Tennessee bill would make it a crime to practice Sharia law
Men pray on the street before the start of the American Muslim Day Parade last year in New York.
March 6th, 2011
01:59 PM ET

Tennessee bill would make it a crime to practice Sharia law

Editor's Note: CNN’s Soledad O’Brien chronicles the dramatic fight over the construction of a mosque in the heart of the Bible belt. “Unwelcome: The Muslims Next Door," airs March 27 at 8 p.m. ET.

Murfreesboro, Tennessee, has been the epicenter of a months-long battle over the construction of a new mosque in the Nashville suburb. It's one example of many concerning Muslims in America, and how cities and communities are responding to efforts to build Islamic places of worship.

That battle got fiercer when two state lawmakers, one representing Murfreesboro, introduced legislation that would make it a felony to practice Sharia law, which includes lessons found in the Quran, the holy book of Islam, and which can inform how Muslims live their everyday lives, including prayer rituals. Many Muslims consider Sharia law to outline basic tenets of living a moral life. What is Sharia law?

State Sen. Bill Ketron, R-Murfreesboro, and state Rep. Judd Matheny, R-Tullahoma, who are backing the same bill in the Senate and House, describe Sharia law as dangerous to U.S. national security, according to the Tennessean newspaper. The bill grants Tennessee's attorney general the power to investigate complaints about anyone who might be practicing Sharia law.

The possible punishment for practicing Sharia law is 15 years behind bars.

Last year, construction equipment on the site of a planned mosque in Murfreesboro was torched, and police suspect arson. Signs on the mosque property were vandalized with spray paint reading, "Not welcome." Two other proposed Islamic centers in Tennessee stoked much controversy last year.  A Crusaders' cross was spray-painted on the side of a Nashville mosque, next to the words, "Muslims go home." In Williamson County, not far from Murfreesboro, plans to build a mosque were quashed after residents complained a turn lane into the building would be too costly. The debate over a mosque near ground zero in New York is still raging. The U.S. Justice Department supports the Murfreesboro mosque.

Tennessee isn't the first state to consider anti-Sharia law legislation. Oklahoma passed a similar bill last year. This month Missouri House Speaker Steve Tilley said he would support a bill that "maintains that U.S. law shall take precedence in U.S. courts," according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Tilley referenced a case, frequently cited in the debate concerning the Oklahoma law, in which a New Jersey judge relied on Islamic law to rule in a case involving domestic violence.

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Filed under: Missouri • Oklahoma • Politics • St. Louis • Tennessee • U.S.
soundoff (972 Responses)

    they need to make t illegal for muslims to order pizza... they never tip.. you can always tell who is truely evil by the amout they tip...

    March 6, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      LOLOLO , you slay me

      March 6, 2011 at 2:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mmmmm

      And not moment so sooner!

      March 6, 2011 at 3:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • David

      Actually, my muslim customers usually tip very well. Honestly- In my experience, the worst tippers are yuppie women and anyone with a Hummer in their driveway.

      March 6, 2011 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • goat

      It's people like you that don't deserve tips. Tips are optional, you should be thankful to get them at all. You should look at each time you don't get a tip as a reminder that it's completely optional. And look at what you're saying: People are evil if they don't give you enough money as you would like. Who is evil now?

      March 6, 2011 at 4:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Alaskan

      Anyone who doesn't tip? Yah they ARE Evil.... They got the money... We want some too! So yes people can be no tip b stards

      Also most jobs that allow tips are low paying as he'll soo yah some people live off their tips like my wife did.... So let's stay on topic GOAT.... Muslim law in America no tips = absolute evil

      March 6, 2011 at 5:13 pm | Report abuse |
    • Aarrgghh

      Alaska: the same can and should be said of Catholic law, Jewish law, Christian law, Buddhist law, Confucius Law and any other mythologies laws. Oh wait it is... No religion (mythology) can supersede the laws of our land.

      March 7, 2011 at 8:06 am | Report abuse |
  2. jeff

    so it's illegal now to NOT commit theft or fraud or murder in tennessee? hmm..

    March 6, 2011 at 2:46 pm | Report abuse |
  3. steve

    The so called people on these comment boards try to be "cute". In essence, they are appear to be either drunk or drug prone.
    Sad. Better go to another comment section. Preferabley the "HEAD BANGER'S BALL" one!

    March 6, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Laugh and you'll add 10 yrs to your life , loosen up Steven BONG AWAY

      March 6, 2011 at 2:50 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Dede

    Esther, we have and and we are taking our country back.

    March 6, 2011 at 2:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Waytogo

      Who and what are we taking it back from? I never knew someone had taken it.

      March 6, 2011 at 6:42 pm | Report abuse |
    • Me

      Shouldn't you say we need to give the country back, since it wasn't ours to begin with.

      March 6, 2011 at 7:02 pm | Report abuse |

      oh yeah it is... we stole it fair and square and legal like from the indians..

      March 6, 2011 at 7:18 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      do you FB , I wold love to see what you look like , but it may ruin the vision i have of you , don't misunderstand it's not meant to be an insult

      March 6, 2011 at 7:31 pm | Report abuse |

      I always FB=fry baloney before i make it into a sandwhich

      March 6, 2011 at 7:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      Ruffnutt Thorston from FB

      March 6, 2011 at 7:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • faye

      to who? the Native Americans we took it from?

      March 7, 2011 at 12:45 am | Report abuse |
    • Chitown Jason

      Unless you're a Native American fighting for freedom against the USA, I have absolutely no idea what you are talking about and I think you don't know either.

      March 7, 2011 at 2:24 am | Report abuse |
    • Aarrgghh

      to 1763....? Just remember back then this country did not allow women to do or say anything without a mans approval. You know, cause their Catholic laws said so.

