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. Gridlock-Time

    Sing along....

    where the racists cannot spell their names
    and the waving wheat
    smells just like "sheet"
    'cause its permeating everything!

    So when I say.....
    I'm only saying
    You're looking dumb Oklahoma,
    No Way!

    Sends a message... it sure does: Oklahoma is full of ignorant rednecks.

    Put your helmets back on and stay out of the voting booth if you don't understand what you are voting on.

    November 3, 2010 at 6:52 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Molly Mcguire

    First 3.2 Beer and now this. All together now "I'm Proud to be an Okey from........

    November 3, 2010 at 6:53 pm | Report abuse |
  3. tammie wilson

    It may not be so called politically correct to ban their laws from our states in th e US! But I am so glad someone in the US has the nunus to stand up for our rights for a change! They r not politically correct to come here from their country and try to change everythingf to their way! I wonder how far we would get going to their country tryoing to impose our laws and rules? Oh wait we did and as you all can see too many of our soldiers have died and the fight continues! STOP playing dead America before u really are!

    November 3, 2010 at 7:03 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Barbara Smith

    OHH my god is this real??? , Sharia 4 America ? Can they do that ?

    November 3, 2010 at 7:05 pm | Report abuse |
  5. Carl H

    If sharia law will make UGLY women wear burkas, I'm for it

    November 3, 2010 at 7:11 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Eric

    Next bill: legislate the value of pi to be 3.2!

    November 3, 2010 at 7:19 pm | Report abuse |
  7. The Dude

    @Eric... I think that should maybe be 3.1 (either by truncation or rounding)

    November 3, 2010 at 7:39 pm | Report abuse |
  8. The Dude

    @BCasey... corporations do not have the same rights as citizens.

    November 3, 2010 at 7:40 pm | Report abuse |
  9. IndypendentJones


    November 3, 2010 at 7:43 pm | Report abuse |
  10. Tiger-Fan

    This Sharia Law would result in stoning of all American Heroes such as Tiger Woods, Bill Clinton, Jimmy Swagart (AKA "Come to Jesus Baby") and all that I view as American Role models, and maybe half of man race! Two Thumbs up for Oklahoma.

    November 3, 2010 at 8:03 pm | Report abuse |
  11. IndependentJones

    Under Sharia Law all of Tiger's mistresses and his wife would be stoned. Not Tiger though he is a man

    November 3, 2010 at 8:19 pm | Report abuse |
  12. Realist

    No one has, is, or ever will SERIOUSLY propose that Shari'a law be implemented in the US. Stop listening to has been wind bags like Newt Gingrich, and start looking at your need to have a boogie man. Another group of right wing zealots in Germany needed a boogie man in the thirties, and THOSE Nazis turned to the Jews to fill that role. Looks like today's Nazi's are turning to Muslims. (And look it up. Nazis have always been associated with extreme RIGHT WING thinking, Communists with extreme left wing thinking. Do be so afraid of "intellectuals" that you forget to educate yourself).

    November 3, 2010 at 8:22 pm | Report abuse |
    • Frank

      Well if you say Sharia law will never be imposed in the US (the already have Sharia courts in the UK but someone as ignorant as you probably doesn't know that), then what's the problem with the new law? Making it illegal to apply sharia law then doesn't change anything since, according to you, it will never be imposed anyway?

      November 3, 2010 at 11:52 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Tory

    In case you Muslim supporters haven't been keeping up on your current events, & instead, flapping your ignorant gums, as USUAL, there ARE millions of Armed Patriotic American Men & Women who disagree with you. It doesn't matter how clever and smart you are...... unless you are willing to make the Supreme Sacrifice for your beliefs, as WE ARE, you are going down. However, if you HAD the determination and coviction to defend America, as we do, you'd ALREADY UNDERSTAND what we are trying to make you grasp, with your clever little know it all minds.

    November 3, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • The Dude

      "There are four boxes to be used in the defense of liberty: soap, ballot, jury and ammo. Please use in that order"

      Thank the founding fathers for the right to bear arms.

      November 4, 2010 at 10:17 am | Report abuse |
  14. 川口秋人

    "Business has to be conducted in English."

    Really? This is pathetic. So much for stimulating job growth, unless you can make jobs out of xenophobia.

    November 3, 2010 at 8:27 pm | Report abuse |
    • Donna

      Yes, it is... we dont need anymore nail shops in Oklahoma we have to many now as it is...and most have foreigners workers, not Americans....

      November 4, 2010 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
    • John Tuttle

      And it makes me wonder how things will go down at the immigration offices... or will Oklahoma just ban any foreigners from entering the state now?

      It boggles my mind that a state that suffered a terrorist attack at the hands of one of its own, should focus all of their paranoid outrage on this sort of unfounded witch hunt.

      November 4, 2010 at 9:38 am | Report abuse |
    • Robert

      Donna, as the musical Avenue Q says, "Everyone's a little bit racist..." except for you. You are a lot racist. Please stop making my home state look bad. Thank you.

      November 4, 2010 at 12:41 pm | Report abuse |
  15. TheyWantToKillUs

    Don't you get it...radical Islam wants to take over the world. When that happens, you'll be looking at the Tea Party folks as fun-lovin' people! ... Islam is evil.

    November 3, 2010 at 8:30 pm | Report abuse |
    • John Tuttle

      "Islam is evil"? No more so than Christianity is evil. Christians, after all, are shooting doctors here in the States.

      November 4, 2010 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
    • KATIE

      John, no where in the Christian Bible does it say anything like this:

      "Slay the unbelievers wherever you find them.” Quran 2:191

      “Make war on the infidels living in your neighborhood.” Quran 9:123

      “When opportunity arises, kill the infidels wherever you catch them.” Quran 9:5

      “Any religion other than Islam is not acceptable.” Quran 3:85

      “The Jews and the Christians are perverts; fight them.” Quran 9:30

      “Maim and crucify the infidels if they criticize Islam” Quran 5:33

      “Punish the unbelievers with garments of fire, hooked iron rods, boiling water; melt their skin and bellies.” Quran 22:19

      “Do not hanker for peace with the infidels; behead them when you catch them.” Quran 47:4

      “The unbelievers are stupid; urge the Muslims to fight them.” Quran 8:65

      “Muslims must not take the infidels as friends.” Quran 3:28

      “Terrorize and behead those who believe in scriptures other than the Qur’an.” Quran 8:12

      “Muslims must muster all weapons to terrorize the infidels.” Quran 8:60


      November 4, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
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