Religion > Islam > Sharia Law

Opposition to Sharia law

Another common legal challenge to American Muslims is the formal banning of sharia, or Islamic law, in American government. Opponents of sharia law tend to argue that a conspiracy exists among some or all Muslims to take over American legal systems and supplant existing law in order to create an Islamic theocracy. Moral appeals are often made highlighting the perceived barbarism and misogyny of Islamic law. While there is literally no evidence that any such plan to subvert American law exists, laws banning sharia have been proposed in a number of states, including Texas, Tennessee, and Florida.

During the 2010 midterm elections, Oklahoma voters passed by referendum a “Save Our State” amendment to the Oklahoma constitution explicitly banning the use of sharia law. Later that year, a Federal trial judge ordered a preliminary injunction against the amendment, finding that it “conveys a message of disapproval of [the Muslim plaintiff’s] faith and, consequently, has the effect of inhibiting plaintiff’s religion.”

On review, the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals unanimously affirmed the injunction, finding the lower court correctly held that the law violated Muslim’s First Amendment rights. In evaluating the issue of whether Oklahoma had any compelling state interest in forbidding sharia law, the court reasoned: “Appellants do not identify an actual problem the challenged amendment seeks to resolve . . . [T]hey admitted [at the hearing] that they did not know of even a single instance where an Oklahoma court had applied Sharia law . . . let alone that such applications or uses had resulted in concrete problems in Oklahoma.” Read the full text of the opinion here.