On Thursday evening, March 19, the Irving City Council passed a resolution that expressed support for Texas House Bill 562, a proposed piece of legislation that is scheduled for its first public hearing in Austin next week. It is a bill that has been nicknamed American Laws for American Courts.
Irving’s symbolic nod was close, won only in a vote of 5 to 4. The resolution was one heated agenda item, too. It brought out an estimated 500 residents from the City of Irving in the Dallas area. The local, large Muslim population also turned out at City Hall, complaining that HB 562 was discriminatory to them because the bill codifies that US and Texas laws supersede foreign laws.
It is something that should make perfect sense — that the laws of the United States and Texas, and their respective constitutions supersede foreign law. HB 562 was authored by state Rep. Jeff Leach (R-Plano) and was coauthored by 34 other state legislators. One of them, state Rep. Matt Rinaldi (R-Irving) spoke on behalf of the bill at the meeting.
The Muslim community’s point of contention with the City’s resolution was that they felt targeted by HB 562 because of their faith; however, there was nothing in HB 562 that mentioned race, religion, or creed. Nor did Leach’s proposed legislation prevent the practice of “tribunals” where religious leaders act as arbitrators in family, business or other situations whether it be Catholic Ecclesiastical Law, Jewish Halakhah Law, or Muslim Sharia Law.
“This bill does not mention, at all, Muslims, Sharia Law, Islam, even religion. It specifically talks about foreign laws not taking precedent over US laws and those of the state of Texas,” Irving Mayor Beth Van Duyne stated during the council meeting. (Read more from “‘American Laws for American Courts’: Resolution Passed in North Texas City” HERE)