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Court Strikes Down Oklahoma’s Sinister Ban of Sharia Law

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Oklahoma’s 10th Circuit Court of Appeals struck down Oklahoma’s proposed amendment to ban the use of Sharia law in the state Tuesday, helping to catapult this evil maneuver into oblivion. The court’s ruling upheld a lower court’s 2011 decision to block the amendment, which received 70 percent support when it was passed in a 2010 referendum. The amendment was essentially an Islamophobic attempt to define what it means to live in America. Muneer Awad, a community leader in Oklahoma, filed a suit in response to the amendment, saying that if passed, it “would affect every aspect of his life, including his will and testament.”

A portion of the amendment read as follows:

The courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia law.

Republican Representative Rex Duncan, the amendment’s author, said it was intended as a “preemptive strike” against the use of Sharia law in the court system. Ah yes, a pre-emptive strike.

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Today’s ruling made this pretty brilliant statement about what the boredom of bigots hath, in this particular case, wrought:

Appellants do not identify any actual problem the challenged amendment seeks to solve. Indeed, they admitted at the preliminary injunction hearing that they did not know of even a single instance where an Oklahoma court had applied Sharia law or used the legal precepts of other nations or cultures, let alone that such applications or uses had resulted in concrete problems in Oklahoma…

Today’s ruling also invoked the First Amendment, further strengthening the decision against the legislative fear-mongering happening in other states and by somehow influential people like this ass hat. [BBC News]

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About the author

Liz is a writer. She has written for this site, evidently, and also The Awl, The San Francisco Chronicle, NPR, The Economist and others. She is the author of a short story collection, Cover Story.

View all articles by Liz Colville

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184 comments

  1. SorosBot

    Gee, who would have thought a law designed to target a particular religious minority for hatred would be unconstitutional?

    1. PsycWench

      I await the tortured logic that will be advanced to explain why striking down the amendment is a violation of free speech.

      1. SorosBot

        Well it's a violation of the Christians' freedom of religion to stop them from oppressing non-Christians.

  2. hagajim

    Da Da Da Da dum dum, Da Da Da Da dum dum, MY Sharia! Nice to see some court still knows that the 1st Amendment is fucking for!

    1. Radiotherapy

      Laugh if you will, but who can forget about Ali Hakim, a Persian peddler, enamored of Ado Annie? Talk about the insertion of Sharia into Americana.

    1. PalinzADummy

      We are the folk song army
      Every one of us cares
      We all hate poverty, war, and injustice
      Unlike the resta you squares

      Remember the war against Franco?
      That's the kind where each of us belongs
      Though he may have had all the weapons
      We had all the good songs!
      So …

      1. SorosBot

        I ran into the fortune-teller, who said beware of lightning that might strike
        I haven’t known peace and quiet for so long I can’t remember what it’s like
        There’s a lone soldier on the cross, smoke pourin’ out of a boxcar door
        You didn’t know it, you didn’t think it could be done, in the final end he won the wars
        After losin’ every battle

  3. SayItWithWookies

    If legislating against problems that don't exist is outlawed, only outlaws will have problems that don't — wait a minute now…

  4. Tengu

    This law was the only way to protect Oklahoma from turning into a barren, oil-rich land filled with religious extremists.

    1. DustBowlBlues

      "This law was the only way to protect Oklahoma from turning into a barren, oil-rich land filled with religious extremists" and one old, but very cool liberal.

    1. chascates

      He was telling me lesbianism is so rampant in some of the schools in southeast Oklahoma that they'll only let one girl go to the bathroom. Now think about it. Think about that issue.

      I haven't been able to stop thinking about it since I heard it years ago!

      1. PalinzADummy

        That's what they WANT! As long as you're thinking of teenage lesbians in OK high school bathrooms, you won't even NOTICE that the 1% are Steeling Ur Freedumz!

          1. DustBowlBlues

            During his campaign for senate, Coburn was taped telling someone the above story about a school in the SE part of the state. As a friend wrote that particular headline, "8 ft. Lesbians Invade Little Dixie."

          2. Radiotherapy

            It is the duty of the father/family to kill their daughters when they have brought dishonor on the family — even if the girl was raped. Sorry, it's kind of like when you have to explain a joke. In this case, it's just sad. Like I said yesterday, God, I hate religion.

