Muslims can't sway lawmakers




<b>Retired Episcopal priest Joe Portor reacts to testimony Tuesday as the House Judiciary Committee discusses the Material Support to Designated Entities Act, an anti-terrorism bill that critics say unfairly targets followers of Islam. Both the House and Senate Judiciary committees approved the legislation.</b>

Retired Episcopal priest Joe Portor reacts to testimony Tuesday as the House Judiciary Committee discusses the Material Support to Designated Entities Act, an anti-terrorism bill that critics say unfairly targets followers of Islam. Both the House and Senate Judiciary committees approved the legislation. / SAMUEL M. SIMPKINS / THE TENNESSEAN
<b>Nashville residents Farha Andrabi Navaid, Yusur Kairie and Madina Ali listen to testimony concerning the anti-terror legislation, which gives the governor and state attorney general power to declare organizations to be terrorist groups.</b>

Nashville residents Farha Andrabi Navaid, Yusur Kairie and Madina Ali listen to testimony concerning the anti-terror legislation, which gives the governor and state attorney general power to declare organizations to be terrorist groups. / SAMUEL M. SIMPKINS / THE TENNESSEAN
<b>Zahra Mohamud, left, and Mohamad Ahmed attend the House Judiciary Committee vote on the Material Support to Designated Entities Act, which was later approved by both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. </b>

Zahra Mohamud, left, and Mohamad Ahmed attend the House Judiciary Committee vote on the Material Support to Designated Entities Act, which was later approved by both the House and Senate Judiciary Committees. / SAMUEL M. SIMPKINS / THE TENNESSEAN
<b>Hans Schultz, of Memphis, claps at remarks as hundreds protest House Bill 1353, legislation that Muslims say targets them.</b>

Hans Schultz, of Memphis, claps at remarks as hundreds protest House Bill 1353, legislation that Muslims say targets them. / SAMUEL M. SIMPKINS / THE TENNESSEAN
<b>Republican Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny of Tullahoma testifies about House Bill 1353.</b>
Republican Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny of Tullahoma testifies about House Bill 1353. / SAMUEL M. SIMPKINS / THE TENNESSEAN

Committees advance anti-terror legislation

By Sarah McGregor
The Tennessean
April 27, 2011
Anti-terrorism legislation that critics say unfairly targets followers of Islam survived a pair of important votes in the legislature Tuesday, moving closer to becoming law despite opposition from Muslim and civil liberties groups.
A Senate committee voted to approve the Material Support to Designated Entities Act late Tuesday, following up on an earlier vote in favor of the bill in the House. Both votes took place after hundreds of Tennessee Muslims turned out at the state Capitol for the second straight week to protest the measure.
The legislation, often referred to as the Shariah bill, gives the governor and the state attorney general the power to declare organizations to be terrorist groups. Opponents say the legislation is a thinly veiled attack on Muslims and Islamic law, or Shariah, but supporters say it is needed to give Tennessee law enforcement the means to root out domestic terrorism.
“This is a benign bill to every organization, every community in this state,” said House Speaker Pro Tempore Judd Matheny, the bill’s sponsor. “This is not a witch hunt. This is nothing but to protect ourselves where the federal government can’t or won’t.Continued

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