Here on this site we have always maintained that freedom for Muslims means forcing all of us under Â Islamic ‘law’- the sharia.
Muslims rally at Tennessee Capitol to protest legislation The Tennessean, April 20 (hat tip Atlas Shrugs)
Several hundred Muslims thronged the state Capitol on Tuesday in protest of legislation that they say takes aim at their religious beliefs, calling on the bill to be defeated.
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Muslims from across the state â€” many wearing traditional skullcaps and headscarves â€”Â packedÂ a committee room and corridors to hear testimony on a bill that supporters say would help Tennessee stop terrorist plots but opponents believe singles out Muslims who adhere to Islamic law.
They urged lawmakers to withdraw the bill, or at least to delay it until it can be rewritten so that groupsÂ labeledÂ as terrorist organizations can protest theÂ designationÂ before they are forced to shut down.
“These are issues for any group,” said Nadeem Siddiqi, a native Knoxville resident who traveled to Nashville to speak against the bill. “The United States of America is known for its freedoms, known for due process, known for a fair system, and to be able to have a few individuals in a state of panic create this kind of risk to civil society is just inappropriate.”
Incredible they can equate American freedom with the brutal oppression of sharia.
The gathering, which was put together by mosques and Muslim civic groups around the state, comes in response to legislation that originally criticized Shariah, the basic set of Muslim religious laws governing everything from warfare and criminal punishments to prayer preparations and family matters.
The first version of the bill, which was written by an Arizona organization critical of Islam,Â labeledÂ Shariah “a legal-political-military doctrine and system” that requires its followers to support the overthrow of the United States government. Several Muslims who turned out Tuesday said that is a distortion.
“People have this idea that Shariah is just chopping people’s hands, but Shariah is a way of life for us,” said Arshia Shah, a lawyer originally from Britain who now lives in Sparta and came to the Capitol with her husband and two daughters. “It’s prayer. It’s how we deal with our spouses. And to tell people that they can’t practice this â€” that they’re doing something wrong â€” is a great concern.”
The bill has since been amended to remove all references to Shariah and Islam.
What is left is legislation, known formally as the Material Support to Designated Entities Act, that would let the governor and the state attorney general label groups as terrorist organizations.
Once designated, a group’s financial assets could be frozen and its contributors could face criminal penalties.
The bill’s sponsors, House Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, and state Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, say the bill gives Tennessee law enforcement agencies the ability to disrupt terrorist plots. They also say it could be used to disrupt street gangs and neo-Nazi groups, as well as terrorist organizations.
“I think it’s a good bill,” Ketron said. “They say it’s duplicative because it mirrorsÂ the PatriotÂ Act on the federal level, but local law enforcement see and hear what’s going on locally.”
Muslim organizations have been opposed to the legislation from the outset, but Tuesday was the first time they turned out in large numbers, drawing a crowd that rivaled those brought to the Capitol by labor and teachers organizations earlier this session.