          3. user-of-owls

            But you meant to say Boner Killing, right? Now that would be funny! Wait, um. Uh.

            Oh, I got it ! You know who else liked Honor Killings?

          4. PalinzADummy

            I'm still not entirely sure that I understand. I can't claim to be very well-informed on the subject of honour-killings, but I understand that this is a matter of custom and practice, not religious law. Again, I'm not very well-informed on the Quran, but what I have read on the rights of women under sharia law does not include any right to "honour-killing." So it's not a matter of religion, but a matter of custom.

            I'm not overly fond of religion, which I consider sort of the mental and moral equivalent of a baby's pacifier, but it's important to understand what we plan to criticize before we criticize it. If I'm in error, please let me know, with the appropriate cites. Thank you.

  5. mrblifil

    Well if they object to Sharia law, I guess they'll lick their wounds and dedicate themselves to the cause of women's equality at home and in the workplace. Seriously, what if we were to tell them that nothing in the world would piss Obama off more than that?

  6. Joshua Norton

    So, what happened this week so far? Crazy wingnut shit.

    What’s going to happen next? No fracking idea, but it’ll probably be more crazy wingnut shit.

    Isn’t that awesome?

  7. Callyson

    Appellants do not identify any actual problem the challenged amendment seeks to solve.
    Of course there is no problem: that's just why we've got to act against creeping Sharia law now, while we're still ahead! Don't you see how well it worked in keeping Iraq from getting those WMD's that you just *know* they would have gotten imminently if we hadn't gone after them?
    Conservative logic…the 10's version of conservative compassion…

  8. V572 the Merciless

    But are all the delis in OKC and Tulsa still serving halal foods? C'mon, Okla Dept of Agriculture or Public Health or Food Things, if you have any of those — defend our freedumb!

    1. Negropolis

      To be fair, he was an Upstate New Yorker, and his main accomplice was from right here in Michigan, I'm ashamed to say.

    1. SorosBot

      Sadly and ironically thanks to Bush many of our children are now stuck with abstinence-only public education; also I haz a confuse.

  9. FakaktaSouth

    Nice job Oklahoman defenders of freedom. I bet whoever the law maker was, they were floored to find out there were actually followers of Sharia in their area that could sue them. Can't a guy/gal pander to white people anymore?

    1. samsuncle

      Congradutions on the win last nite. Sabin was outcoached by Miles big time. Hope Saban goes to another conference soon!

      1. FakaktaSouth

        Oh man, are you still drunk? ME TOO! Nick Saban is the greatest tiny defensive football man alive and Les Miles just kills me. I have no hate for that guy at all and LSU gets everybody back next year…dundunduuuuuunnnn. to be continued…in BR next year…

  10. paris biltong

    So now the courts are allowed to apply just any law they choose, including the law of gravity, the law of diminishing returns, Gresham's law, the highly immoral law of attraction, not to speak of the second law of thermodynamics. Where is this country heading?

    1. GeorgiaBurning

      Towards thermodynamic equilibrium, based on that last one. Though some might argue that it's a form of socialistic redistribution and stifles American industry by outlawing perpetual motion machines that will create free energy and millions of jobs

    2. SorosBot

      Well most of this country is on the North American Plate and heading southwest; but parts of the West Coast are on the Pacific Plate and heading northwest; the collision is why there are so many earthquakes there.

    3. MissTaken

      Not only did I win the BCS office pool but there's also another scientific thread on my Wonkette. It's my lucky week!

    4. C_R_Eature

      As long as they stay away from Quantum Entanglement I'm good with it

      Oh, and stay away from Strange Attraction, too. That leads to no good.

        1. C_R_Eature

          "In the beginning the Universe was created. This has made a lot of people very angry and has been widely regarded as a bad move."

          I really think Douglas Adams was onto something.

  11. JustPixelz

    The literacy, unifying effects, acculturation of immigrants, creation of a skilled workforce fueled by public schools catapulted America to its preeminent position in industry and technology at the beginning of the 20th century. So you can see why Go-Pee'ers hate it.

    1. Loaded_Pants

      Oops, deleted comment accidentally.

      Anyhoo, I think I'll call him Ricky Lube&Poo from now on.

