ADL OPPOSES BILL PROHIBITING PENNSYLVANIA COURTS FROM CONSIDERING ANY "FOREIGN LEGAL CODE OR SYSTEM"
Date: December 14, 2011
In a joint press release with the Philadelphia ADL office, the Ohio/Kentucky/Allegheny Regional Office opposed Pennsylvania House Legislation which it considers part of a national trend of anti-Shari’a activity that feeds on a general fear of Muslims and the inaccurate belief that Islamic law is infiltrating the American court system.
Pennsylvania House Bill 2029 attempts to restrict the application of foreign law that does not grant the same basic rights as the federal and state constitutions. The proposed language is similar to bills filed in in other states. “This bill attempts to address a problem that simply does not exist. There is no documented evidence of American courts unconstitutionally applying foreign or religious law.
"This bill is wholly unnecessary” said Barry Morrison, ADL Regional Director for Eastern Pennsylvania/Delaware/Southern New Jersey. “At best, HB 2029 is redundant; at worst, it could violate the constitutional rights of those in many religious communities” he added. The United States and Pennsylvania Constitutions already prohibit courts from using or applying religious law in any way that would result in government advance, endorsement or entanglement with religion. Different religious groups in the United States regularly use religious-based arbitrators to resolve all kinds of disputes. “This proposed legislation would jeopardize those decisions and restrict the use of this process for many Americans. It is an infringement on the religious freedom of all Pennsylvanians” said Nina Sundell, ADL Regional Director for the Ohio/Kentucky/Allegheny Region.