South Dakota legislators this week overwhelmingly approved a law aimed at preventing Islamic law from creeping into its judicial system – a measure that supporters drafted in an effort to ward off the constitutional challenges threatening similar legislation in other states.
The measure, which is expected to be signed into law in the next two weeks by Republican Gov. Dennis Daugaard, attempts to avoid legal shoals by barring enforcement of "religious code" by U.S. courts, rather than focusing on foreign laws as other state laws have done.
Nonetheless, civil rights advocates are vowing to challenge the bill, saying it violates the First Amendment. Beyond that, critics say the South Dakota bill and similar legislation in other states unfairly stigmatize Muslims by signaling that their religious beliefs are dangerous to society and may gradually undermine American democracy.