Oklahoma Sharia Ban May Conflict With U.S. Constitution

Meredith Jessup, The Blaze, November 4, 2010

On Tuesday, Oklahoma voters not only shot down the candidacies of a number of political contenders, but 70 percent of the state’s voters chose to ban courts from using Islamic Sharia law in deciding cases.

{snip} The issue reportedly arose after a Muslim woman in New Jersey went to a family court requesting a restraining order against her abusive spouse. The woman’s request was denied after the judge ruled that the husband had been rightfully abiding by his Muslim beliefs regarding spousal duties. Though the judge’s controversial decision was later overruled by an appellate court, the case drew a firestorm of attention, including the attention of voters in Oklahoma.

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Further, Sykes also cited comments made by Supreme Court Justice Elena Kana during her June confirmation hearings in which she admitted being willing to consider international law when considering domestic court cases as justification for the initiative.

Before the ballot question passed Tuesday, Muslim leaders dismissed the measure. Saleem Quraishi, president of the American Muslim Association of Oklahoma City called it “fear mongering.” And now that the measure is the law of the land, the Center on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) announced Thursday that it’s backing a federal lawsuit against the measure, arguing that it violates citizens’ First Amendment right to practice religion freely.

As written, the approved ballot measure states it would amend a state constitution section dealing with the state courts, making them “rely on federal and state law when deciding cases, forbidding them “from considering or using international law” and “from considering or using Sharia Law.”

Some legal scholars warn that the measure could have some unintended consequences. According to some legal experts, the measure could create some conflicts for local businesses who deal with some international companies and establishes a precedent that could also ban other religious law, including the Ten Commandments.

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Despite these potential challenges which may arise in the future, voters in Oklahoma decidedly banned Sharia from their state in what Duncan calls a “pre-emptive strike” in protecting America’s sovereign laws.

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