Oklahoma argues for Sharia law ban in courts
Earlier this week in a federal court of appeals, lawyers representing the state of Oklahoma argued in favor of the reinstatement of a state law that would expressly ban Islamic Sharia Law from being recognized in court, Reuters reported.
The “Save Our State” amendment was supported by 70 percent of voters last year. Critics said that the law created polarization and alienation of Muslims, while supporters said that the law prevented foreign laws from overriding U.S. law.
The state of Alabama proposed a similar law earlier this spring and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-GA) suggested Congress push for a federal law to ban Sharia in 2010.
The U.S. district judge in Oklahoma City barred the measure from taking effect last November, when the ACLU filed suit on behalf of the president of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islam Relations.
Opening arguments for the case were heard Monday and a decision in the case is not expected for about three months.
The law’s sponsor, Oklahoma State Rep. Rex Duncan (R) is no longer in office, not having sought reelection in 2010. He first took office in 2004.
The law mentions only Sharia by name. When asked why Sharia had been singled out, Oklahoma Solicitor General Patrick Wyrick said it was “to avoid confusion.”
ACLU attorney Michael Salem said that if the law were upheld, “it would only take 50 percent plus one to ban the next religion.”
Photo of Rep. Rex Duncan used under Creative Commons.