Until now, I have covered only two of the ballot questions that will be on the Oklahoma state ballot on November 2, SQ 744 and SQ 746. You can read my take on those questions at the links above. As the mid-term elections draw ever closer, I thought it would be a good time to discuss another question that will be on the ballot, namely State Question 755. There is a lot of controversy surrounding this question, as it has to do with Sharia law. In case you are not aware, Sharia law is the sacred law of Islam and most people who follow it seem to follow a rather strict interpretation of the law. I will get to the strict interpretations in a moment, but let’s first look at what SQ 755 will do, if it passed by Oklahoma voters.
RESOLUTION OR BILL NUMBER:
Amends Const. Article 7, Section 1
Courts to rely on federal and state laws when deciding cases forbidding courts from looking at international law or Sharia Law.
This measure amends the State Constitution. It changes a section that deals with the courts of this state. It would amend Article 7, Section 1. It makes courts rely on federal and state law when deciding cases. It forbids courts from considering or using international law. It forbids courts from considering or using Sharia Law.
International law is also known as the law of nations. It deals with the conduct of international organizations and independent nations, such as countries, states and tribes. It deals with their relationship with each other. It also deals with some of their relationships with persons.
The law of nations is formed by the general assent of civilized nations. Sources of international law also include international agreements, as well as treaties.
Sharia Law is Islamic law. It is based on two principal sources, the Koran and the teaching of Mohammed.
SHALL THE PROPOSAL BE APPROVED?
FOR THE PROPOSAL
AGAINST THE PROPOSAL
Pending approval or rejection on General Election November 2, 2010
Now, let’s get right to what the opponents of SQ 755 are using as ammunition against the measure. They say it is a completely unnecessary measure, in that no one is considering using Sharia law as the basis for their ruling in a particular case. The Council on American-Islamic Relations is up in the air about the measure, saying they are offended that their religion is being singled out by State Representative Rex Duncan. Opponents also say that the Oklahoma court system is already bound to follow the laws of Oklahoma and of the United States and that Sharia law mirrors the U.S. Constitution. I beg to differ.
In support of the measure, I will cite a case that has already been used many times by advocates of SQ 755, the case of a rape incident in New Jersey. I apologize for the somewhat graphic nature of what I am about to say. In this case, a Muslim man of Moroccan origin was accused of forcing his wife to have sexual intercourse with him, against her will. The woman finally divorced him and went to court to get a restraining order against him. Here is what Judge Joseph Charles wrote in his decision to deny the restraining order.
The court believes that he was operating under his belief that it is, as the husband, his desire to have sex when and whether he wanted to, was something that was consistent with his practices and it was something that was not prohibited. After acknowledging that this was a case in which religious custom clashed with the law, and that under the law, plaintiff had a right to refuse defendant’s advances, the judge found that defendant did not act with a criminal intent when he repeatedly insisted upon intercourse, despite plaintiff’s contrary wishes.
If I am understanding this decision correctly, Judge Charles is saying it’s okay to assault your wife, forcing yourself on her, as long as your religion says it is okay. As a man who loves his wife dearly, I can tell you I would not do that to her, no matter what my religion told me to do. Any man who does do that isn’t much of a man, in my opinion. Besides that, the last time I checked, it was against the laws of the United States to do that, even if you are married to the woman in question.
It should be noted that the New Jersey ruling was quickly overturned by the appellate court, saying:
As the judge recognized, the case thus presents a conflict between the criminal law and religious precepts. In resolving this conflict, the judge determined to except defendant from the operation of the State’s statutes as the result of his religious beliefs. In doing so, the judge was mistaken.
I applaud the decision to overturn the original ruling, but I do feel SQ 755 has merit. You may not think Sharia law is a threat to America, but I ask you to consider what is currently happening in Great Britain. I intend to vote yes on the measure, but I would love to hear your thoughts on the issue. If you live in Oklahoma or not, let me know your take on SQ 755 and Sharia law.