A story appearing on Facebook repeated talk of Donald Trump’s 2015 proposed ban on Muslim immigrants but went too far in including a claim that the majority of U.S. states have banned Sharia law.
"Just in: 45 states just banned Sharia law," said a Feb. 6 headline on viralusa.org.
Sharia law is a wide-ranging set of rules that govern aspects of Islamic life, including religious practice, daily living, and financial dealings.
Facebook users flagged the post as being potentially fabricated, as part of the social network’s efforts to combat fake news. We found that the majority of states have not imposed such a ban. While the headline is a hoax meant to drive page views, some of the quotes in the article related to Trump’s proposed ban are accurate.
We have been tracking Trump’s promise "for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims" entering the U.S. and rated his efforts, which have been bogged down in litigation, Stalled.
The viralusa.org story that followed the headline makes no mention of states banning Sharia law. Instead, the brief story focused on Trump’s effort to ban Muslims.
The story repeated a quote by Trump about the Muslim ban:
"Donald J. Trump is calling for a total and complete shutdown of Muslims entering the United States until our country’s representatives can figure out what the hell is going on," he said.
The story on viralusa.org didn’t explain the setting when Trump made that quote: he said it at a rally in Mount Pleasant, S.C., on Dec. 7, 2015 pointing to a statement he made earlier that day.
Viralusa.org then posted the response by U.S. Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C. who said on CNN "you know how you make American great again? Tell Donald Trump to go to hell."
The story also quoted a reply from Ben Carson: "We do not discriminate on people based on religion" -- again, a real quote from CNN.
(Graham and Carson were among Trump’s rivals in the GOP primary at the time.)
While the vast majority of states haven’t banned Sharia law, 11 states -- Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, Louisiana, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Washington -- enacted legislation regarding the application of foreign or religious law in state courts in recent years, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
These state laws generally ban the application of foreign laws if it violates a person’s fundamental rights such as freedom of religion or speech.
Additionally, Texas adopted a law that requires the Texas Supreme Court to adopt rules and provide judicial instruction regarding the application of foreign laws in certain family law cases.
Though most of the laws don’t expressly ban Sharia law, critics say that they could be viewed as anti-Muslim.
In reality the practice of using foreign law in state courts is not uncommon and generally not controversial, experts told PolitiFact Florida in 2014. For example, parties in international contracts frequently agree to apply a specific foreign country’s law to govern their agreements.
A headline said that "45 states just banned Sharia law," but the story itself contained no information about any such state bans. While there have been some states that have enacted legislation to ban the use of foreign law, at least in some circumstances, it’s a gross exaggeration to say that the majority of states have banned Sharia law.
We rate this claim Pants on Fire.