During the recent mid-term election, voters across the country voiced their will on more than just which politicians or political party they wanted to see in power for the next term. Voters in Oklahoma voted on whether or not Sharia, Islamic law, should or should not be used or considered within the state’s court system. Seventy percent–that’s right, seven out of ten Oklahoma voters—said no to Sharia and international law, and within days Oklahoma’s chapter of CAIR, the Council on American-Islamic Relations, filed a lawsuit against the Oklahoma State Election Board. As reported by Rachel Slajda of TPM Muckracker, Muneer Awad, director of the Oklahoma branch of CAIR who filed the suit, says that the new Oklahoma law violates his First Amendment rights, including his personal desires for actions to be taken after his death.
Two questions should be forwarded to Muneer Awad, American Muslims and visitors who feel that a rejection of Sharia law within the American court system is worthy of court litigation. The first question is, what are the true motivations for the opposition of the American justice system applying its own laws within a sovereign nation? The second question is, just what country do you think you are living in? Omar Sacirbey from the Religion News Service reports a conversation with Sarah Albahadily, a 27-year-old American-born Muslim woman, who said after Oklahomans voted on State Question 755, barring Sharia law from American courts, that she felt less at home in the state. Specifically, she said, “It’s disheartening, even though it was expected, you still feel the blow.” Statements like these leave me in a state of bewilderment. How can the enforcement of American law within America be felt as an emotional blow? What would be the end result of subverting American law with a Middle Eastern form of law such as Sharia?
In a summary supplied by the Council on Foreign Relations, Islamic Law in Sharia, known as “the path” in Arabic, is described as a guide for all aspects of a Muslim’s daily life. The conflicts coming from having Sharia in American law would be immediate. There is little doubt that to place a foreign legal system that dictates all matters of familial, financial, religious and criminal matters will bring drastic, detrimental conflict to the American legal justice system. From the background supplied by the CFR, we only have to look to what punishments are called for under “hadd” crimes as prescribed by Sharia law to bring the point home.
Five different crimes fall under the “hadd” category: unlawful sexual intercourse, false accusation of unlawful sexual intercourse, the consumption of alcohol, theft and highway robbery. Punishments for such offenses under Sharia may include flogging, stoning, amputation, exile or execution. Sound like the American way? Sounds more like a trip back in the Dark Ages. Sharia also embodies the well-documented honor killings for daughters and wives who were deemed to have brought shame to the family, not to mention genital mutilation, adolescent marriages, polygamy and gender-biased inheritance rules. Do people like Muneer Awad feel that these aspects of Sharia are necessary for First Amendment rights in America’s Constitution to be valid? Would subverting American law for individuals who commit honor killings or genital mutilations add to the “homey” aspects of the Sooner state? While the dangerous trend these days is to attack the exercising of state rights, Oklahoma voters deserve answers to questions such as these before their voices, and their state, are blacklisted alongside others such as Arizona.
Some that may wish to push the Sharia agenda at worst, or to be apathetic to its dangers at best, say that Oklahoma’s lawmakers and voters are premature to address this issue as it has not yet been a factor in Oklahoma courts. Really, this question is of little importance when compared to Oklahoma’s right to deal as a sovereign state with the issues it finds important. If we were to poll the estimated 30,000 Oklahoma Muslims along with Oklahoma’s total population of 3.5 million citizens, I believe that Sharia law would be strongly rejected by a majority of all Oklahoma residents. But even so, groups like CAIR and their lackeys in the American Civil Liberties Union are framing the issue of the affirmation of the American court system as unconstitutional and the safeguarding of all American people as an exercise in Islamophobia. It appears that something dark and sinister may be afoot within the upcoming Oklahoma Sharia litigation, and Americans should be privy to the truth. Groups like CAIR and the ACLU should be made to more fully explain their motivations for opposing state’s right in Oklahoma and its people’s desire to uphold American law.
Paul A. Ibbetson is a former Chief of Police of Cherryvale, Kansas, and member of the Montgomery County Drug Task Force. Paul received his Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Criminal Justice at Wichita State University, and is currently completing his Ph.D. in Sociology at Kansas State University. Paul is the author of the several books including the 2010 release, “Oliver’s Tale: A Squirrel’s Story of Love, Courage, and Revolution.” Paul is also the radio host of the Kansas Broadcasting Association’s 2008, 2009 and 2010 Entertainment Program of the Year, Conscience of Kansas airing on KSDB Manhattan 91.9 FM, www.ibbetsonusa.com. For interviews or questions, please contact him at [email protected]