Reps. Moss and Hammoud Warn Against ‘Foreign Law’ Proposal

Bill would outlaw Catholic annulments, Jewish brises and kosher delis
Thursday, April 20, 2017

LANSING — House Democratic Whip Jeremy Moss (D-Southfield) and state Rep. Abdullah Hammoud (D-Dearborn) warn that a bill recently introduced by state Rep. Michele Hoitenga (R-Manton) intended to prohibit the practice of sharia law would have widespread consequences, including banning the observance of Catholic doctrines such as annulments and Jewish halachic laws, such as those requiring circumcision for male babies or dietary restrictions.

“If it is Rep. Hoitenga’s aim to protect girls from female genital mutilation, which is already a crime, her bill does nothing to accomplish that,” Rep. Hammoud said. “There is no need to create another law to outlaw something that is already prohibited. This bill is simply a xenophobic, Islamophobic attack on Michigan’s Muslim community, which already abhors the practice of mutilation and does not want to be identified with it. It’s disappointing that Rep. Hoitenga would use this sad event to perpetuate such a harmful stereotype on our state’s Muslim community.”

Hammoud noted that no version of sharia law permits female genital mutilation, which is a cultural custom and not a religious observance. However, Hoitenga’s bill, if passed into law and enforced, would have wide-ranging and often absurd consequences. Sharia is not the only form of “foreign law” followed by religious adherents. Jewish halachic law, Catholic doctrine and other practices would also be prohibited.

“There are activists who would use this law to deny Jews the right to practice the bris ceremony — the circumcision of a male baby — by attempting to cite it as genital mutilation,” Rep. Moss said. “But beyond the intent of the bill, this proposal could end kosher slaughter of animals for Jews who observe dietary restrictions or criminalize 13-year-olds who say the blessing to drink the cup of wine during their bar mitzvah ceremony. Such a law is ludicrous, impossible to enforce, and worst of all, unconstitutional. It cannot be supported.”