  12. BaldarTFlagass

    That's quite a law they had there. And here I thought we in Texas had the stupidest fucking legislature in the USA.

    1. FakaktaSouth

      Nah, you still have a state at ALL because your legislature is not as stupid as your governor. We Bamatards living under the "give a teacher a Christmas present and the teacher gets fined 6000bucks" and "papers please Germans who give our state millions, oh wait we just meant the brown people" salute you.

  13. Guppy

    Do you smell that?

    That's the smell of judicial recall petitions.

    By this time next year, those judges will be hanging out with the Iowa judges that green-lighted gay marriage.

    1. MissTaken

      With this court I wouldn't be surprised if saying 'fuck' is outlawed full stop. Ah crap, here come the cops to arrest me.

      1. SorosBot

        We better get it out of our system while we still can: the FCC are a bunch of fuckity motherfucker fuckface assfucking fuckheads; fuck them.

        Ah that felt better.

        1. Loaded_Pants

          Maybe I was hallucinating at the time but I swear I heard the word "twat" used on a show on a broadcast network a few weeks ago. Wish I could remember which show & what network it was on.

    2. C_R_Eature

      Of course they will. But, remember:

      We train young men to drop fire on people. But their commanders won't allow them to write "fuck" on their airplanes because it's obscene!"

      Let's not forget that, eh?

      1. Radiotherapy

        Or one step further: this. Most people are all poignant and shit about our militarism while totally ignoring the wholesale, useless slaughter in our misadventures.

    1. comrad_darkness

      Yes. it's about time someone took a stand against these Middle Eastern Jewish laws being erected in our towns and courts.

    1. Guppy

      They could probably do it for the OK State Guard, but state defense forces don't get any federal money, and taxes are worse than gays.

  14. mrbubb

    I'm conflicted. Muslims in America should be included to the point that they're not considered as a different group. (Remember the old TV ad? "Jimmy's one of my Jewish friends."…"Well then, you are prejudiced.")

    Buuuuttt: I believe passionately in freedom of religion, speech, and especially the emancipation of women. *Does* sharia law in fact infringe any of those freedoms? (Of course, if any laws like that were implemented, they could be struck down by the Supreme Court, but…)

    For example, Women should be allowed to wear burkas or whatever they want. But, they also should be allowed to wear as little as they want (you know what I mean). Does sharia law infringe on that right? If so, how does that square with federal law?

    1. doloras

      Go through your comment, replace "sharia" with "Catholic canon" or "Talmudic", and you might understand the bias inherent in your question. There's a zillion religious laws and customs around the world and at least a few thousand of them are important to Americans, so it's wrong to single out any one. If you're really scared about religious laws infiltrating America's perfectly secular legal system, probably best to start with those judges in actual power who keep banging on about the 10 Commandments.

      1. mrbubb

        It's not the archaic law itself that bothers me. It's that anybodywould try to impose such a law on others. Do you think women in SaudiArabia are happy? Ever read “Reading Lolita in Tehran?” America shouldbe a refuge from stuff like that. That's why the religious right –any religious right — scares me.

        1. Streiffert

          You mean like how the Christians in my state banned gay marriage? They imposed their religious beliefs on me.

          1. mrbubb

            Right. That was depriving people of freedom, and thus reprehensible,and I would hope, contrary to US law.

    2. DustBowlBlues

      In the very town in which I live, which is in Rex's lege district–that asshole is now our DA–there is at least one church that requires women to wear long skirts–no pants or jeans, just calf-length denim skirts–forbids them from wearing makekup or cutting their hair and considers a little slappin' around the kids and wife is the man's Xian right.

      How about we outlaw them? Because that's a threat to women that's real.

    1. OKthennext

      When I was a wee teen I named my dog Sharif due to the awesomeness of that song.

      Did I break a sharia law?

      1. tealsheart

        …as long as you have not reached the age of majority… You've done no wrong and your parents get to take the blame. Hahahee

        Unlike merryCA laws, THE SHARIA NEVER EXPIRES, so in case you wanna pay 'em back for any of the stuff from your childhood, contact your local mosque.

  15. Dudleydidwrong

    I'm much more worried about Rex Duncan and his brand of the American Taliban than any falafel seller in Oklahoma City. I just hope that this (seemingly sensible, thank Murphy!) court will remain awake. I'm waiting for the next Rex Duncan-sponsored bill to declare open season on all who aren't Baptists or Methodists.

