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. nps

    Travis: you are an idiot... Can you explain what is happening in Canada and the UK first hand... I'm from the UK and work in Canada... So explain yourself from your own words... Go ahead; I'm waiting...

    November 3, 2010 at 4:14 pm | Report abuse |
    • Travis

      As I stated in my post above, you can thank the Ontario Court system that first allowed Sharia Law to applied in Canada in 1991.

      November 4, 2010 at 2:56 am | Report abuse |
  2. pw

    I knew people in oklahoma were a bunch of inbred morons!!!. What they. Going to ban next santa claus. Oh they probably think he's muslim.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:17 pm | Report abuse |
  3. pw

    I pains me that I have relatives in oklahoma

    November 3, 2010 at 4:20 pm | Report abuse |
  4. pw

    I guess the people in oklahoma don't know what the qu'ran is. What a bunch of morons.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:30 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Travis S

    I find it funny when you all ridicule those from Oklahoma without bias. You don't hesitate for a moment to say idiots or many other deragatory words to describe them. Instead of trying to understand their point of view or asking the question to the legislators you attack the people whom merely voted on the subject. You probably all still believe that we are ran by the elected officials and not the wall street bankers whom decide your entire financial livelihood. Probably still think it amusing when we have "bomb" threats just before election or that misterious "market conditions" deteriorated our credit markets and now are working their way through our housing markets as well...... Stop criticizing those who comment and focus on those whom legislate.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:31 pm | Report abuse |
    • spotswood

      Touche, brother

      November 3, 2010 at 8:29 pm | Report abuse |
    • TeaBigots Suck

      What point of view? From on top of their sister? The rednecks opinion? The "point of view" of a racist should never be given value.

      November 3, 2010 at 10:03 pm | Report abuse |
    • A Lunatic

      I tottally agre wit Travis dis law is grate, i just wish dat dey outlawed alien law 2, i dont want no aliens imposin there law on me

      November 4, 2010 at 1:00 am | Report abuse |
  6. Adam

    If this wasn't so sad, it really would be hysterical. So now the protections of the WTO, NAFTA, Child Trafficing Conventions, etc are all not available to Oklahoma residents? Last I check, treaties were handled by the federal government, not voters in Oklahoma. Good luck on getting business investment in a state that just voted itself out of the union.

    Oh, and for those with a clue, 90% of our common laws are based on the law of foreign countries (ie – England). Go read something for a change.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:34 pm | Report abuse |
  7. Petras

    Silly. Why would a liberal Professor be confused by Sharia Law ? Whats wrong with the unequal treatment of women ?

    Why can't a State legislature someday permit Sharia provisions governing the humane flogging or stoning of women or gays ?

    Whats wrong with legislatures or Governments enforcing Sharia provisions on ridicule of the Prophet ? hasn't the FBI already advised the evil cartoonist to go into permanent hiding ? Stanford U. self-censured ?

    Nope no need to worry our silly heads.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
    • Paul

      What are you babbling about? You should try writing a complete and coherent sentence.

      November 4, 2010 at 12:59 am | Report abuse |
  8. ElitistCervesaConsumidor

    Dear Mississippi,

    Please send all your thank you cards to Rex Duncan and the state of Oklahoma.



    November 3, 2010 at 4:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Denise Miller

    I live in Oklahoma and I voted against this. Of course none of the things or people I voted for won because I am a democrat living in a very republican state. If I were older than 19 and not a freshman in college, I would be out of here.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:41 pm | Report abuse |
    • Demoncrat

      After graduation you should move to Iran or tribal Pakistan and see Sharia Law in action.

      November 3, 2010 at 5:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • Leo

      Don't worry, Denise – there are still some enclaves of intelligence left in this country. I'm sure you'd be welcomed in any of those places.

      November 3, 2010 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Boink

      Denise, I grew up in Oklahoma, too. I totally understand how awful the place is. Get your degree and leave. You won't regret it.

