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Old 11-08-2010, 06:11 AM   #1
Papa Schlumpf
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Upset Oklahoma ban the ten commandments?

Okay, so the title is slightly suggestive and misleading. Or is it? Seems that banning Sharia Law in Oklahoma, just to deal with the terrifying prospect of over 1200 muslims in the entire state (man the life boats!), is more of a mess than the idiot law makers anticipated.

http://news.blogs.cnn.com/2010/11/03...ia-law-a-mess/

Quote:
Oklahoma voters on Tuesday approved a measure that bans the application of Islamic law and orders judges in the state to rely only on federal law when deciding cases. State Rep. Rex Duncan, a Republican, was the primary author of the measure, which amends that state constitution.


For months, legal experts had lambasted the initiative as biased toward a religion and potentially harmful to local businesses that engage in commerce with international companies. It also presents potential constitutional law problems, experts say. Is Oklahoma's state constitution now in direct conflict with the U.S. Constitution's First Amendment, which states, "Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion ... "?

There has never been a previous case in the state in which Sharia law was applied, said Rick Tepker, the first member of the University of Oklahoma School of Law faculty to try a case before the U.S. Supreme Court.

Tepker called the passage of the measure "a mess" with implications unknown until a case that challenges it arises.

"Many of us who understand the law are scratching our heads this morning, laughing so we don't cry," he said. "I would like to see Oklahoma politicians explain if this means that the courts can no longer consider the Ten Commandments. Isn't that a precept of another culture and another nation? The result of this is that judges aren't going to know when and how they can look at sources of American law that were international law in origin."

Businesses that engage with international companies may also find the ban is a stumbling block, Tepker said. The ban also requires all state business to be conducted in English.

Duncan has said he knew of no precedent in the state's history in which a judge applied Sharia law. But he backed the measure, he told reporters, as a "pre-emptive strike."
Quote:
What is Sharia law, and how is it defined in the ban?

Oklahoma voters are considering an unusual question that will appear on their ballots this Tuesday: whether Islamic law can be used in considering cases in state court.

The question is the doing of State Rep. Rex Duncan. The Republican is the main author of State Question 755, also known as the "Save our State" constitutional amendment, one of 11 questions on the state ballot.
The question might seem a befuddling one for a ballot in the heartland, but it stems from a New Jersey legal case in which a Muslim woman went to a family court asking for a restraining order against her spouse claiming he had raped her repeatedly. The judge ruled against her, saying that her husband was abiding by his Muslim beliefs regarding spousal duties. The decision was later overruled by an appellate court, but the case sparked a firestorm.

Duncan secured support for the proposal on the state's Senate side from fellow Republican Anthony Sykes, who co-authored the measure.

"The fact that Sharia law was even considered anywhere in the United States is enough for me" to sign on, Sykes told CNN. "It should scare anyone that any judge in America would consider using that as precedent."
Sykes said his concern was compounded by Supreme Court Justice Elena Kagan's comments during her confirmation hearings in June that she would be willing to consider international law when considering cases before the court.

Saleem Quraishi, president of the American Muslim Association of Oklahoma City who runs the Islamic Center at the Grand Mosque of Oklahoma City, said there are more than 5,000 Muslims in the city. While there are no exact numbers for the Muslim population in the state, it is not among the larger communities, said Ibrahim Hooper of the Council on American-Islamic Relations

"It's just fear mongering; it's nothing," Quraishi told CNN. "What's Sharia law have to do with Oklahoma?"
Some 1,200 Muslims from India, Bangladesh, the Middle East, Africa and elsewhere participate in services at the Islamic Center of Oklahoma City, according to Quraishi The facility, founded by Oklahoma City cardiologist M.A. Shakir, has been open for about two years.

Another Islamic center is just two miles away.

Quraishi insists that Islam does not allow for men to mistreat women, and that the New Jersey case involved a "crazy, loony man, unfortunately a Muslim."

"That is not Islam," he said.

"Oklahoma, you know, is a very Republican state," Quraishi said. He accused some lawmakers with attempting to instill fear in the heads of constituents in order to drum up votes. "But Oklahomans are not like that. I know most of the Oklahomans. They're very nice people."

As written on the ballot, the measure states it would amend a state constitution section dealing with the state courts, making them "rely on federal and state law when deciding cases, forbidding them "from considering or using international law" and "from considering or using Sharia Law."

The ballot then briefly describes international law, which "deals with the conduct of international organizations and independent nations, such as countries, states and tribes," and Sharia, which is "based on two principal sources, the Koran and the teaching of Mohammed."

