Religious references removed from bill some deem anti-Islam

Tuesday, March 22, 2011 at 1:08pm

The Republican sponsors of state legislation that critics have branded anti-Islam announced Tuesday they have removed all references to religion from the measure.

Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, and Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, said they will amend their bill to make it clear it is an “anti-terrorism bill aimed at curbing the incidence of homegrown terrorist acts in the state before they occur.” Their amendment “ensures an even-handed and non-discriminatory approach.”

“As amended, this bill has absolutely no references to any specific religion,” said Matheny, who is the House speaker pro tempore. “It is about protecting our citizens from those who would use religious doctrine as a justification to commit criminal activities or terrorist acts.”

A coalition of civil rights and faith-based groups had called on lawmakers to withdraw the measure, which they said would make it a crime to follow the Islamic code known as Sharia.

Gadeir Abbas, an attorney with the Council on American-Islamic Relations, said the legislation would make it illegal to donate to Muslim organizations or help paint a mosque.

Under the bill, the director of Tennessee’s Office of Homeland Security can recommend that the state attorney general designate a terrorist entity. Once the designation is made, it becomes a state crime to give money to the group.

“The amendment provides a powerful counterterrorism tool to state and local law enforcement, enabling them to act decisively before acts of terrorism are committed,” Matheny said. “We have to get it right every time; they only have to get it right once. So far, I have received positive feedback regarding the revised amendment from those in my community who were concerned about the bill.”

6 Comments on this post:

By: LFCRed on 3/22/11 at 2:42

Bill, thought you had a Poli Sci degree? What part of "the US Constitution is the supreme law of the land" don't you understand? I guess grandstanding is easier than REAL economic growth & develop for your district (no, the hokey amusement park in Spring Hill doesn't count)!

"Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy." Benjamin Franklin

By: LFCRed on 3/22/11 at 2:43

*development
"Beer is proof God loves us and wants us to be happy." Benjamin Franklin

By: TITAN1 on 3/23/11 at 8:18

I'll show respect for Senator Ketron, especially since he lost his father just last week.

Beer is proof God loves us? I don't think so.

By: Captain Nemo on 3/23/11 at 10:34

God works in mysteries ways.

By: oldebloke on 3/23/11 at 6:40

I think ALL religious references or preference should be permanently removed from all laws and regulations in the US, all 50 states and all cities, counties and parishes thereunder. This includes Sunday Blue laws, for example. It would take several months to clean up the mess that is on the books now because of past actions.

By: global_citizen on 3/24/11 at 11:20

Beer making us happy is no mystery at all.