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Islamic Law in Oklahoma? Vote to Bar Sharia May Be on Fall Ballot

5 years ago
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Oklahoma sure doesn't seem like the kind of place where the Islamic law code known as Sharia might take over. With just 30,000 Muslims out a population of nearly 3.7 million, and a whole wheat, corn-fed reputation that inspired the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical, Oklahoma is about as far from Saudi Arabia -- one Muslim country that follows a strict version of Sharia -- as you can get.

But legislators in the Sooner State figure you can never be too careful. Hence their push to put a question on November's ballot that would ask voters to make state courts rely on federal and state laws when deciding cases and forbid the courts from using international law or Sharia law when making rulings.

"Sharia law coming to the U.S. is a scary concept," state Sen. Anthony Sykes, a Republican who co-authored one proposal, dubbed the "Save Our State" amendment, told The Edmond Sun. "Hopefully the passage of this constitutional amendment will prevent it in Oklahoma."

Oklahoma state capitolThe prospect seems pretty remote, but state lawmakers cited some countries, such as Great Britain, where courts are recognizing Islamic laws to settle disputes among Muslims, though the jurisdiction and scope of such laws is limited.

"It is a cancer upon the survivability of the U[nited] K[ingdom]," state Rep. Rex Duncan, primary author of State Question 755, the ballot initiative, told The Sun. "SQ 755 will constitute a pre-emptive strike against Sharia law coming to Oklahoma."

Other lawmakers spoke of a coming "onslaught" of Sharia cases, and suggested other states would follow Oklahoma's first-in-the-nation example.

But Islamic advocacy groups were decidedly less enthusiastic about the prospect of the ballot initiative, which is undergoing some editing by the state attorney general to make it comply with Oklahoma laws (the secular ones).

"This is just the flip side of the anti-Semitic coin," said Ibrahim Hooper, spokesman for the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Anti-Islam rhetoric is approaching "Nazi-like" levels, Hooper said.

Sharia law defines a Muslim's duties to God and to others, including social transactions and business, penal and family relationships. It is derived from numerous sources, but is not a single code of laws and is open to interpretation, though it is generally associated in the West with a draconian strictness.

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The laws of this country apply to all, regardless of religous background, NO EXEPTIONS, the seperation of (church, synagog, temple,) and state is one of the corner stones of our culture. American culture and laws are the envy of every free thinking person on the planet. Why would we want to change a thing? As an imigrant who has assimilated into this great country I hope we never do. God bless America and all her people.

June 13 2010 at 9:01 PM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply

The statute in question may never make it through the courts because it may violate the First Amendment protection against preventing the free exercise of religion. If it does, more problems loom. The "pre-emptive strike" may have "collateral damage." Giving Oklahoma judges a statute preventing them from using Sharia law because it's religious may come back at us under non-discrimination by refusing to recognize a Christian's religious convictions as validating his or her actions. This just sets up Christian parents who practice corporal discipline (spanking) for child-abuse sentences because ONLY secular laws can be used.

June 13 2010 at 3:47 PM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply

People keep referring to Canada and sharia law and while I can only speak for Ontario and don't have time to do the research right now, this is not the fact of the matter here.

When the suggestion was put forward all religious based 'courts' were deemed to not be valid, in the case of some it was no longer valid, but not valid over and above Canadian law none the less.

I suppose that people could choose to still follow those laws but it would be their choice and those who didn't wish to, like many of the Muslims who were VERY vocal that sharia law was evil and should never be permitted, didn't have to. I suppose it would be reasonable to expect some people, mostly females, may not have much choice due to lack of freedom from a controlling family and community child marriages and stoning would not be permitted. Violence inside the home would require someone to speak up and there's the rub. I know a number of nurses who help with support numbers when asked by Muslim women and children and a number of women who work in safe environments who have helped Muslim women escape with their children. Once they are out they are protected by Canadian law and that cannot be questioned due to some clerics take on his holy book of choice. Oh, and before any chooses to make this a slam against Muslims these same women have helped others of ALL faiths.

Should Sharia law be validated by any country then even the people who are Muslim but want to live a more moderate form of their faith would be faced with far fewer options and possibly be forced to flee from the authorities currently supporting non-faith based laws. Yikes, there's a book/movie in there somewhere.

Anyway, it's a commonly held belief that in the last election Dalton, the tax mad fiend that he is, got reelected simply because the conservatives came out in favour of faith based courts. He REALLY shouldn't have listened when that was put forward as a good platform idea.

So far it appears that any further special privileges that any religion seeks is bringing the somewhat silent majority to clear it's collective throats and speak up. Sharia law is unlikely here any time soon and there's been quite a bit of chat about less tax money going to support schools with a religious agenda.

