LA Times—Sharia Law is on the Ballot in Oklahoma

Posted by Kendall Harmon

As the country grapples with its worst economic downturn in decades and persistent unemployment, voters in Oklahoma next week will take up another issue — whether they should pass a constitutional amendment outlawing Sharia, or Islamic law.

Supporters of the initiative acknowledge that they do not know of a single case of Sharia being used in Oklahoma, which has only 15,000 Muslims.

"Oklahoma does not have that problem yet," said Republican state Rep. Rex Duncan, the author of the ballot measure, who says supporters in more than a dozen states are ready to place similar initiatives before voters in 2012. "But why wait until it's in the courts?"

Some conservative activists contend that the U.S. is at risk of falling under Sharia law. They point to Europe, with its larger Muslim population and various accommodations to the Islamic religious law.

Read it all.

Filed under: * Culture-WatchLaw & Legal IssuesReligion & Culture* Economics, PoliticsPolitics in GeneralState Government* International News & CommentaryEurope* Religion News & CommentaryOther FaithsIslam

9 Comments
Posted October 31, 2010 at 3:00 pm [Printer Friendly] [Print w/ comments]



1. NoVA Scout wrote:

They probably should also consider an amendment to prohibit driving on the left, a la England, Australia and some other Commonwealth countries.  It isn’t really a problem here yet, but one has to be vigilant.  And I’m sure such a measure would be electorally popular, which, I guess, is the point of these sorts of measures.

October 31, 5:15 pm | [comment link]
2. Br. Michael wrote:

The real question is can you implement Sharia by contract?  You and I agree that we will be governed by Sharia law.  Will the courts enforce that contract?

October 31, 5:16 pm | [comment link]
3. Br. Michael wrote:

It’s kind of like homosexuality.  You needed to pass the laws before it was evident that you needed to.

October 31, 5:18 pm | [comment link]
4. Katherine wrote:

Br. Michael, the courts will enforce Islamic-based business contracts if they do not violate American law.

NoVA Scout, I’m not familiar with this effort in Oklahoma, but the question of whether non-U.S. law applies here is not entirely foolish.  There are already serious disagreements about whether, as some “progressive” jurists think is proper, international law should be considered in deciding U.S. cases. This would be a similar argument.

October 31, 7:21 pm | [comment link]
5. NoVA Scout wrote:

I see no similarity whatsoever, Katherine.  The United States is linked to the international legal system by treaty and custom and has always championed (if not always observed) the application of public international law.  However, the Constitution makes clear that the Government cannot impose religion on the people, be it Sha’aria, fundamentalist Mormonism, or tree worship.  Things like this Oklahoma measure are cheap political tricks spun up by vote-grabbing pols.  It is an answer to a non-problem.  I very much doubt that Oklahoma is teetering on the brink of becoming an Islamic theocracy.  Of course, once it gets on the ballot, it’s not the kind of thing that anyone would vote against unless they are conservative constitutionalists (a very small, endangered population in this country these days).

November 1, 5:48 am | [comment link]
6. Creedal Episcopalian wrote:

Congress shall make no law regarding the establishment of religion.
Islam is a religion. Sharia is sedition.

November 1, 7:09 am | [comment link]
7. Sarah wrote:

RE: “conservative constitutionalists (a very small, endangered population in this country these days).. . . “

Actually, a State’s constitutional amendment [which is what Oklahoma is voting for] is precisely what conservative constitutionalists treasure, whether they vote for or against it, rather than made-up laws and rights from the courts, or equally bad, a Federal edict that is opposed to the Constitution.

And . . . heh . . . it does not appear that conservative constitutionalists are quite as small a group as once they appeared.  NoVA Scout wouldn’t know, since he doesn’t hang out in those circles.  But we’ll see just how large or small a group as we all sit back, eat popcorn, and watch the returns on the now scores of races that match up conservative constitutionalists against the candidates who are more to the liking of . . . well . . . those of other values.

November 1, 8:34 am | [comment link]
8. LumenChristie wrote:

“Oklahoma does not have that problem yet,” said Republican state Rep. Rex Duncan…“But why wait until it’s in the courts?”

That’s why they call them, “Sooners.”

November 1, 8:43 am | [comment link]
9. NoVA Scout wrote:

Glad to know you identify yourself with my philosophy, Sarah, even though popcorn and “hanging out” have never been a central part of how I have perceived my conservatism.  Alas, I am aware of very few constitutional conservatives (self-labeling aside) who are standing for election.  As for constitutional structures, whether at the state or federal level, I tend to see them as girders, more than wiring.  Legislation is what one uses to deal with the details, constitutions address the broader principles.  Using a state constitution (or the federal one, should it ever come to that) to forbid the eventual happening of our popular fears of the moment, however fun or cherished they might be, however profitable electorally it is for pols to stir them up, strikes me as a liberal, radical departure from sound constitutional principles.  I would not amend either a state or the federal constitution to address the non-problem of being governed by Sharia law, Druid rights, left hand drive, or the metric system.  Popcorn or no, constitutions are not where we get that stuff taken care of.

November 1, 9:36 pm | [comment link]
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