Published June 15, 2010
Oklahoma lawmakers are asking voters to weigh in on a proposal that would ban local courts from considering Shariah or other international law in their rulings.
The unusual measure calling for an amendment to the Oklahoma Constitution was approved in late May by the state Senate, sending the issue to voters in the fall in the form of a ballot question.
Though the question's supporters have not pointed to any specific outbreak of Shariah, or Islamic law, being considered in the U.S. judicial system, they describe it as an encroaching threat. State Rep. Rex Duncan, author of the measure, has called the ballot question a "preemptive strike" against Shariah coming to his state.
Duncan said in a statement after the vote that he hopes other states will soon follow Oklahoma's lead.
"Judges in other states and on the federal bench have increasingly turned to citing international law in their court decisions, something I and others feel is grossly inappropriate in a sovereign state such as our own," he said.
In an interview with The Edmond Sun, Duncan said the courts' willingness in Britain to consider Shariah has become "a cancer upon the survivability of the U.K." He said the ballot question "will constitute a preemptive strike against Shariah Law coming to Oklahoma."
The amendment would require courts to adhere to the laws of the U.S. and state constitutions, as well as federal and state statutes. It would prohibit the courts from considering "the legal precepts of other nations or cultures," including Shariah.