Anyway, folks, every time you get your panties in a bunch over something try not to turn your eyes north without doing some research. We all love "Blame Canada" but it's satire, just so you know. If you have to blame us for something well, we are the largest supplier of oil to the US. Ain't we bad.


June 13 2010 at 3:18 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

What kind of chaos does this invite, to have courts established throughout America that would follow the religious beliefs of every different religion practiced here? Seems to me it would lead to all kinds of injustice, with a defendant choosing those laws that would most benefit their case. Really, America, do you want to see a woman being stoned to death on your street corner because she happened to walk through a doorway with some male who was not her relative? Let's get a grip........America has its' laws, as does every other country. We adjudicate according to our laws, and they do the same in their country.

June 13 2010 at 2:50 PM Report abuse +4 rate up rate down Reply

wait... I thought we had freedom to practice our religions as they are written, even if they aren't Christianity or Catholicism. Mormons can practice their made up religion but giant groups of people can't have religious equality because of where they are from, even when their holy book is older than most other books in the world. So why can an obviously fake made up religion exist here (private laws and all) and then a real religion like Islam and other foreign religions get bashed and restricted? Mormons are Americans. Grow up and let other people worship who they wish and FOLLOW THEIR RELIGIONS LAWS. What if they told Jews they must eat pork or people they had to have amputations even if it was against their way of life. This is more bs trying to taint good wholesome American minds. I am a white man and if I can realize unfairness and double-standards then why can't others in my position. America=Land of the Racists

June 13 2010 at 11:32 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Good for Oklahoma. I will be contacting my representative to support this law.

June 13 2010 at 10:34 AM Report abuse +2 rate up rate down Reply

we should be baring sharia...can anyone imaging us trying to apply american law to americans in any islamic country?? take the kissing couple...thats not a crime yet the english cant apply their law...if you live here...its american law or none...i dont see letting the men get away with killing their daughters if they are raped..and letting the rapist go...and that is .......sharia law.. also...divorcingh their wives with a wave of their hand and taking the kids.. do you want that applied in this country even if its in the islamic community. i am tired of being the one to overlook or comply with every immegrant whims...i want to stand my ground ...THIS IS AMERICA...IF YOU CANT LIVE BY OUR LAWS...GO BACK TO YOUR ORIGINAL COUNTRY AND STAY THERE...

June 12 2010 at 9:40 PM Report abuse +11 rate up rate down Reply

Separation of church and state. No need to implement laws banning religious courts- it's already on the books. Separation of church and state. We are a non-denominational country- not Islamic, Jewish, nor Christian. Keep religion in it's place.

June 12 2010 at 12:42 PM Report abuse -3 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Jim's comment

Thank you, Jim. Just what I was thinking!

June 14 2010 at 12:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Whatever happened to assimilation? Why do we have to take everyone and their mother that wants to come here, and then change OUR laws, language, religion, and/or culture to accomodate them? I'm sick of this country trying to make everyone happy.

June 12 2010 at 11:39 AM Report abuse +16 rate up rate down Reply

People need to educate themselves on Islam rather than being spoonfed by what the media tells them. Although there is no need to implement the Shariah in the United States, the hatred toward the muslims is unecessary.

June 11 2010 at 11:48 PM Report abuse -12 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to lapoops33's comment

That's not true. There isn't hatred toward all Muslims in America, there is, concern and angst towards radicals in any sector of people. Americans do not want their religious beliefs made dominant and no one has to accept everyone. We, also, do not need to become educated on Islam or any religion other than the one, one embraces. Political correctness has gone too far. We live in a country of freedoms, that means each and every one of us has free choice in everything we do and think.

June 13 2010 at 11:31 AM Report abuse +8 rate up rate down Reply

ConservGirl I wish you were right but common people of U.S.A. can't tell the difference between radicals and regular people. Its the like comparing the average churchgoing Christian to an abortion clinic bomber. It's just plain offensive to good peace loving Muslims. (Yes they exist and in larger quantities than your and my religion. -Fact not opinion.) People need to love fellow man and not hate their differences. The hate is caused by fear and fear is caused by made up lies and uneducated people who think their way of life will be changed. Everyone's way of life will change with time and it isn't because of other people screwing your people over. It's because we are but one page of a never-ending book called history. Nothing stays the same and no one group is to blame. Change is occurring right now and causing a chain reaction. It can't be stopped with hate and bloodshed. It's something people need to go with rather than against and try to make it the best it can be.

June 13 2010 at 11:43 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply

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