Written by Don Byrd

Religious and civil liberties groups are encouraging Kansas Governor Sam Brownback not to sign a bill passed by the legislature seeming to target Islamic Sharia law.

The measure bans Kansas courts and administrative agencies from basing rulings on foreign laws or legal systems.

It doesn’t mention Sharia law, but several senators said that was their concern.

But state Sen. Tim Owens, R-Overland Park, said the bill was unnecessary because courts already are ruled by United State laws and the U.S. Constitution. He said the bill was based on intolerance and fear and would make people think only those with a Christian, religious-right perspective were welcome in Kansas.

[Council on American-Islamic Relations Director Nihad] Awad said the legislation could infringe on the right to choose Islamic marriage contracts, implement Islamic wills or to be buried according to one’s religious beliefs. It could also negatively impact the validation of international adoptions and foreign marriages.

Baptist Joint Committee Counsel Holly Hollman discussed the issue of fear-driven anti-Sharia legislation last year. The 10th Circuit invalidated an Oklahoma bill specifically targeting Sharia several months ago.