Yesterday, the state of Oklahoma approved a referendum banning the application of sharia law. Various Islamic representatives called this fear-mongering that would hurt Muslims; I call it an excellent idea.
While there may not yet be any examples of Oklahoma courts seeking to apply sharia law, that has already occurred in other states. In a notable case in Michigan, the court decided in favor of a husband who divorced his wife by returning to India and saying “I divorce thee” three times. That ruling was overturned on appeal. In Maryland, a judge resisted a similar attempt to substitute sharia for U.S. divorce law. In New Jersey, a judge ruled that a Muslim man could not be guilty of raping his wife because, in Islam, a woman is required to have sex with her husband. That decision too was overturned.
But what people don’t realize is that many of the non-judicial ‘accommodations’ sought by Muslim groups are in fact steps toward the imposition of sharia law. For example, something as simple as setting aside separate swimming pool times for men and women can be interpreted as fulfilling a legal requirement of sharia.
As for increasing fear of Muslims, here’s what the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said: “This amendment will create a sense of fear, a sense of Islamophobia in the community, which is really not ethical.” CAIR is linked to the Muslim Brotherhood; as a good rule of thumb, anything it condemns is probably very good for the rest of us.
Meanwhile, supporters of the initiative say that their real target is not Muslims but activist judges who think ‘customary international law’ should trump the Constitution. The supporters hope to have similar initiatives on the ballot in a dozen other states in 2012.
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