"Shall the proposal be approved?" the ballot reads, instructing voters to respond 'yes' if they're for the proposal and 'no' if they're against it.

Former U.S. Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich touched on the issue during a speech to the fifth annual Values Voter Summit in Washington in September.

"I am totally opposed to any effort to impose Sharia on the United States, and we should have a federal law that says under no circumstance, in any jurisdiction in the United States, will Sharia be used in any court to apply to any judgment made about American law," Gingrich said.

Oklahoma's proposed constitutional amendment coincides with heated discussion regarding a 13-story Islamic Center planned for two blocks from the World Trade Center site in New York City.

The state had its own encounter with terrorism in 1995 when the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was struck by a bomb. Timothy McVeigh was convicted for the attack, which killed 168 people, including 19 children. McVeigh was not a Muslim.

The activist group Act for America, a self-described issues advocacy organization, recently launched a $45,000 grass-roots campaign in Oklahoma to urge voters to support State Question 755. The group sponsored a one-minute radio ad airing across the state that warns against Sharia.

In the ad, a voice says, "A husband was brutally beating and raping his wife several times a day. Desperate to save her life, this Muslim woman sought a restraining order against him. But the judge ruled against her, saying her husband had not committed a crime."

The commercial then said this case happened not in Saudi Arabia or Iran, but in New Jersey.

"This is just one chilling example of how Islamic Sharia law has begun to penetrate America," the ad continued. "Help us stop Sharia law from coming to Oklahoma."

The group is also sponsoring automated phone calls to Oklahoma voters from former CIA director and Oklahoma native James Woolsey.

"We must realize there is a major campaign in Europe to impose Sharia law and Sharia is beginning to be cited in a few U.S courts. It is completely incompatible with our Constitution," says Woolsey, who also says that he is not advocating interference with Muslims practicing their religion.

Despite the publicity, many Oklahomans are unfamiliar with the proposed amendment, which is largely overshadowed by another ballot question proposing that the state annually fund public education to a minimum of the per-student average of neighboring states. Another proposal, Question 751, would make English the official language of Oklahoma.

Those voters who are familiar with the Sharia initiative are largely inclined to vote for it, but few who spoke with CNN were very excited about it.

Diana Anderson, a legal assistant, said she supports the measure.

"I don't know that it would make much difference, but if there is something that comes up that has to do with Islamic law, or treating women that way, I don't want them to be treated badly and I don't want us to have any problem with the way they treat them in court either," Anderson said.

Lawyer Bill Price said he would probably vote for the proposal, but he doesn't feel strongly about it one way or the other.

"I don't think there's much of a chance of Sharia law becoming any kind of law in Oklahoma," said Price. "There are much more important issues."

Sykes admits the notion of Sharia taking precedence in Oklahoma's courts is not looming on voters' minds.
"It's not a problem and we want to keep it that way," he said. "And we hope this state question will have that effect, to make it crystal clear that that's not to be considered in Oklahoma, nor is international law."
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Old 11-08-2010, 08:07 AM   #2
ElfBane
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Default Re: Oklahoma ban the ten commandments?

We should give Oklahoma back to the Indians.
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Old 11-08-2010, 02:08 PM   #3
Timber Loftis
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Default Re: Oklahoma ban the ten commandments?

Immigrant and Muslim hate are the only prejudices left that are acceptable and en vogue. My belief is mankind will always drift first and foremost toward racial prejudices as the easiest way to define "us" and "them." It's our inherent xenophobia. So, the rest of society really has to ban together and collectively work to stomp this kind of stuff out.

It worked with prejudice against blacks. It only took about 150 years, but it finally became so unfashionable to be prejudice against blacks that to admit any hint of it is political and career suicide these days.
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Old 11-09-2010, 12:28 AM   #4
Cerek
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Default Re: Oklahoma ban the ten commandments?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Timber Loftis View Post
Immigrant and Muslim hate are the only prejudices left that are acceptable and en vogue. My belief is mankind will always drift first and foremost toward racial prejudices as the easiest way to define "us" and "them." It's our inherent xenophobia. So, the rest of society really has to ban together and collectively work to stomp this kind of stuff out.

It worked with prejudice against blacks. It only took about 150 years, but it finally became so unfashionable to be prejudice against blacks that to admit any hint of it is political and career suicide these days.
The fact that a judge based his decision on a defendants' religious beliefs, rather than the law, moves this story beyond fear or hate-mongering. It adds validity to the concern because this is not a hypothetical question...it has happened and now other areas have a legitimate reason to wonder if it could happen there as well.

