NYT blasts Oklahoma anti-Islam law, saying it’s based on ‘hatred’

First, Oklahoma voters by more than a 2-1 margin passed a law barring Oklahoma courts from considering Islamic law when trying cases in the state. Then a federal judge issued an order barring the state from implementing the law. The judge held a hearing last week and has indicated she will issue a determination by the end of the month.

KTUL TV in Tulsa reports that less than 1 percent of the population of Oklahoma is Muslim. Supporters of the law tell KTUL that the suit that has so far barred implementation has no merit.

Today, The New York Times editorialized against the law, saying it is now up to the courts to prevent such “hatred from spreading further.”

It’s bad enough that in its hatred the state amendment singles out a religion’s law for condemnation, in violation of the nation’s Constitution. Or that it forbids a longstanding practice of mentioning the laws of other nations in a legal ruling. It is not even clear what the implications might be if the courts allowed this measure.

Would private contracts or wills drawn up under religious law, a common practice, be unenforceable, or only those drawn up by Muslims? Could a judge refer to the Bible in a ruling, but not the Koran? How about the Book of Mormon or the teachings of Confucius?

The voters of Oklahoma were badly misled by demagogues into passing a profoundly un-American measure. Now it is up to the federal courts to prevent the hatred from spreading further.

Scot Kersgaard has been managing editor of a political newspaper, editor and co-owner of a ski town newspaper, executive editor of eight high-tech magazines (where he worked with current Apple CEO Tim Cook), deputy press secretary to a U.S. Senator, and an outdoors columnist at the Rocky Mountain News. He has an English degree from the University of Washington. He was awarded a fellowship to study internet journalism at the University of Maryland's Knight Center for Specialized Journalism. He was student body president in college. He spends his free time hiking and skiing.

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