      March 7, 2011 at 7:56 am | Report abuse |
    • taking our country back

      wow are we going to return it to the people we took it from .

      March 7, 2011 at 1:36 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mattmchugh

      So "Dede" is a Souix name? Mohawk? Algonquin? Delaware?

      March 8, 2011 at 8:00 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Keksi

    Scientology is still legal?

    March 6, 2011 at 2:49 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      I have know idea who they are to make any judgement , they are soooo secretive

      March 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • USA#1

      @Mary – it's I have NO idea, sweetie.

      March 6, 2011 at 3:21 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Bluboy

    This is awesome. You go Tennessee! All 50 states should do this!

    March 6, 2011 at 2:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • USA#1

      It just takes one brave state and the others will follow. It's about time too. If Muslim's want to live in the USA, then they better be prepared to live with our laws. You try taking American laws over to Iran or Yemen and see how far you get. Mary, that might be something you should try then let us all know how it worked out for ya. Have a great trip Mary!

      March 6, 2011 at 3:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      @ Bluboy For one i would end up CAPPING Ahamadinejad and Yemen were Osama is from would have to be overthrown , now if you want me to do all that for ya i want to get PAID

      March 6, 2011 at 3:38 pm | Report abuse |

      Good grief Bluboy(or Phunnie boy),are you trying to be funny? I bet you are!

      March 6, 2011 at 5:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • Waterfront

      YAHOO, SOMEONE with BRAINS on this FORUM ! Go Bluboy ! More Americans are behind you on this issue then the ones who have "NONSENSE" to say.

      March 6, 2011 at 10:35 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Mmmmm

    CNN stop censoring me you pig haters!

    March 6, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Ramon F Herrera

      The following is contained in the CNN FAQ:

      "Anybody who disagrees with the CNN editorial lines or forum policies, can go to Faux themselves:

      www. foxnews. com

      March 6, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  8. dick johnson

    Man they look stupid.

    March 6, 2011 at 2:52 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jimmy Dong

      They look like human beings, just like the rest of us.

      BTW, nice name you got there.

      March 6, 2011 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Bluboy

    Look at this moron's on the street. The military should come in and fly their blackhawks over them and toss napalm on these idiots.

    March 6, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Brian

      Your ignorance is EXACTLY the type that allows our country to fall to the current state of ignorance and corruption...sad.

      March 6, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • USA#1

      @Bluboy – you have a point. Let thousands of Jews block the streets in prayer and see how long it takes for the authorities to move in and remove them. But since it's Muslim's.........no one will touch it. Everyone is afraid of these Muslim's – everyone except Tennessee. Muslim's are like; we are here and in your face. All I can say to the Muslim's that want to follow Sharia while in the USA is GTFO of America and go back to your stone and mud homes and have a good life.

      March 6, 2011 at 3:32 pm | Report abuse |
    • Waterfront

      That's right Bluboy ! You go, I hear you and I AGREE with you ! Blow off the planet.

      March 6, 2011 at 10:36 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Observer

    How would this survive the Second Amendment? What ever became of the United States having freedom of religion?

    March 6, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
    • Dede

      Wrong Amendment.

      March 6, 2011 at 2:56 pm | Report abuse |
    • jay

      first amendment, you mean how will it survive the first amendment.

      March 6, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |
    • Observer


      Thanks for the correction.

      March 6, 2011 at 3:28 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Pelle Schultz

    The fact that this needs a specific law is laughable. Stirring up the fears of the god, guns and gays crowd has been political gold for the GOP...and it will be until the (formerly) lower-middle class whites who respond to this stuff start starving and dying of treatable illness because they can't afford medical care.

    March 6, 2011 at 2:53 pm | Report abuse |
  12. David Scott


    March 6, 2011 at 2:54 pm | Report abuse |
    • Waterfront

      Ha Ha Ha YOU ARE TOO FUNNY ! The DEMO-CRAPS (oh, wait I have to wipe on that one) LMAO ! Your Anger is showing now...Calm down, take a deep breath....Breath.....Breath.....Now drop dead ! LOL

      March 6, 2011 at 10:38 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Ramon F Herrera

    Memphis, Tennessee, pride of America, the city with the dubious honors where:

    – The KKK held their first convention.
    – The Tea Party held their first convention.
    – MLK was assassinated.

    March 6, 2011 at 2:57 pm | Report abuse |

      hows the schools and job market there? and do they tip good?

      March 6, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • Name*joe

      They had some great college teams though

      March 6, 2011 at 3:34 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mary

      AWWW, your so right forgot about that , good one

      March 6, 2011 at 4:04 pm | Report abuse |
    • kevinmichelson

      I believe the first Tea Party Convention was in Nashville. And the schools in Nashville suburbs are very good, some of the best in the country... (Williamson County in particular)

      Of course, those of us who have moved here from somewhere else have to put up with our elected officials pushing laws that pander to their fearful base rather than work on something that will help the state. Boggles the mind how some of these people can stay in office.

      March 6, 2011 at 5:26 pm | Report abuse |
    • auctioneer


      March 6, 2011 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jack

    down with those Jews causing all of the world's problems in the name of Islam religion of peace

    March 6, 2011 at 2:58 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Chipps

    From this angle it looks like they all have their heads up each others asses. How ironic.

    March 6, 2011 at 2:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • mar1961

      Hey chipps, maybe if they would sniff a womens ass instead of another guys ass the would be less aggressive. I said maybe, I dont understand, they kill gays, but they go smell eachothers ass and feet, wow what a religion

      March 6, 2011 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
    • Waterfront

      I agree with Mar1961 ! Very wise smart person, I too never understood them sniffing each other butt-holes ! Damn that is plain nasty....

      March 6, 2011 at 10:40 pm | Report abuse |
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