‘Will Islamic law ever be a part of the U.S. legal system?’ - Aug. 22 discussion at First Amendment Center

Aug 17, 2011 at 12:44 pm by bryan

A discussion of the potential application of Islamic law in the United States, and proposals to limit or prevent that possibility, will be held at 7:30 p.m. CT, Monday, Aug. 22, at the First Amendment Center, 1207 18th Ave. South, Nashville.

Earlier this year, at least 13 states – including Tennessee – had legislative measures filed that would bar judges from considering Sharia law in legal decisions, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.


Advocates for such measures warn against any application of Islam’s religious tenets in the U.S. legal system. Opponents say such laws are not needed and that the proposals simply reflect an out-of-control “Islamaphobia” aimed at restricting the presence and religious beliefs of Muslims.

 Panel members for the discussion will include:

 -          Bill Warner, founder and director of the Center for the Study of Political Islam (CSPI).

-          Hedy Weinberg, executive director of the American Civil Liberties Union in Tennessee.

Gene Policinski, senior vice president/executive director of the First Amendment Center, will moderate the discussion. Other panel members may be added.

There is no charge for admission, but there is limited seating. To reserve a seat, call 615-727-1333, no later than noon, Monday, Aug. 22. Limited parking is available across from the Seigenthaler Center, on the first floor only of the parking garage.

The forum is being held in cooperation with the School of Journalism at Middle Tennessee State University, which is hosting a conference for journalists on “Covering Islam in the Bible Belt” at the First Amendment Center. The three-day conference, which features veteran reporters and experts in Islamic history and culture, is intended to provide journalists with resources to help them report on issues involving Muslim communities. The McCormick Foundation is funding the conference, one of six Specialized Reporting Institutes in 2011. 

The First Amendment Center, with offices at Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tenn., and Washington, D.C., is an operating program of the Freedom Forum and is associated with the Newseum and the Diversity Institute. Its affiliation with Vanderbilt University is through the Vanderbilt Institute for Public Policy Studies. Its offices on the Vanderbilt campus are in the John Seigenthaler Center.

The center’s programs provide education and information to the public and groups including First Amendment scholars and experts, educators, government policy makers, legal experts and students. The center is nonpartisan and does not lobby or litigate.

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