OK governor's council takes no stand on SQ 755

Council members say the Oklahoma ballot measure mischaracterizes Sharia law.
BY MICHAEL MCNUTT Modified: November 6, 2010 at 12:18 am •  Published: November 6, 2010
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A governor's advisory council took no stand Friday on a state question approved by voters earlier this week that would prohibit Oklahoma courts from considering international law or Sharia law when making decisions.

But council members criticized lawmakers who wrote the measure that appeared on the ballot because they mischaracterized Sharia law and as a result the new state law will be impossible to enforce.

The Governor's Ethnic American Advisory Council did not have the matter on its meeting agenda. Rep. Mike Reynolds, R-Oklahoma City, asked the council if it had a position on State Question 755, which was approved Tuesday by about 70 percent of the state's voters.

Malaka Elyazgi, the council's chairman, said the council had no position on the issue.

Council member Marjan Seirafi-Pour told Reynolds her position is that Muslims believe Sharia is God's law, but differ as to what exactly it entails. She said the measure should have addressed fiqh law, which covers Islamic rules in relation to actions.

"Whoever put this state question together did not have enough information so the terminology itself is wrong," she said. "Fiqh is Islamic law. Sharia is the conduct of Muslims in their daily life. As a Muslim, I practice Sharia every day, every moment of my waking hours, no matter where I live."

"When the question is wrong, the people of Oklahoma voted on something that is totally wrong," she said. "Anybody who goes out there to find Sharia law they cannot find anything because there is no such thing as Sharia law."

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