November 3rd, 2010
01:20 PM ET

Law professor: Ban on Sharia law 'a mess'

Oklahoma's new ban on Islamic law poses potential legal hurdles.

Oklahoma voters on Tuesday approved a measure that bans the application of Islamic law and orders judges in the state to rely only on federal law when deciding cases. State Rep. Rex Duncan, a Republican, was the primary author of the measure, which amends that state constitution.

Watch how the ballot initiative's author and others feel about the ban

For months, legal experts had lambasted the initiative as biased toward a religion and potentially harmful to local businesses that engage in commerce with international companies. It also presents potential constitutional law problems, experts say. Is Oklahoma's state constitution now in direct conflict with the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment, which states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion ... "?

There has never been a previous case in the state in which Sharia law was applied, said Rick Tepker, the first member of the University of Oklahoma School of Law faculty to try a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Tepker called the passage of the measure "a mess" with implications unknown until a case that challenges it arises.

"Many of us who understand the law are scratching our heads this morning, laughing so we don't cry," he said. "I would like to see Oklahoma politicians explain if this means that the courts can no longer consider the Ten Commandments. Isn't that a precept of another culture and another nation? The result of this is that judges aren't going to know when and how they can look at sources of American law that were international law in origin."

What is Sharia law, and how is it defined in the ban?

Businesses that engage with international companies may also find the ban is a stumbling block, Tepker said. The ban also requires all state business to be conducted in English.

Duncan has said he knew of no precedent in the state's history in which a judge applied Sharia law. But he backed the measure, he told reporters, as a "pre-emptive strike."

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Filed under: Oklahoma • Politics
soundoff (254 Responses)
  1. Tory

    Yeah, you heard me right. If it comes to Civil War II, we are ready NOW. So either STFU or prepare to join our Enemies. The Choice is yours, for now.

    November 3, 2010 at 8:32 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  2. Tory

    @TheyWantToKillUs. No, they don't get it YET, that's why we are in this MESS. Oh... Everybody is our FRIEND...... let's just invite the Wolves right in for tea and cookies.
    And they accuse US as being the bad guys. They can't find their @$$ with both hands, but they KNOW it's a nice world and nobody REALLY is evil, accept US, OF COURSE. I almost ENJOY thinking about their little one celled brains perking up with the REALIZATION that they are F....D ! But I guess that's giving more credit than is due.

    November 3, 2010 at 8:43 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  3. grim reaper

    hats off to oklahoma for sending a message to the islamonazis. yes your sheet does stink, and anyone with a brain will reject your satanic ways spewed forth by your pedophile prophet! i can hardly wait to see islam and all its adherents kicked out of america for good!

    November 3, 2010 at 9:00 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  4. mike

    Im Muslim and after reading all of this i just hope God helps us all,there is tons of Idiots running around...its getting out of hand..

    November 3, 2010 at 9:16 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Jeff

      Mike, I am a conservative christian in Oklahoma. I agree that we should all pray that God give us grace and guide us.
      Your God is my God, the God of Abraham.

      November 4, 2010 at 11:20 am | Report abuse |
  5. Walter

    Wow, it amazes me what people are scared off and find the time to put their energy into. I think I'm going to ignore all this craziness for the rest of my life. Say high to my friends. Play some sports. Watch some sports. Keep running my business. Teach people. Make love to a few. Be respectful to others. No when to let go of FEARS... and just be KIND.

    I hope this law gets taken off the books, pronto. I'm sure reasonable folks in OK will see to that. (I hope so!)

    November 3, 2010 at 9:22 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  6. IndependentJones

    England allows sharia law to be practiced. Why is it so out of the question that some flaming liberals in frisco allow it to avoid looking like bigots?

