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Oklahoma Voters Consider Constitutional Ban on Sharia Law

Oklahoma Voters Consider Constitutional Ban on Sharia Law

In places like Oklahoma, residents won’t just be electing representatives on election day, they’ll be voting on a referendum on Islam.  More specifically, they will vote on State Question 755, the “Save Our State” constitutional amendment that would prohibit state courts from considering Islamic Sharia law in making rulings.

Let’s be clear here.  There is no actual evidence that Oklahoma state courts, or any state courts for that matter, have or would consider Islamic Sharia law in rendering any judicial ruling.  But that didn’t stop the bill’s sponsor, Rep. Rex Duncan (R-Sand Springs) from defending the legislation as a means to protect courts from being “hijacked” by the people we are “at war” with.

So what are some of the practices that Rep. Duncan finds threatening enough to want to change the Oklahoma constitution?  One the Representative often cites is Sharia law’s unequal treatment of women, a practice he says runs in contrast with American principles. 

We can expect Rep. Duncan to then support women’s full access to health care vis-a-vis reproductive health choices, equal pay, and anti-discrimination legislation, right? 

Of course not.

Understandably, critics of the measure insist that there is nothing more than xenophobia at the root and question the constitutionality of singling out one religion for the purpose of simply making it ideologically objectionable.  That’s led the supporters of the amendment to, predictably, trot out the tired “if you’re against us you’re with them” talking point.

This might not be much of a story if the xenophobia was limited to Oklahoma.  But it’s not.  Newt Gingrich has come out strongly in favor of a federal law that says Sharia law cannot be recognized by any court in the United States at the Value Voters Summit this month, while other Republican candidates such as Tennessee’s Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey (R) and Minnesota House candidate Lynne Torgerson (I) have made anti-Sharia fear-mongering an active part of their election campaigns.

What’s especially sad is that the initiative will likely pass, reflecting the success of these kinds of campaigns build not on fact but on fear.

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photo courtesy of Bruce via Flickr

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90 comments

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8:15AM PST on Nov 25, 2010

Actually Riaz;
Heard it said that Islam (chuckle);sees it fit to lie in a couple very interesting ways.
1/ to your wife...to maintain family "harmony".
2/to your enemies .
And any nation not under islams thumb IS at war with islam;
in fact.
So where does one begin to trust the bafflegab............Riaz?

8:03AM PST on Nov 25, 2010

@ Lynne C.
No lynne ; just hoping to save what little is left of the "soul" of America and others by making it clear just what IS and what it IS NOT.
It is NOT a Bridge to God.
NOT a path of salvation , nor a life rooted and grounded in love.

7:55AM PST on Nov 25, 2010

Ah yes; stability in society.
Never use the beam and heavy lift equipement to hang more than 3 people at a time as it tends to shaking from legs scrambling for life .
Make sure to properly space the offenders acording to sex and avoid immodesty especially in public execution which might offend the mothers of the martyrs.
remember boys and girls...keep it clean...keep it Balanced.

5:19AM PDT on Oct 12, 2010

There is a lot of misunderstanding surrounding Sharia Law. The media portrays it as a looming disaster and hypes it up as such. That does wonders for readership and viewer statistics.

Politicians like Rep. Rex Duncan (R-Sand Springs) who described a certain section of the community as people we are "at war" use it as part of their dirty old trick of “divide and rule”. It’s a shame people still for it.

The reality is a bit more mundane. Sharia Laws are laws that flesh out the basic requirements outlined in the HQ which one can regard as a constitution. These are aimed at ensuring that there is justice ans stability in society. For example, it is argued by many that if the financial and banking institutions had been governed by Sharia Law we would have been spared the near collapse of the western economies.

History tells us that parts of Sharia Law like the "Hawala" later influenced the development of the Aval in French civil law and the Avallo in Italian law. The limited partnerships (Islamic Qirad) used in civil law as well as the civil law conception of res judicata may also have origins in Islamic law. Islamic law also made "major contributions" to international admiralty law, departing from the previous Roman and Byzantine maritime laws in several ways.

If like caitlin b. Oct 1, 2010 8:54 AM you're against so called honour killings then you’re a good supporter of Sharia law because it too is against such killings.

11:00AM PDT on Oct 5, 2010

Wauw, I never thought America will do this. What the hell is going on there?

10:09PM PDT on Oct 2, 2010

protect men and women from this fascist doctrine mocking free and civilized law and protect western culture from the rantings of a psychotic lunatic murderer named mohammed....

10:06PM PDT on Oct 2, 2010

GOD BLESS OKLAHOMA FOR BANNING THE SHARIA LAW...IT IS A SAVAGE, UNCIVILIZED, ANTI SOCIAL OPPRESSION BY THE STATE/QURAN AND HAS NO BUSINESS BEING IN OUR FREE LAWS...

4:50PM PDT on Oct 2, 2010

So much ugliness! So much hatred! This country is losing it's soul.

10:24AM PDT on Oct 2, 2010

Verity P. wrote:

"most, unlike Islam, are not seriously proposing that their doctrine be made the basis of a theocracy."

True, the key word being "most." But there are two huge exceptions, Christianity and Judaism. The former exception, IMO poses a much greater threat of worldwide theocracy than Islam, beginning in the US.

Why would there be a need for laws that prohibit theocracy by a specific religion, when there are already laws that prevent theocracy by ANY religion; specifically the first and fourteenth amendments? UNLESS there is intention to have those amendments repealed at some point, leaving the US vulnerable to Christian, but not Islamic, theocracy. The radical religious right in the US seems to be trying, by anti-Islamic fearmongering and other tactics, to shift moderate Christians to their extremes, to increase their ranks to the 2/3 majority needed to do exactly that. Even without yet having the majority needed to repeal those amendments, they are very consistent in their attempts to marginalize them. And once they acquire control of the vast US arsenal of WMDs, it's only a matter of time before they force that theocracy on the rest of the world as well.

Example: There are already laws regulating the safety of ALL motor vehicles. What would be the point of proposing additional laws to regulate safety of US-made vehicles specifically, unless you work for Toyota.

9:48AM PDT on Oct 2, 2010

Sue T. wrote:

"Interesting how the author Jessica P. is all for women' s rights when it comes to insulting a republican....but not for womens rights under sharia law.....curious"

No, Jessica P. only suggested that Rep. Duncan embraces the opposite dichotomy. Having no previous knowledge of Duncan, I don't know whether or not that is an accurate depiction. But it IS clear that Sue T.'s depiction of Jessica P. is inaccurate and unsubstantiated.

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