      November 4, 2010 at 7:11 am | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      So if you think it is OK to utilize laws that say a 16 year old boy's testimony is equal to both yours and your mother's combined. Does it sound fair to you. Plus you think it would be OK to belong to your father(like a pet) until he gives you to his 50 year old pal who pays dear old dad to have you as a wife.

      November 4, 2010 at 6:29 pm | Report abuse |
  10. pw

    I guess the people of oklahoma will ban santa claus!!!

    November 3, 2010 at 4:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charlamagne

      Yes they will!!! Santa Claus is the devil!!! What an idiot!!!

      November 3, 2010 at 5:38 pm | Report abuse |
  11. Ashamed

    I'm ashamed by another group of my fellow Americans looking to oppress some group of people that are different than who they are ..... It's sad they just don't get why or what we are SUPPOSED to stand for!!..... There are no bad religions ... Just bad people that follow anything that hurts others for just the simple difference in what you believe in...

    November 3, 2010 at 4:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Really?

      Under Sharia a woman's testimony counts for 1/2 of the testimony of a man. No matter how intelligent or educated a woman is, her word is not worth that of the village idiot's. I was following the New Jersey case and it took over a year for the victim to receive a restraining order. The judge chose to be respectful of the husband's culture rather than enforce State domestic violence statutes.

      November 4, 2010 at 5:04 pm | Report abuse |
  12. pw

    Maybe the people in oklahoma need to ask their legislators to explain the nonsense that they are writing.

    November 3, 2010 at 4:51 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Frank

    If the U.S. can not submit to any form of Muslim then how aout Jewish law and Buddist law there would be Kaos.

    November 3, 2010 at 5:05 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Reynardine Greencastle

    To the pinhead who claims that "mudslums" are required to either kill or convert anyone who doesn't agree with them: back when "Christian" Europe was torturing, burning, hanging, or putting to the sword anyone they even suspected of harboring secret bad thoughts about the official doctrine, Muslim governors maintained separate communities for Christians, Jews, and a number of other "booked" sects, where these minorities could maintain their own laws, customs, community governments, and forms of worship. Such communities paid a tax to cover the cost of a dual system of government, but that was all. Was the system sometimes abused by the tyrranical? Yes, as all systems are are abused by the tyrranical. But I still remember my high school World History account of Charlemagne's Christianization of Western Europe: "Thousands died, but the number of converts leapt." The epitaph, maybe, of many of my ancestors, and many of yours.

    November 3, 2010 at 5:06 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      It been 500 plus years since thenLWe are all supposed to have evolved and become more civilized.

      November 3, 2010 at 5:15 pm | Report abuse |
    • Charlamagne

      The time you are referring to was over 700 years ago! The fundamentalist Muslims are doing the burning, torturing, killing today. The sects you refer to are called the Dhimmi or people of the book. It was about taxing conquered people while helping to maintain some sort of sanity under Abbasid rule.

      To understand your last comment, I guess I should be ashamed of my past? What does that have to do with the passing of the measure? People far what they do not understand. It seems that many of you on this post do not have a clue. I am Christian and do not murder to convert people. To my knowledge Muslims do not do this either. However, many Americans are caught up in what the media and Internet feeds them. This is the hysteria that breeds intolerance and fearmongering. All of you quit casting stones and figure it out!

      November 3, 2010 at 5:35 pm | Report abuse |
  15. Rusty

    All of you are idiots that believe that we should accept this sharia law.The punishments that are under this law include Unfortunately, Sharia Law dictates beheadings, female genital mutilation, stoning of women for adultery, honor killings, forced and arranged marriages, women cannot leave their house without a family male escort, separated swim times at pools for males and females and complete subjugation of women by men. A more chauvinistic religion cannot be found on the planet—yet, it’s growing like wildfire.if you don't believe it ask some of my buddies that went over to Iraq.We have got to stand up against it.

    November 3, 2010 at 5:09 pm | Report abuse |
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