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Sponsors of Islamophobic Legislation Have Anti-Immigrant and White Nationalist Ties


Guest Blogger • Jun 02, 2011

By Jerry Higgins

Oklahoma Rep. Sally Kern

Much has been written in recent months about the wave of anti-sharia legislation being introduced across the United States.

Seventeen states have introduced bills or resolutions aimed at curbing sharia law in this country. Currently two states have passed such laws, Tennessee and Louisiana. Three more have had such bills introduced but have defeated them, Utah, Mississippi and Florida. Of the remaining twelve two are effectively dead, AR SB97 and WY HJ8; three more are unlikely to be acted on in the next session, IN HJR16, GA HB45 and AK HB 88; and of the final six only two have been passed by the by the House and are currently in committee, KS HB 2087 and OK HB1552.

A further one has been passed by a committee, SD HJR 1004; and the remaining three are currently in committee, SC SB 444, NE LB 647 and TX HB 911.

The Public Policy Alliance claims that the laws passed in Tennessee and Louisiana are based on the draft law prepared on its (Public Policy Alliance) behalf by the Law Offices of David Yerushalmi. In February, Mother Jones published an article outlining Yerushalmi’s links to white nationalism and reported that he called for a war against Islam and all Muslims.

The sponsors of two of the bills, Sally Kern in Oklahoma and Leo Berman in Texas, are also members of the group State Legislators for Legal Immigration (SLLI). SLLI is a coalition of anti-immigrant state-elected officials. The SLLI is the legislative arm of the John Tanton Network, a web of controversial anti-immigrant organizations founded or funded by white nationalist John Tanton.

Leo Berman is a member of the Texas House of Representatives who is well known for having anti-immigrant views, including claiming that undocumented immigrants were responsible for bringing the plague, amongst other diseases,  to the United States.

Sally Kern is a member of the Oklahoma House of Representatives who hit the headlines in 2008 for her comments about homosexuality. She claimed that gay men and women are more of a threat to the United States than terrorism or Islam, managing to insult both gay people and Muslims. She made headlines again earlier this year when she claimed that “[she] saw a lot of people of color who didn’t study hard because they said the government would take care of them.” She has also said that women deserve to earn less than men because women want more leisure time.

The links between these anti-sharia laws and anti-immigrant groups and individuals is troubling to say the least.

These laws are aimed at one group of people who according to the CIA Factbook account for 0.6% of the total US population. The United States was built on a promise of freedom from persecution. It seems now that certain people want to go back on that promise.

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