Discriminatory? While the wording is indeed problematic (international law cannot possibly be banned; and the Sharia should not be singled out by name), State Question 755 correctly insists that judges base their judgments solely on U.S. law. Contrary to rumor, the amendment does not ban Sharia outside the court system: Muslims may wash, pray, eat, drink, play, swim, woo, marry, reproduce, bequeath, etc., according to the tenets of their religion. Thus does the amendment not harm American Muslims.
Superfluous? No research informs us how often American judges rely on the Sharia to reach judgments but a provisional inquiry turns up 17 instances in 11 states. Perhaps most notorious is the New Jersey ruling that concerned a married Muslim couple from Morocco. The wife related that the husband repeatedly forced her to have sex on the grounds that, quoting him, “this is according to our religion. You are my wife, I c[an] do anything to you.” In brief, the Muslim husband claimed Sharia sanction for raping his wife.
The trial judge agreed with him: “The court believes that he was operating under his belief that it is, as the husband, his desire to have sex when and whether he wanted to, was something that was consistent with his practices and it was something that was not prohibited.” Based on that, the judge ruled in June 2009 that no sexual assault had been proven.
An appellate court reversed this ruling in July 2010, on the grounds that the husband’s “conduct in engaging in nonconsensual sexual intercourse was unquestionably knowing, regardless of his view that his religion permitted him to act as he did.” In Newt Gingrich’s more astringent analysis, the trial judge was “unwilling to impose American law on somebody who’s clearly abusing somebody.”
Then there looms the alarming example of Great Britain, where two of the country’s ranking figures, the archbishop of Canterbury and the lord chief justice, have endorsed a role for Sharia alongside British common law, and where a network of Sharia courts already operates.
Neither discriminatory nor superfluous, laws that banish the Sharia are essential to preserving the Constitutional order from what Barack Obama has called the “hateful ideologies of radical Islam.” The American Public Policy Alliance has crafted model legislation that Oklahoma’s and 47 other state legislatures should pass.
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