In a midterm election cycle saturated by absurd racial fear mongering, it's been hard for anyone on the Radical Right to really stand out. But Oklahoma succeeded in getting itself above the fold on Tuesday when 70 percent of voters checked a box to pass a constitutional amendment banning the consideration of Sharia law -- or international law -- in the court room.
The measure, which will go into effect tomorrow, is not just a strange whack job stunt, although that's certainly part of it. The proposition "forbids courts from considering or using international law [and] forbids courts from using or considering Sharia Law." And according to a lawsuit filed recently by the director of Council of American Islamic Relations (CAIR), the ban is unconstitutional.
The suit seeks a temporary injunction against the law, and a hearing is scheduled for Monday afternoon. Talking Point Memo reports:
Muneer Awad, director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations' Oklahoma chapter, filed suit against the Oklahoma Board of Elections in federal court on Thursday. In the suit, he alleges the law both violates the First Amendment and harms his family's ability to carry out his will after he dies.
Awad said in the suit that in his will he directs that his possessions be divided "in accordance with the guidance contained in the prophetic teachings" of Islam.
After the law is enacted, "no state court in Oklahoma will incorporate in the will the documents to which [Awad] referred. This is because those documents are 'Shariah law.' To incorporate into a will verses from a compendium of the teachings of Mohammed would surely require a judge to 'consider ... Shariah law' which will soon be forbidden," he said.
"The apprehension of this uncertainty is an injury itself," he said.
As for the First Amendment, Awad contends that he will "suffer official disapproval of his faith communicated to him by Oklahoma through the document that organizes the state's existence: the constitution. The Shariah Ban, because the text only mentions and restricts the religious traditions upon which [Awad] draws his faith, will imply to Oklahomans that there is something especially nefarious about the Koran and the teaching of Mohammed that justified its exclusion from the state courts."
There's also this:
The state legislator who proposed the ban, Rep. Rex Duncan (R), has called the ban a "preemptive strike" against Sharia law in Oklahoma. People like Duncan, who believe American Muslims are conducting a "stealth jihad" in order to impose Sharia on the United States, have been increasingly vocal this year.
And these are the kinds of people elected to make laws for our states. This is going to be a rough period of legislating.