The anti-shari’ah ballot proposal passed yesterday in Oklahoma stating that shari’ah nor international law can be used in Oklahoma law. The passage of this is not only a moot issue for the most part, but it will probably be overturned when it is legally challenged.
First, this ballot measure appears to clearly violate the 1st Amendment, which is one of the most important foundations of the U.S. Constitution. The measure clearly singled out shari’ah thus Islam without mentioning other religions or “religious law.” Even if it clearly included Catholic Canon Law or Judiac Law as well, this would still be improper.
Second, given that Oklahoma is governed by the U.S. Constitution and the Oklahoma Constitution, not the Torah, Bible or any other religious text, there was no practical need for the ballot initiative to begin with EXCEPT for some politicians and activists to capitalize off of Islamophobia. Even with this ballot measure passing, religious practice will still be considered regarding martial arbitration in Oklahoma.
Ironically, Oklahoma is a state which has the death penalty in which people, like in other states, have been placed on “death row” for crimes involving circumstantial evidence. Many innocent persons in America, primarily minorities, have been unjustly executed over the years as has been clearly documented. The reason behind the Illinois moratorium on executions is a clear reference. It is a main principle in the books of judging in Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh) that “it is better for the imam [judge] to err in pardoning a person than to err in punishing” per the saying of the Prophet Muhammad (SAAS).
The other sad part of this whole discussion is that shari’ah does not even mean “Islamic law,” nor is shari’ah even a set codex of legislations and punishments. Shari’ah is a path towards pleasing G-d, and the Qur’an doesn’t legislate one set model of governance to ensure security, tolerance and justice in any society.
It is sad how divided our nation has become when we see a ballot measure such as this passed based upon Tea Party inspired brouhaha.