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Oklahoma voters ban shariah law

world Updated: Nov 03, 2010 09:59 IST

The central US state of Oklahoma is to become the first state in the US to ban Islamic sharia law.

That's the result of a voter initiative in the state that passed by a heavy majority in the midterm election on Tuesday night.

State Question 755 amends the Oklahoma constitution to forbid courts in Oklahoma from considering sharia law or international law in reaching their decisions.

With more than 60% of precincts counted, more than 70% of voters had approved the measure, according to the Secretary of State's website.

The measure was proposed by Republican State Representative Rex Duncan, who said he was inspired to propose the constitutional amendment even though there have been no cases in Oklahoma in which judges had relied on international or sharia law.

"I would describe this as a pre-emptive strike," he said. "We don't want to let it get a toe-hold."

Local Muslims said it was an example of anti-Muslim bigotry.

"There's no threat of sharia law coming to Oklahoma and America, period," Saad Mohammed of the Islamic Society of Greater Oklahoma City said. "It's just a scare tactic."