didn’t back down. “She flat out refused,” he said. “She said, ‘my statement wasn’t inflammatory in any way, shape or form.’ ”
Rinaldi said to Sheikh, if you support this bill, it will ease a lot of tensions [and assure people] you are not here to change the system. You’re not here to change the constitution,” Sheikh said.
But it was the imam’s turn to refuse. “We don’t care about the bill,” Sheikh said. “It’s not going to affect us in any way shape or form. The bottom line is the foundation of this bill is anti-Islamic.”