In the 2010 midterm elections, the citizens of Oklahoma passed a ballot initiative barring Oklahoma courts from considering the tenets of Islamic Sharia law in their judicial decisions. This initiative was passed in the midst of a nation-wide debate on the nature of Sharia law, in which numerous states began to take legislative steps to ban or limit the application of Sharia. Oklahoma’s law was the first to explicitly ban Sharia, and it was immediately challenged by a Muslim plaintiff for violating the Constitution’s Establishment and Free Exercise Clauses. This Article examines the resulting case, Awad v. Ziriax, and the overarching issue of Sharia law in America, and it argues that state bans on Sharia law are constitutionally impermissible; that such bans are redundant, as existing laws already prohibit the most negative aspects of Sharia; and that such bans encourage radicalism by reinforcing the “Clash of Civilizations” perception jointly held by many Islamists and many opponents of Islam.
How Do You Solve A Problem Like Sharia? Awad v. Ziriax and the Question of Sharia Law in America,
40 Pepp. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/plr/vol40/iss3/5