November 22nd, 2010
12:32 PM ET

Arguments to take place in Oklahoma over ban on Islamic law in courts

Editor's Note: From CNN's Matt Smith

A federal judge will hear arguments Monday on a temporary restraining order against an Oklahoma referendum that would ban the use of Islamic religious law in state courts.

Oklahoma voters approved the amendment during the November elections by a 7-3 ratio. But the Council on American-Islamic Relations challenged the measure as a violation of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, and U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange issued a temporary restraining order November 8 that will keep state election officials from certifying that vote.

"What this amendment is going to do is officially disfavor and condemn the Muslim community as being a threat to Oklahoma," Muneer Awad, executive director of CAIR's Oklahoma chapter and the lead plaintiff in the suit, said earlier this month. In addition, he said, the amendment would invalidate private documents, such as wills, that are written in compliance with Muslim law.

The amendment would require Oklahoma courts to "rely on federal and state law when deciding cases" and "forbids courts from considering or using" either international law or Islamic religious law, known as Sharia, which the amendment defined as being based on the Quran and the teachings of the Prophet Mohammed.

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- CNN Belief Blog

Filed under: Church and state • Islam • Oklahoma • Politics • Quran • United States

soundoff (29 Responses)
  1. DW

    "What this amendment is going to do is officially disfavor and condemn the Muslim community as being a threat to Oklahoma,"

    No t won't. It will simply require Muslims to follow the same laws as other community members.

    December 10, 2010 at 7:49 am |
  2. Iqbal khan

    Check this one


    December 4, 2010 at 4:39 pm |
  3. LL Bean


    Muslim-Americans, Heartsong Church, Celebrate Thanksgiving Together in

    Posted on November 25, 2010 by Juan

    In Memphis, Tennessee, Christians, Muslims and Jews are
    jointly commemorating Thanksgiving, behaving like real
    Americans and proper human beings. The Heartsong Christian
    church congregation and a Muslim community center in the
    Cordova district of Memphis, held a joint Thanksgiving
    celebration in Memphis on Wednesday. They asked a Jewish
    American to read the opening prayer.

    Pastor Steve Stone explained to a local news reporter, "The
    Islamic Center bought the land right across the street from
    us, and that makes them neighbors, and Jesus teaches us to
    love our neighbors."

    Now that's Christianity.

    November 25, 2010 at 10:42 am |
  4. Mark from Middle River

    Tariq – Careful sir. The liberals have been using that same arguments to keep African Americans in line behind the democrats. Sadly african Americans have been sadly breaking away. All it takes is one African American to state he is a republican for many if the stereotypes to fall into pieces. Do you not think that there are republican Muslims ?

    November 22, 2010 at 11:32 pm |
    • Terry

      Republicans are the party of God! Apple pie! American values! No taxes! No government! Get the libtards out of our country!

      November 23, 2010 at 4:26 am |
  5. Tariq

    I suspect Republicans and Tea Party members are spreading false rumers about islamic law presence in america. One thing is clear that Republicans and Tea Party members are enemies of Muslims

    November 22, 2010 at 9:10 pm |
    • josephine

      arent you supposed to love your enemies?

      November 22, 2010 at 9:13 pm |
    • .308

      @ Tariq

      Republicans and Tea Party members are enemies of muslims? Of course they are. Everyone's the enemies of muslims. Most of you are enemies with each other... The only one's that aren't your 'enemy' are the silly ass members of the US democratic party who think that by flooding the nation with immigrants, (i.e., hispanics, muslims... actually, anybody will do) they will increase their voting const-ituency and remain in power forrrrever! We're all being played by these democratic party ass-holes.

      November 23, 2010 at 12:23 am |
  6. Sum Dude

    No religious "law" should EVER be allowed to trump the laws of this nation!
    It doesn't matter whether we're talking about wills, marriages, wife-beating, or anything else.

    I think Muneer Awad is full of crap. No one is saying anything about the "Muslim communities" here.

    We're talking about the rule of LAW!
    I don't care if you are trying to use a "Dr. Seuss Law", "Sharia Law", or "Branch Davidian Law" – they have NO LEGAL FORCE IN THIS COUNTRY AT ALL!

    And they never should. Ever.

    November 22, 2010 at 8:29 pm |
  7. Tariq

    What islamic law in america are people talking about? There is no islamic law in america
    There is not even christian law in america. The only religion in america is MONEY.

    November 22, 2010 at 7:37 pm |
  8. Reality

    Some Islamic law satire by one Sir Salman Rushdie:

    One of the passages that prompted the crazed Ayatollah Khomeini to issue a fatwa against Sir Rushdie:

    Mahound = Mohammed
    Gibreel = Gabriel

    "The faithful lived by lawlessness, but in those years Mahound – or should one say the Archangel Gibreel? – should one say Al-Lah? – became obsessed by law.

