Make us your home page
Instagram

Today’s top headlines delivered to you daily.

(View our Privacy Policy)

Religious leaders condemn anti-Sharia bill

Joined by a group opposed to the foreign law bill Wednesday, Ahmed Bedier, center, president of United Voices of America, asks for a meeting with Senate President Mike Haridopolos.

SCOTT KEELER | Times

Joined by a group opposed to the foreign law bill Wednesday, Ahmed Bedier, center, president of United Voices of America, asks for a meeting with Senate President Mike Haridopolos.

TALLAHASSEE — An imam, a rabbi and a pastor walked into Senate President Mike Haridopolos' office Wednesday with two demands: Withdraw the foreign law bill they say targets Muslims, and investigate who is behind anti-Muslim booklets and fliers circulating the Senate.

Haridopolos, R-Merritt Island, presiding over a long-running Senate session, did not engage the clergy or the 20 Muslims, Christians and Jews who carpooled from around the state to protest together. The group organized after reading about the anti-Muslim booklets and flyers.

At issue is a booklet Sen. Alan Hays, R-Umatilla, delivered to fellow senators called Shari'ah Law: Radical Islam's threat to the U.S. Constitution. Hays, sponsor of SB 1360, said he gave out the booklet to educate his peers and influence the votes on a bill that would void marriage, divorce and custody contracts grounded in foreign law. The measure passed the House and is scheduled for a Senate hearing today.

Hays insists the proposal doesn't target a particular group, but protesters say the intent is obvious.

"This proves this bill is exactly what we've been saying it is. It's intended to target the Muslim community in Florida, and it's intended to target and limit religious freedoms for Muslims," said event organizer Ahmed Bedier, president of United Voices of America.

In Haridopolos' absence, Senate chief of staff Craig Meyer met privately with the clergy and with Bedier.

"The chief of staff did assure us that they will not tolerate hatred, but they also respect freedom of speech," Bedier said in a press conference after the meeting.

Haridopolos told the Times/Herald last week he supports the bill because he believes it will help protect the U.S. Constitution. But Bedier asked that the Senate not take the measure up this session because it's not a pressing issue and the booklets and fliers may influence votes.

"If senators want to debate the bill on its merits, that's fine. However, they should never resort to hatred or hate speech in order to push legislation forward," he said.

Two other fliers, both by groups that don't have websites and aren't registered lobbyists, say American life is "under attack by Islamic and sharia law," and beckons leaders to "save us!" from a society where "women have half the rights of men" and "may be beaten by their husbands."

Senate Minority Leader Nan Rich, D-Weston, condemned the fliers as "fear mongering," while the Anti-Defamation League, a Jewish advocacy group, put out a press release that says they are "troubled" by the anti-Islam materials.

Religious leaders condemn anti-Sharia bill 03/07/12 [Last modified: Wednesday, March 7, 2012 11:56pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Here kitty, kitty ...

    Blogs

    In a toned down version of the annual rookie dress-up day based on MLB's new anti-hazing policy, Rays rookie players and staff - plus second-year LHP Blake Snell - donned DJ Kitty onesies for the trip to New York.

    Rays rookie players and staff - joined here by Alex Colome - sporting their DJ Kitty onesies before the flight to New York.
  2. Pasco residents affected by Irma invited to town hall meeting

    Local Government

    NEW PORT RICHEY — Representatives from Pasco County Emergency Management and the Federal Emergency Management Agency will play host to a town hall-style meeting from 6 to 8 p.m. Monday in the first-floor boardroom of the West Pasco Government Center, 8731 Citizens Drive, New Port Richey

    Sandra Cunningham assesses the damage a water oak did to her Church Avenue home when it crashed into her bedroom roof during Hurricane Irma.
  3. Lightning's Nikita Kucherov has a lot to say — about moving on to a much better season

    Lightning Strikes

    TAMPA — Nikita Kucherov sits back in his stall and smiles.

    Laughs a little, too.

    Tampa Bay Lightning right wing Nikita Kucherov (86) prepares for a faceoff during the first period of Friday's  (9/22/17) preseason game between the Tampa Bay Lightning and the Nashville Predators at Amalie Arena in Tampa.
  4. Clearwater man shot, seriously injured

    Crime

    CLEARWATER — A shooting Sunday morning in unincorporated Clearwater left one man seriously injured, according to the Pinellas County Sheriff's Office.

  5. Mother of double amputee Ireland Nugent to lose her own lower right leg

    Human Interest

    Ever since Ireland Nugent lost both her lower legs in a lawn-mowing accident five years ago, the Clearwater girl has inspired her mother, Nicole Del Corpo-Nugent, with the courage she has shown in overcoming the tragedy.

    Nicole Del Corpo-Nugent, left, looked on as her daughter Ireland threw out the first pitch when the Tampa Bay Rays played the Houston Astros at Tropicana Field on June 22, 2014. Jerry Nugent held his daughter for the pitch. Now Nicole Del Corpo-Nugent is facing surgery to amputate her own lower right leg due to a rare infection. WILL VRAGOVIC  |  Times (2014)