  16. fuflans

    well i don't know about all this, but i do know the wonketteria are very quick to use 'sharia' in song.

  17. Schmannnity

    As a whiskey (and gin and vodka and rum) swilling Episcopalian, I find it hard to understand why Sooners can't see how, if the shoe were on the other foot, that a law prohibiting courts from "consider[ing] Talmudic or Christian or canonical law" might be considered either unconstitutional or offensive.

  18. C_R_Eature

    Dammit, I was just going to move out to Oklahoma for the "Sharia-Free" environment. I guess I'll just have to hunker down on the Muslim-Overrun East Coast. So harsh.

  19. ttommyunger

    Oklahoma Legislators will have satisfy themselves with a new law that bans same-sex marriage between adult Unicorns. FIXED!

  20. DustBowlBlues

    To set this record straight: Karl Rove, in the last election, recommended getting on the Sharia law bandwagon. Duncan, my rep. in the lege (gag) read this and decided "hey, good idea. I'm termed out here and would like to get another job where I can freeload off the taxpayer because I'm such a shitty, lazy lawyer I can't cut it in private practice. I'll float this law and ride the wave into the DA spot." Which he did. This is also the Republitard who refused to accept a special, commemorative Q'uran that the Islamic community had done at their own cost, to distribute to the lege during the OK Centennial year. None of the Republithugs accepted the gift, and Rex said, "Why should I accept a book from women killers and baby burners?"

    I hope I never get entangled in any legal biz, because our DA, opportunistic bastard that he is, does not like me.

  21. chascates

    Only 6% in but CNN has Romney at 36%, Paul 25%, Huntsman 15%, Gingrich 11%, Santorum 10%, and Perry sucking hind teat at 1%.

    1. SorosBot

      Where's our liveblog? And luckily Fox is on reruns tonight so I can watch coverage instead of getting sucked back to my abusive relationship with Glee.

  22. Limeylizzie

    Hey Wonketteers, I am sitting here all fancy-like in First Class on union-busting American Airlines en route to NYC, will there be live-blogging the Republican Primary ? I do hope so,as I am enjoying the first glass of wine I have drunk in about 10 years.

  23. DrOzarkZ.Hellbender

    A Child's Garden of Free Republic comments on this latest step toward the Destruction Of America:

    So, there's a "jack" Moslem who complains that stopping use of Sharia would violate his First-Amendment rights. What a doufous. Sharia law itself does not recognize First-Amendment rights! [Bonus points for creative spelling of "doofus"! --Dr. Z]

    Clinton appointee. What a shock.

    so another law is not unconstitutional even though it threatens to override the constitution. OK GOT IT

    So, the freedom of religion clause will be used to enact a set of laws that forbid freedom of religion? As has been pointed out so many times: the Constitution is not a suicide pact.

    You think American’s are free? Just try a passing referendum the elitists don’t like. Just try!

    We have many folks working to purge US law of the Ten Commandments, with others trying to replace the Ten Commandments with Sharia Law. I thought that religious laws were illegal. We are already discriminating against our own Ten Commandments and "In God We Trust." Now we welcome Sharia Law?

    I am curious what gyrations these “judges” will go through to avoid giving equal treatment to the canons of the Ecumenical Councils, the Latin church’s modern canon law, or the Talmud now that they’ve ruled that Muslim religious law can be considered….After all, we know that “liberals” “tolerance” is actually hatred of the Gospel (and to a lesser extent the Torah), so they don’t really mean that courts should be allowed to consider religious law. [Yeah, that's precisely what the judge ruled--that "Sharia Law" MUST be considered in US courts. Fucking moron.--Dr. Z]

    Thankfully, in parts of the country that the libs frown upon, if a muzzie offs his wife for some idiotic islamic reason, there’ll be boys waiting for him in their pickup trucks (you know…those trucks with the rifles hung over the back window). It’ll be muzzie trophy time. And know what? I want to be there to watch when those boys get their game.

    Back when the Constitution was written though, the word "religion" did not include Mohammedanism; when Washington said that "religion and morality are indispensable supports" to the newly-founded US government, and when John Adams said the US Constitution was meant "only for a moral and religious people", guess what they were talking about?