    Amid the palm-trees of the oasis Gibreel appeared to the Prophet and found himself spouting rules, rules, rules, until the faithful could scarcely bear the prospect of any more revelation, Salman said, rules about every da-mn thing, if a man farts let him turn his face to the wind, a rule about which hand to use for the purpose of cleaning one's behind.

    It was as if no aspect of human existence was to be left unregulated, free. The revelation – the recitation- told the faithful how much to eat, how deeply they should sleep, and which se-xual positions had received divine sanction, so that they leamed that so-domy and the missionary position were approved of by the archangel, whereas the forbidden postures included all those in which the female was on top.

    Gibreel further listed the permitted and forbidden subjects of conversation, and earmarked the parts of the body which could not be scratched no matter how unbearably they might itch.

    He vetoed the consumption of prawns, those bizarre other-worldly creatures which no member of the faithful had ever seen, and required animals to be killed slowly, by bleeding, so that by experiencing their deaths to the full they might arrive at an understanding of the meaning of their lives, for it is only at the moment of death that living creatures understand that life has been real, and not a sort of dream.

    And Gibreel the archangel specified the manner in which a man should be buried, and how his property should be divided, so that Salman the Persian got to wondering what manner of God this was that sounded so much like a businessman.

    This was when he had the idea that destroyed his faith, because he recalled that of course Mahound himself had been a businessman, and a damned successful one at that, a person to whom organization and rules came naturally, so how excessively convenient it was that he should have come up with such a very businesslike archangel, who handed down the management decisions of this highly corporate, if noncorporeal, God."

    November 22, 2010 at 6:12 pm |
  9. mohammy

    i remember laughing at colbert or stewarts jokes about oklahoma confronting sharia law, as it sounded paranoid...

    but perhaps oklahoma has the proper sense of urgency...

    and other states should follow...

    November 22, 2010 at 5:21 pm |
    • .308

      @ mohammy

      Several states have legislation prepared. Now they're going to have to wait for the judicial process to run it's course. That wasn't entirely unforeseen, however. What concerns me is the length of time it will take for the appeals process and the activity protected under the injunction in place in the meantime. I think we can expect the muslims to implement some limited components of sharia while simultaneously filing multiple complaints of discrimination. Oklahoma knew that this might become a legal battle – but it will illuminate the conflict between the will of the people vrs. activist judges legislating from their chambers.

      It will also bring this subject out in the open and to a necessary quick boil; it is better dealt with sooner than later.

      November 22, 2010 at 6:02 pm |
    • mohammy

      for reals 308

      November 22, 2010 at 8:31 pm |
  10. Tyler V

    So they want state law to allow another law to trump itself? I mean if a Muslim wants to set up their own will according to sharia law then thats up to them. I mean someone can set up their will to give no money to their family and give it all to their mistress if they want. So set up your will however you want – thats not a religious issue. But the courts should rely on the law that governs the legal body – state law.

    November 22, 2010 at 5:13 pm |
  11. GSA

    Sharia law should not be a part of any countries judicial process or any other process for that matter. All laws that have been put in place to appease any faith should be abolished. Great post Frogist, ban em all I say.

    November 22, 2010 at 4:43 pm |
  12. Frogist

    I'd really like to know CAIR's position on this. I don't understand. Isn't it a violation of church and state to impose any religious law above our legal ones? I'm at a loss. I cannot believe any judge would cite Sharia law as reason for not granting a restraining order on an abusive husband. Am I missing something?

    November 22, 2010 at 2:24 pm |
    • Frogist

      So this is a tough thing to try to track down...
      First we have to know what exactly is Sharia law. And the Counsel for Foreign Relations has some very good information.
      Sharia is different depending on region. It mostly has to do with family law, but can also include business dealings. Did you know that sharia law prevents the charging or payment of interest? The New York Times has an interesting article about how Britain has dealt with the issue. Little did I know that England already has Anglican and Jewish mediation in existence. So Muslim mediation is not really any different. And Sharia law is never used to decide criminal law, which is always referred to the British legal system. And apparently it's much like a sort of counseling in many cases that says their religious authority has approved of the actions to be taken in each case.

      Some say sharia should not be part of any state's laws because it diminishes the religious aspect of it. It should be voluntary not forced.

      We have Jewish "courts" that perform dispute resolution in this country. I know the Catholic Church also has certain proceedings that decide annulments of marriages much like the sharia courts.

      I tend to agree that amending the const!tution of any state to specifically prohibit a single religion's traditions seems biased. Either ban them all or none. This seems more of a political move to shore up support for anti-Islamic bias especially if we already have "courts" that mediate by religions other than Islam.

      November 22, 2010 at 4:19 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Hey CK...!

      My research led me to similar places as your findings, as well, as the 'darker' sides to 'sharia law.' If... it is an either we allow them all or ban them all, then my vote is to 'ban' them all.

      Too much of a slippery slope for me. Separation of Mosque-Church and Government.


