DALLAS (CN) - Muslims are criticizing a Dallas-area suburb for its support of a bill before the Texas Legislature that they believe targets their faith and Sharia law tribunals.
In a 5-4 vote, the Irving City Council on Thursday approved a resolution in support of Texas House Bill 562 . Filed by state Rep. Jeff Leach, R-Plano, the bill seeks to invalidate rulings by a "court, arbitrator, or administrative adjudicator" in marriage, divorce or parent-child matters that are based on foreign law "if the application of that law would violate a fundamental right" under the U.S. Constitution or Texas Constitution.
Dozens of Muslim residents told the council they disapprove of the measure, CBS-affiliate KTVT reported.
"I think it's the most disgraceful day in the city of Irving," Omar Suleiman said. "The elephant in the room is that it's the anti-Sharia bill."
Other Muslims in attendance believed the resolution is in response to a new Sharia law tribunal that is based in Irving.
Mayor Beth Van Duyne defended the resolution, saying the bill "does not mention at all Muslims, Sharia law, Islam, even religion."
Supporters of the resolution argue HB 562 does not stop Sharia law tribunals or tribunals of other faiths from continuing to act as non-binding arbitrators in resolving disputes.
Van Duyne told the council it is important to unite behind federal and state laws.
"Respect them, obey them, embrace them," she said.
The resolution passed one month after Van Duyne told conservative commentator Glenn Beck of her opposition to the new Sharia law tribunal in the city. She disputed rumors that the city "somehow condoned, approved or enacted the implementation" of the tribunal in Irving, according to a letter posted on Beck's Facebook profile.
Van Duyne said the United States "cannot be so overly sensitive in defending other cultures that we stop protecting our own."
She added: "Texas Supreme Court precedent does not allow the application of foreign law that violates public policy, statutory, or federal laws. However, now that this issue has emerged in our community, I am working with our state representatives on legislation to clarify and strengthen existing prohibitions on the application of foreign law in violation of constitutional or statutory rights."
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