Admittedly, I think the the chance of Sharia law being used to determine a case is extremely remote in Oklahoma. Also, the judge didn't technically apply Sharia law, he just ruled the defendant was "acting in accordance with his beliefs". Well, if that's the case, the I should be allowed to kill any witches I meet since my belief states I should not suffer a witch to live.

I realize judges do try to take the personal and religious beliefs of defendants into consideration, but religious beliefs still should NOT override federal law. I would be morecomfortable if the OK Amendment stated OK Courts shall not apply any religious laws in the rendering of decisions in the courtroom. That would prohibit cases like the one in NJ while still following both the spirit and the letter of the First Amendment.
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Old 11-09-2010, 03:52 PM   #5
Timber Loftis
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Default Re: Oklahoma ban the ten commandments?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Cerek View Post
The fact that a judge based his decision.... adds validity to the concern because this is not a hypothetical question...

.... Also, the judge didn't technically apply Sharia law, he just ruled the defendant was "acting in accordance with his beliefs".
I think you just pointed out the flaw in your own argument. One crackpot ruling clear across the country that was overturned on appeal is way too attenuated to make any sort of case that an application of Sharia law is any threat to an OK court. No, as I said, this is about pandering prejudice.
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Old 11-17-2010, 08:19 AM   #6
kev
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Default Re: Oklahoma ban the ten commandments?

That would have to be a very difficult decision for any person that may have pledged allegiance to a nation & also to god.

If you had pledged an allegiance to a nation you would expect that you would have to adhere to the law of the nation.

If you had pledged allegiance to a nation under god you would expect to have to adhere to the law of god or certainly hope that the nations law & gods law are the same.

It does beg the question. Which god?
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Old 11-29-2010, 04:16 PM   #7
Timber Loftis
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Default Re: Oklahoma ban the ten commandments?

NY Times Editorial
Intolerance and the Law in Oklahoma

For a few days this month, it was illegal in Oklahoma for a state judge to base a court decision on Islamic religious law or consider any form of international law. It was a manufactured problem; the issue has never come up in the state’s courts. But more than 70 percent of voters in Oklahoma still approved a state constitutional amendment to that effect, apparently persuaded by anti-Islamic activists, and a few cynical politicians, that Oklahoma was about to be brought under Islam’s heel.

After Muslim groups challenged the constitutionality of the “Save Our State Amendment,” a federal district judge issued a temporary restraining order. Last Monday, the judge, Vicki Miles-LaGrange, held a hearing to determine whether to issue a preliminary injunction against the measure, and said she would make a decision by the end of November. A federal injunction is warranted to save Oklahoma from its pernicious folly and to prevent other states from following the same path.

Islam-bashing for political gain was a chilling feature of this year’s campaign. The proposed Islamic center and mosque in downtown Manhattan was publicly announced last year, but no one paid much attention until activists began loudly denouncing it in the middle of the midterm election campaign. Right-wing groups then made commercials attacking several Democratic candidates for respecting the First Amendment and saying they had no problems with the project.

Islamic law, known as Shariah, is no threat to our legal system and is not in force anywhere in the United States except within a religious community, in the same manner as Jewish Halakhic law or Catholic canon law.

Nonetheless, supporters of the amendment raised absurd fears that it could entangle the American courts at any minute. Rex Duncan, a Republican state representative and the author of the ballot measure, told The Los Angeles Times that Oklahoma does not yet have that problem. “But why wait until it’s in the courts?” he asked. He has also said that Muslims want to take away American liberties and freedom.

It is fear-mongering, of course, and all too successful. As James McKinley Jr. recently reported in The Times, the issue helped drive the high Republican turnout at the polls in Oklahoma.

That, combined with the national Republican wave, helped give the party veto-proof control of the Legislature and a Republican governor for the first time. Now Republicans in several other states are talking about similar measures. Muslim leaders in Oklahoma say they are getting more hate mail.

It’s bad enough that in its hatred the state amendment singles out a religion’s law for condemnation, in violation of the nation’s Constitution. Or that it forbids a longstanding practice of mentioning the laws of other nations in a legal ruling. It is not even clear what the implications might be if the courts allowed this measure.

Would private contracts or wills drawn up under religious law, a common practice, be unenforceable, or only those drawn up by Muslims? Could a judge refer to the Bible in a ruling, but not the Koran? How about the Book of Mormon or the teachings of Confucius?

The voters of Oklahoma were badly misled by demagogues into passing a profoundly un-American measure. Now it is up to the federal courts to prevent the hatred from spreading further.
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