Religious Law (Especially Islamic Law) in American Courts

downloadMany people worry about the possible encroachment of Sharia—Islamic law—into the American legal system. Oklahoma voters banned the use of Sharia and other religious law, though the Tenth Circuit struck down the ban precisely because it singled out Sharia by name.1 Other state legislatures have considered similar bans.2

But in many of the instances that critics see as improper “creeping Sharia,”3 it is longstanding American law that calls for recognizing or implementing an individual’s religious principles, including Islamic principles. American law provides for freedom of contract and disposition of property at death. Muslims (like Christians, Jews, and the irreligious) can therefore write contracts and wills to implement their understanding of their religious obligations. American law provides for arbitration with parties’ consent.4 Muslims can use this to route their disputes to Muslim tribunals,  just like Christians, Jews, and the irreligious often route their disputes to private arbitrators of their choice.

FULL PDF ARTICLE BY EUGENE VOLOKH FROM THE OKLAHOMA LAW REVIEW

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