In the 2010 general election, voters in Oklahoma passed a ballot measure that attempts to ban Oklahoma courts from considering Islamic laws in the their decisions. The law was blocked when the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and ACLU sued. They claim the law violates the 1st amendment of the US Constitution, the Oklahoma Constitution, and the Oklahoma Religious Freedom Act. This story shows that those who support the ban have a bigoted idea of Sharia law and have little knowledge of what our civil rights actually are.
A federal appeals court in Denver is poised to hear arguments regarding the use of Sharia law in state court, a day after the somber ceremonies commemorating the 10th anniversary of 9-11.
A panel of judges from the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals will eventually decide whether a lower court judge was correct in blocking a 2010 ballot initiative forbidding Oklahoma courts from considering Islamic laws in the their decisions.
In court documents defending the constitutionality of the measure, lawyers for the Oklahoma Attorney General said its “principle purpose” was to ban the Oklahoma courts from looking at the “precepts of other nations or cultures.”
They argue in court papers that the measure does not single out Sharia law. “The measure bans, equally, all laws from other nations or cultures, including, but not limited to international law and Sharia law,” according to the court papers.
The main argument against the ban is that it isn’t needed.
This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.
Just as we can’t stone our children based on Deuteronomy 21:18-21, Sharia Law could never be integrated into our legal system unless the Constitution is amended.
That doesn’t mean Sharia law would never show up in local legal circles but no one could be forced by the government to abide by it.
Some countries, like Israel, recognizes Sharia law in personal matters like marriage and contracts. Here in the US some Jewish communities have rabbinical courts acting as arbitrators for personal matters as well.
The voters who passed the law in Oklahoma only had a biased idea of what Sharia law is and they definitely don’t understand the protections we have against being forced to follow religious laws.
I don’t agree with Sharia law any more than I agree in the false notion of using biblical law in our civil legal system. It should respect religious beliefs but the US Constitution should have the final word.