Oklahoma Ban on Islamic Sharia Law Overturned by Federal Judge

William Browning
Yahoo! Contributor Network
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ANALYSIS | Lost in all the midterm elections of 2010 is Oklahoma's State Question 755. Approved by voters 70 percent to 30 percent, Question 755 would have banned the Oklahoma judicial system from taking into account any court case which uses the Islamic system of Sharia law.

When interpreting cases for state law, if the ballot measure stands as approved, judges cannot use as precedent any case in the United States or another state if Sharia law figured prominently into the decision. The measure also forbids using international law as a precedent in making decisions.

The ballot measure would have changed Oklahoma's Constitution. A Federal judge has placed a temporary injunction on the ballot measure to weigh the constitutionality of the rights of the voters versus the rights of the individual according to CNN. The Council on American-Islamic Relations sued to have the law thrown out altogether as they claim it violates the First Amendment clause guaranteeing religious freedom.

What is Sharia Law?

Sharia is a code of conduct based upon Islam and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed in both the Holy Qu'Ran and the Sunna. The Council on Foreign Relations says Sharia law governs marriage, divorce, inheritance and custody of children in many theocratic Muslim nations.

How Sharia law pertains to Oklahoma has been the matter of much speculation since the ballot measure was proposed by two Republican state lawmakers. The Atlantic Wire reports supporters of the measure even admit there has been no precedent in Oklahoma to warrant the ballot proposal, but they cite three instances in other states where Sharia law figured prominently in the decision.

What Now?

Other political pundits believe the measure was a way to get more Republican voters to the polls in Oklahoma. In a hotly contested midterm election there were many more Republicans voted into office in a state where not a single county voted for Barack Obama in 2008.

NewsOK.com reports the State Board of Elections in Oklahoma is appealing the decision and asking the state's attorney general to file an appeal of the injunction. If the original judge rules against State Question 755 after considering the lawsuit, the losing side can appeal to a higher Federal court and then the U.S. Supreme Court.

A final decision on the case could take months. Oklahoma only has about 15,000 Muslims, 5,000 of which live in Oklahoma City. So far this is the only confirmed test of Sharia law as it pertains to United States law.

Former Republican state lawmaker Rex Duncan who wrote the initial proposal has called judge a "liberal activist" according to Forbes magazine. Duncan has made other statements regarding his fear of Sharia law. Fox News reports Duncan used England as an example as 85 instances of Sharia law have been imposed.

The measure "will constitute a pre-emptive strike against Sharia law coming to Oklahoma while Oklahoma is still able to defend itself against this sort of hideous invasion."

Even though the state of Oklahoma is bound by law to interpret laws of the United States and not laws of Great Britain, the assertion that the British are coming has left many outside of Oklahoma aghast. Many are wondering just where exactly this "hideous invasion" is indeed coming from--perhaps from America's heartland and not overseas.