Update: Tuesday, April 19 at 6:15 p.m.:
The House Tuesday endorsed legislation designed to limit the use of international law in state courts.
House members approved the bill 99-53. It needs another vote in the House before moving to the Senate.
Under the legislation, court decisions would be void if they TMre based on a foreign legal code that does not offer the same protections as the Missouri and U.S. constitutions.
The bill TMs sponsor said a law developed in another country should not be used as a basis to restrict the constitutional rights of people in Missouri.
Critics say the legislation could make it more difficult for Missouri businesses to enter contracts with firms from other countries.
There's no evidence that it's happening in Missouri, but two lawmakers want to make sure it never will.They have proposed legislation aimed at preventing Missouri courts from applying laws from foreign countries and those based on Sharia, the Islamic religious law.Republican Rep. Don Wells, of Cabool, says his measure is necessary because the Islamic legal system is spreading and could threaten Missouri. Rep. Paul Curtman's bill takes a broader approach to banning the application of foreign laws in Missouri courts. Similar measures have been considered in a handful of other states.Critics call both measures bigoted and unnecessary and say Muslims in America are in a constant state of trying to defend themselves.It TMs a bill that TMs being pushed by ignorant people that know nothing about Islam," Jamilah Nasheed, a St. Louis Democrat who is Muslim, told the Kansas City Star.Wells' measure specifically bars judicial consideration of Sharia law, or Islamic religious law.Curtman, from Pacific, said his bill would prevent judges from ruling on cases using laws from outside the United States.The debate in Missouri is happening as hearings in Washington, D.C. look into homegrown terrorist and Muslims.
Congressman Peter King, (R) New York, says the hearings into homegrown terror are aimed at shedding light on what he calls a part of "al-Qaida's strategy to continue attacking the United States."
King says al-Qaida is trying to recruit young Americans to attack the United States, and the American Muslim community isn't doing enough to speak out or help police. His comments have offended some Muslims.
"There's a very strong vocal minority in the U.S. that hate Muslims," said Zak Dehlawi, Maryland resident.
The top Democrat on the panel, Bennie Thompson of Mississippi, said he thinks the hearing, and its focus on Muslims, could be used to inspire terrorists.
Minnesota Democrat Keith Ellison, who is one of only 2 Muslims in Congress, was one of the loudest critics of the hearings.
Ellison broke down in tears as he told the story of New York paramedic Mohammed Hamdani who was called a hero on September 11th, and later branded a terrorist because of his faith."Some people spread false rumors and speculated that he was in league with the attackers only because he was Muslim," Ellison said, saying that since 9/11, Muslim-Americans have been 'singled out'.
Also at the hearing, a man whose son is accused of killing an Army private at an Arkansas recruiting station told the panel that his son was "manipulated and lied to" by radical elements in the Muslim community.What do you think? Does Missouri need a law against the Islamic religious code?(The Associate Press and CBS News contributed to this story)