Oklahoma Rejects Sharia and International Law

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In perhaps one of the strangest measures passed during the recent elections, Oklahoma voters chose to amend their state constitution by adding an amendment that prohibits state and federal judges in the state from considering or using Sharia (or Islamic) law or international law in their decisions. The amendment on the Oklahoma ballots read:

This measure amends the State Constitution. It changes a section that deals with the courts of this state. It would amend Article 7, Section 1. It makes courts rely on federal and state law when deciding cases. It forbids courts from considering or using international law. It forbids courts from considering or using Sharia Law.

Really?

I wonder when an Oklahoma court, or a court in any state for that matter, would even consider using Islamic law in one of its decisions. Would a court ever decide that it was appropriate to go beyond the sentencing guidelines and instead of sentencing a defendant to the recommended period of incarceration for an armed robbery, would order the defendant’s hand to be cut off instead? I don’t think so.

The amendment instead shows the fear that the Oklahoma politicians and residents feel towards outsiders and anyone and anything “different” or “foreign,” and also the fear and hatred that they feel towards Muslims.  With regard to the prohibition against using international law, this amendment also reflects the superiority that many Americans feel towards the rest of the world and the belief that our systems, such as the legal and court systems, are the best in the world and that we can’t learn from and benefit from the laws of other countries. It is time to put such thinking to rest.

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