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Saeed Khan, a lecturer in Islamic and Middle Eastern history, politics and culture at Wayne State University in Detroit, called the Michigan legislation a sign of “bigotry and being a bully.” He said many in Michigan’s Muslim community were shocked that such a thing would arise, given the solid relationships built within the state.

“The community has thought that because of its longevity in Michigan, the fact that it has been such a productive and integrated part of the greater society, that for this attack to occur, for it to be targeted in such a particularly way — it’s a false issue in that none of the community members have ever tried to assert the codification of Shariah within the legal system. The community recognizes that many of the principles of Shariah are already addressed or accommodated in state and federal law.”

Mr. Khan argued that much of the drive behind the anti-Shariah statutes was fear of the changing American demographics and the rising prominence of minority groups. While Hispanics, blacks and gays have gained a certain amount of political and social capital over the years, the relatively small Muslim community is an easy target, he said.

“The music has proverbially stopped and the only community that is without a chair is the Muslim-American community,” he said. “It seems to me that a moral panic has set into the country. It is on its way to this irreversible demographic shift. To call someone the ‘M-word’ has replaced the old ‘N-word.’ Muslim-Americans are easy targets in cheap victories.”

Mr. Holton and other supporters of the laws, however, argue that state legislatures have a proper role in defining what policy should be when foreign laws are introduced into state courts. No explicit public policy exists in most state legislatures, he said.

“The case law speaks for itself,” said Stephen Gele, a spokesman for the American Public Policy Alliance and a lawyer practicing in Louisiana. His group is working with state legislatures on the passage of the American Laws for American Courtsbills.

“People should encourage the passage of the [bill] because it protects all Americans from foreign laws or foreign judgments,” he said, encouraging those who may have questions to take time to read the language of those bills.

Too much emotional noise and outrage, he said, have kept people from understanding the legislation.

“I do not believe people should be concerned about the act in the sense that it is discriminatory against any particular religion or that it will lessen anyone’s constitutional rights,” Mr. Gele said. “The arguments that are made against [American Laws for American Courts] are simply refuted by review of the language of the act, which is facially neutral, and explicitly supports constitutional rights including free exercise of religion and the nonestablishment of religion by the government.”