Archive for November 5th, 2010


And OK Is Again a Laughing Stock…with Update

November 5, 2010

“[In] Oklahoma, voters overwhelmingly approved state question 755 [to ban Islamic Sharia law], one of the most important initiatives in their state’s history. This is great news. Just because something doesn’t exist doesn’t mean you shouldn’t ban it. That’s why I have long fought for ballot measures to ban cat pilots, baby curling, and man-futon marriage.”
—Stephen Colbert

And it’s meaningless….

But council members criticized lawmakers who wrote the measure that appeared on the ballot, saying they mischaracterized Shariah law and that the new state law will be impossible to enforce.

The Governor’s Ethnic American Advisory Council did not have the matter on its meeting agenda. Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, asked the council whether it had a position on State Question 755, which was approved Tuesday by about 70 percent of the state’s voters. Malaka Elyazgi, the council’s chairman, said the council had no position on the issue.

Council member Marjan Seirafi-Pour told Reynolds her position is that Muslims believe that Shariah is God’s law but differ as to what exactly it entails. She said the measure should have addressed fiqh law, which covers Islamic rules in relation to actions

CNN reports that the Oklahoma measure may conflict with the First Amendment’s Establishment Clause. And CAIR seems to be attacking it from several directions:

The Establishment Clause

The First Amendment directs all government bodies to “make no law respecting the establishment of religion.” This measure violates that basic principle of American law and governance by specifically targeting one faith and one religious community.

Separation of Powers

Our federal system and our state system is in part governed by the concept of separation of powers. One branch of government cannot restrict what another branch of government can consider in terms of doing its job — in this case, deciding cases.

Supremacy Clause

International law refers to the conduct of the relationships between sovereign nations. … International law is, according to the Supremacy Clause of the U.S. Constitution, the law of the United States of America.


How will this measure negatively impact Oklahomans of all faiths?

It will prevent Oklahoma courts from implementing international agreements, honoring international arbitrations, honoring major international human rights treaties, honoring marriages and divorces from other countries, and will cost jobs by sending the message that contracts between Oklahoma companies and international partners will not be enforceable. Oklahoma could become the only state in the nation incapable of enforcing international business law.

Here is political science professor Muqtedar Khan, in The Washington Post’s On Faith column:

“Critics of Shariah in Oklahoma argue that they also oppose the Shariah law because it is against freedom of religion. In this age, when ignorance and bigotry are being celebrated in America, I am sure that most people in Oklahoma must have missed the irony in the situation.

The key sentence in the State question 755 is: It forbids courts from considering or using international law. It forbids courts from considering or using Shariah Law. The proposition also bans international law. To consider how ignorant both the authors and the voters of the proposition are, please take a look at Article Six, Section I, Clause II of the US constitution. It is called the supremacy clause.

According to this clause, international treaties to which the U.S. government is a signatory become “the supreme law of the land”. Treaties, along with custom and UN declarations are the main sources of international law (the proposition 755 actually mentions it). Thus by rejecting international law the proposition designed to institutionalize Islamophobia in Oklahoma, has effectually said “thanks, but no thanks” to the U.S. Constitution.

It is very obvious that the law was not in any way necessary in Oklahoma. The state has nearly 4 million people, and only about 15,000 Muslims. (Do the math: That is less than one half of one percent.)

The measure was, unsurprisingly, heavily promoted by the GOP. Why? Not because it was in any way necessary. Rather, it was an excellent marketing tool to get people — scared, conservative people — to go out and vote. That is the ONLY reason it was created.

There is a huge irony in the fact that this occurred in Oklahoma, the state that suffered the worst domestic terrorism act ever perpetrated by a right-wing Christian group.

This is going to cost OK a pile of legal bills. How about a few more court house monuments while you are at it bible thumpers? The last one only wasted $100K.