Tennessee bill would make following Shariah a felony

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) – Tennessee is considering making it a felony to follow some versions of the Islamic code known as Shariah, the most severe measure yet put forth by a national movement whose members believe extremist Muslims want Shariah to supersede the Constitution.

The bill – drawn up by conservatives with ties to opponents of a planned Islamic center two blocks from New York City’s ground zero and efforts to expand a mosque 30 miles southeast of Nashville – would face steep constitutional hurdles if enacted.

Nevertheless, it represents the boldest legislative attempt yet to limit how Muslims worship.

Muslim groups fear the measure would outlaw central tenets of Islam, such as praying five times a day toward Mecca, abstaining from alcohol or fasting for Ramadan.

“This is an anti-Muslim bill that makes it illegal to be a Muslim in the state of Tennessee,” said Remziya Suleyman, policy coordinator for the Tennessee Immigrant and Refugee Rights Coalition.

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