Tuesday, Oct 13 , 2015 ( Thul-Hijjah, 1436)

Updated:10:00 PM GMT

Oklahoma First US State to Ban Shari`ah

OnIslam & News Agencies

Muslims lament that the ban is a fear-mongering measure since shari`ah was never applied anywhere in Oklahoma.

Los Angeles – Oklahoman voters approved a ban on using shari`ah law in Muslims disputes, making their state the first in the US to have such legislation, but Muslims are dismayed that the fear-driven move has exploited a non-issue in their homeland.

"I would describe this as a pre-emptive strike," state Representative Rex Duncan, who sponsored the measure, said, reported the German Press Agency (DPA) on Wednesday, November 3.

As part of the state legislature elections held on Tuesday along with the Congress midterm elections, Oklahomas voted on a string of ballot initiatives, including the amendment of State Question 755  on shari`ah.

The constitutional amendment, titled "Save Our State", prohibits state courts from considering shari`ah rulings when deciding on cases concerning Muslims.

Some 70 percent of the voters voted for the ban in a referendum proposed by Republican Rep. Duncan.

Duncan says the measure was needed even though there have been no cases in Oklahoma where judges had relied on international or shari`ah law.

“We don't want to let it get a toe-hold."

Shari`ah govern issues in Muslims’ lives from daily prayers to fasting and from to inheritance and marital cases to financial disputes.

The Islamic rulings, however, do not apply on non-Muslims, even if in a dispute with non-Muslims.

Oklahoma is home to nearly 15,000 Muslims from a total of 3.7 million population.


The shari`ah ban is the first of its kind throughout the United States.

Duncan insisted that other US states want to follow the suit of Oklahoma and ban shari`ah before it reaches their courts, as the case in Britain, where Islamic rulings are used in cases between Muslims where constitutional law does not apply.

"It's not an imminent threat in Oklahoma yet, but it's a storm on the horizon in other states," he said.

"I see this in the future somewhere in America."

But Muslims lament that the ban has no rational explanation other than being a fear-mongering measure since shari`ah was never applied anywhere in Oklahoma.

"What's shari`ah law has to do with Oklahoma" Saleem Quraishi, president of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City, said.

"It’s just fear-mongering; it's nothing."

Ahead of the vote, the Oklahoma radio broadcasted paid adverts, by an advocacy group called Act for America, which warned that shari`ah law lets men get away with beating and raping their wives.

Not only in Oklahoma. Shari`ah has come under scrutiny recently all across the US, with right-wing campaigners and politicians questioning its role and operating system in the country.

From Tennessee to Minnesota, Republican candidates in Tuesday’s midterm elections have adopted anti-Shari`ah rhetoric as a campaigning tool.

Nevada Republican Sharron Angle has stirred a heated debate when she said that in Dearborn, Michigan, and Frankford, Texas – two cities with sizable Muslim population – shari`ah, and not the US Constitutional law, is taking effect.

Newt Gingrich, the former House speaker and republican presidential hopeful, has called for a federal law banning the use of shari`ah.

Saad Mohammed, of Oklahoma’s Islamic Society, lamented that the fear mongers have convinced so many in his state that a legislation over shari`ah found its way through.

"There's no threat of shari`ah law coming to Oklahoma and America, period.

"It's just a scare tactic."


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