    And finally, a couple of weirdos who actually seems to understand the Constitution:

    Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; … It's right there, by making a law prohibiting a religous law, they have "prohibiting the free exercise thereof". The court did it's job. I don't like it; but they made the correct decision.

    and:

    The Constitution trumps Sharia Law. If someone tries to impose an aspect of Sharia law that contradicts the Constitution, the Constitution wins via the Supremacy clause.

    Also, a number of scholars who are apparently UTTERLY UNAWARE OF THE FUCKING 14TH AMENDMENT WHICH HAS ONLY BEEN AROUND FOR JUST SHY OF 150 YEARS, FOR FUCK'S SAKE point out that the 1st Amendment only applies to Congress, and the States can do any damn thing they please.

    EDIT: One last one, a truly novel interpretation: This [judge] needs to be removed from the bench. She attended undergraduate school overseas which may mean she is not American by birth. Only natural born Americans are fit to sit in judgment on Constitutionality issues.

    1. C_R_Eature

      Thank you for wading through all that Swill for us. Please don't forget to wash your Mind out with soap before beddie-by time.

    2. Dr Ozark Hellbender

      Well, shit: I missed the OTHER Freeper thread on this. Highlights:

      Hitler wanted Germany (and possibly the rest of Europe) to be Islamic. [!!!!!!!!!!] The Leftists in Europe are fulfilling his dream. With America continually becoming more and more and more Euro-peon-ized that may happen here.

      Gingrich says he’ll start yanking judges… the idea never sounded better. ["yanking judges", eh? nudge-nudge, wink-wink!]

      So an American Court just ruled that stoning women to death because they “dishonored” the family is okay? That whipping people in the streets is okay?
      What a bunch of MORONS…………

      The way I understand it, then, when a liberal, Democratic judge approves the implementation of Sharia in certain communities, the local municipality cannot object because it is not specifically banned in the OK Constitution. My head hurts in fathoming this destructive, anti-State ruling that denies a concerned citizenry from exercising its constitutional prerogative in a totally legal manner.

      If we aren’t even allowed to DISPLAY the ten commandments I don’t understand why banning sharia law is such a problem.

      U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange nominated by Bill Clinton attended the University of Ghana [Aha! NIGGERNIGGERNIGGER NIGGERNIGGERNIGGERNIGGERNIGGERNIGGERNIGGER!!!!!!]

      EDIT: I really like it when people don't even appear to know what the difference is between the US Constitution and a state's constitution:

      I’m sorry, but I’m having trouble figuring this out. Courts can declare laws unconstitutional, i.e. the constitution says A and perhaps the law says !A (not-A), so the constitution takes precedence. Now, a constitutional amendment is an addition to the constitution, yes? It becomes a literal PART of the constitution? How can a court declare something that is literally a part of the constitution unconstitutional?

    3. emmelemm

      Back when the Constitution was written though, the word "religion" did not include Mohammedanism

      Ahh HA HA haaah…. Right. Islam didn't exist before the 1700s. The Crusades were a figment of our imagination.

      1. SorosBot

        Well it's not like any of the founding fathers wrote anything on the subject… oh look:

        As the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion,—as it has in itself no character of enmity against the laws, religion, or tranquility, of Mussulmen,—and as the said States never entered into any war or act of hostility against any Mahometan nation, it is declared by the parties that no pretext arising from religious opinions shall ever produce an interruption of the harmony existing between the two countries.

  24. comrad_darkness

    >Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia law.

    The black helicopters told them to say that, right?

  25. owhatever

    Newt would haul these radical jihadist-loving judges before the House of Inquisiton to splain themselves and get some Sharia style stoning.

  26. Negropolis

    BTW, some wingnut tried introducing one of these bans here in Michigan, last year, and that shit died in committee faster than you can say "Allahu akbar."

  27. littlebigdaddy

    I have been to Oklahoma, and Sharia law, if it were accompanied by, say, really good Lebanese cuisine, would be a net gain. No question.

  28. KeepFnThatChicken

    Most important thing I see: The almost certain lack of "activist judges" in Oklahoma.

    So to all those who swear that it's all about legislating from the bench, "Fuck you, fuck you, and fuck you."

Comments are closed.