      November 22, 2010 at 4:47 pm |
    • Frogist

      @Peace2All: Ban them all from influencing our legal system? I'm down with that. It does seem that these "courts" are independent of the legal system in Britain, not in direct opposition to them. Can that be done here? I don't know considering the case in NJ. I'm glad that one was appealed because our courts shouldn't be influenced by religion of any kind.
      As for the dark sides... Yes, there are many conflicts in other countries about these courts and their morality, secrecy, and general bias towards men. I can't say I'm for that. But until we get rid of the Jewish and Catholic and other religious court systems, it seems unconst!tutional to ban only the muslim version.
      Of course I'm only just trying to figure this stuff out. So I'd love more info! Please post some links if you can because I'd love to read them.

      November 22, 2010 at 5:14 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Hey CK...

      Yes, I was responding to your 'either allow or ban them all' scenario given.

      I think we are all just beginning to learn more about sharia law and Islam. There is sooooooooo much information on sharia law on the web. I have been buried in it myself attempting to understand some of the fine distinctions. You might want to look at countries like Sweden and other European countries, besides Great Britain, in how they are integrating or not integrating sharia and their immigrants into their societies and some of the seemingly disastrous results.

      Also, looking at U.S. Consti-tutional Law, was interesting too. Too many to provide links to, but that is where I went. If you find something of interest in particular, let me know, and vice versa.


      November 22, 2010 at 7:42 pm |
  13. Bakrochod

    Non muslim for sharia law. Think the case of OJ. His divorce would be quick and cheap. He could have stoned Nicole and Golman for adultery. Pakistan ambassador to US Haqani is Professor of Sharia Law at Boston University. He will be expert witness to supreme court for Sharia Law

    November 22, 2010 at 2:00 pm |
  14. Peace2All

    From the time they ran this article several weeks ago to now, there is nothing in terms of evidence, that persuades me any differently. Our courts, and American citizens should do everything within their power to keep 'sharia law' absolutely OUT of our American courts. Everything I have read and heard about sharia law is bad news. And, if they (muslims) want to attempt to enforce their ways into our Government, then it should absolutely be stopped.

    No way... Never should happen. Keep their 'religious laws' OUT of our Government. Separation of Mosque and State.

    And by the way, that goes for 'any' religious dogma, including Christianity. Separation of Church and State.


    November 22, 2010 at 1:28 pm |
    • .308

      @ Peace2All

      Good that you believe so strongly. So do I. I'm sure others do as well.

      I'm also certain that the question US residents will soon have to answer will be - just HOW strongly do they believe? Activism is a multifaceted concept. Anyone can become an activist for an issue they believe strongly enough in.
      Even you, Peace.

      November 22, 2010 at 2:03 pm |
    • Peace2All


      Again...we find ourselves in agreement.

      November 22, 2010 at 4:27 pm |
  15. Nijam

    If there was a more slippery slope than this then it would be a not vertical but a flipped over slope!

    Genghis Khan will be smiling in his grave at what he created when he took over and hijacked Mohammedanism 400 Years AFTER Mohammad deceased.

    He took over the priests and created his own version of "Islam" - AND HERE THEY ARE STILL TRYING TO FORCE an "ISLAMIC" law on EVERYBODY!? If it between me and them – so they are OK to Kill Christians, Budhists, Chinese, Zaroastrans, etc, and be ALLOWED under the ISLAMIC LAW?!!!


    Anyone is a pure dope on dope, if they think FEEDING the snake will not make the snake bite the hand that feeds it!!!


    Go figure!


    November 22, 2010 at 1:28 pm |
    • .308

      Here's the injunction.


      This will likely go all the way up the appeals process. Quickly, I hope. This order is a horrible, thin, prejudiced opinion by this Clinton appointee, a judicial-activist judge who is a native of Ghana, a country with a 16% muslim population. This is huge. The next step by the muslims will be to file court cases alleging ANY criticism of islam const-itutes a religious "hate crime." This is how Great Britain, France and Canada were gagged – by their courts. Now all expressions of negative opinion about islam have been gagged in both the public media and private comment there. Roll the clock back to 1984.

      Our entire country is watching. This is very, very, very dangerous for the US.

      November 22, 2010 at 1:55 pm |
    • Peace2All


      We are in agreement.


      November 22, 2010 at 4:26 pm |
    • .308

      @ Peace2All

      I don't know about you, but I've been in the sh!t before. It's amazing what a group of organized, motivated people can do. And I say that without bias to anyone... it's simply a general statement of fact. It applies across the board.

      Know what I mean?

      November 22, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
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The CNN Belief Blog covers the faith angles of the day's biggest stories, from breaking news to politics to entertainment, fostering a global conversation about the role of religion and belief in readers' lives. It's edited by CNN's Daniel Burke with contributions from Eric Marrapodi and CNN's worldwide news gathering team.