    November 3, 2010 at 9:26 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  7. RedneckEgyptian

    Just gonna say this once. If Islam was an evil violent religion that promoted all this lawless killing you are talking about, y'all would be in a he'll o' trouble cause Muslims are closing in at about 1.5 billion people at last count. But here we are blaming all 1.5 billion people for the actions of a few. If those of you Islamic scholars who were quoting Quranic passages wouldn't mind sharing the contextual explanations for those verses that would be swell. Thanks

    November 3, 2010 at 9:38 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  8. IDunno

    Lest us not forget the Shelbyville, TN Tyson plant that traded Labor Day for Eid-al-Fitr (the last day of Ramadhan). Hmmm. Or the Greeley Colorado JBS meatpacking facility where Muslim employees walked off the job because Management wouldn't discrimnate against the majority hispanic employment and alter break times to correspond with dusk so Muslims could eat? The Unions argued for the rights of the Muslim minority at the plant.

    It should be up to the owners/board of the business what holidays to provide or to determine working conditions. Not the religion of it's employees. There is a very popular brick-and-morter/online photo/video/electronics retailer on the East Coast which is certainly Jewish owned. They close operations for every Jewish holiday. I still do as much business as possible with them... and now I keep their holiday schedule in mind before ordering expedited deliveries.

    It's their prerogative to run their business any way they see fit, no the employees.

    And according to The Sunday Times Online, September 14, 2008:

    "ISLAMIC law has been officially adopted in Britain, with sharia courts given powers to rule on Muslim civil cases. "

    Granted it's Civil, not Criminal.

    I'm not taking a definitive position either way (okay, mostly), but these items are now historical facts, not simply my own personal rhetoric. It does seem, however, we are embarking on the new Crusades...

    November 3, 2010 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  9. Gilbert

    @Progresive Okie-Why do you judge Becca. I don't believe that she is ignorant or deluded, But you may be for making such an assumption about her

    November 3, 2010 at 9:49 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  10. Gilbert

    No, I'm never late, cause I never go. Aren't you late for an Islamic "I hate Americans" rally? Or maybe you wanna blow up something?

    November 3, 2010 at 9:56 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  11. mandinka

    We have already seen Sharia law applied in New Jersey so this is a shot over the bow. The fact that a sitting judge used sharia as justification to allow a wife beater to go free stomps on the establishment clause

    November 3, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
  12. art

    Tory,you sure are a clown,it took me awhile to pick myself off the floor from laughing so hard,wait it's starting again,it's like a good sneeze. Fact is I to have many weapons and know how to use them

    November 3, 2010 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Tory

      That's great Art, glad you are armed also. We are gonna need all the help we can get when you people realize it's to late to avoid the FIRE. Funny how people always hide behind the Cops or the Military, once they realize their Bacon is on the line. Unless you have AT LEAST a Semi Auto or better, Belt Fed or Drum Fed, it's gonna be hard to defend yourself and your Family against starving gangs. Maybe if you'd been in WWII you'd know what I'm talking about. But I know it's a lot to ask of young people who didn't experience it themselves. They just think it FUNNY. Well, laugh it up ! Enjoy your jokes while you still have a little time left.

      November 3, 2010 at 10:48 pm | Report abuse |
    • Snake Plissken

      Yeah! Watch out for the starving gangs! Ahahaha!

      November 4, 2010 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  13. Eagle35

    From British press: ISLAMIC law has been officially adopted in Britain, with sharia courts given powers to rule on Muslim civil cases.

    The government has quietly sanctioned the powers for sharia judges to rule on cases ranging from divorce and financial disputes to those involving domestic violence.

    Rulings issued by a network of five sharia courts are enforceable with the full power of the judicial system, through the county courts or High Court.

    What is stopping it from happening here with some liberal judge? Just asking...

    November 3, 2010 at 10:15 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Really?

      They allow them to use Sharia on domestic abuse? That is setting the fox to guard the hen house!

      November 4, 2010 at 8:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. SE

    Not all Oklahomans are as backward as Becca. I voted against it and I'm ashamed of my state for passing something so ridiculous.

    November 3, 2010 at 10:19 pm | Report abuse | Reply
    • Frank

      Well, if you voted against it, SE, then I feel sorry for you. Must be hard to live with only a few brain cells. Why don't you move to Saudia Arabia where you can get a taste of Sharia law.

      November 3, 2010 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
  15. cup of tea

    THANK YOU OKLAHOMA!!!

    November 3, 2010 at 10:42 pm | Report abuse | Reply
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