According to election projections from CNN, Oklahoma Question 115 — which would amend the state’s constitution to declare the supremacy of fundamentalist Islamic law — went down tonight 50.4 percent to 49.6 percent in a surprisingly close ballot.
Exit polls showed strong support for the measure among people under 35 living in cities. It faced fierce opposition from the elderly and rural voters, while opinions of suburbanites and the middle aged were evenly divided.
“It was a really tough choice,” says Sally Anderson, a homemaker from Norman. “I really like all the stuff in there about punishing criminals with amputations and giving the death penalty to homosexuals. But on the other hand, I’m not sure if I’m ready to wear a headscarf every day. It gets hot here in the summer. I voted no this time around. But I might consider changing my mind in a few years.”
In 2010 Oklahoma voters overwhelmingly banned Sharia law in the state. Although the move was much ridiculed at the time, there has since been a sea change in public opinion on the issue. Many Oklahomans now see sharia as a way to preserve traditional values against the creeping secularism of modern American society.
“I voted for Islamic law so we could finally get female drivers off the road,” explains Jimbo Cooter, a truck driver from Cushing. “I’m not a huge fan of those Muslims. But they got that one right for damn sure.”
The mood was somber at the Yes on 115 headquarters, where supporters hung their heads in dejection and bottles of sparkling grape juice sat unopened. The leader of the movement, Abdul Robinson, tried to lift the spirits of the crowd.
“Obviously we’re very disappointed here,” admitted the Islamic convert from Blanchard. “We dreamed of creating an Islamic paradise here on the American plains. And although we didn’t achieve our goals tonight, the close results show that our dream is within reach.
”I am confident that in 10 years time, Oklahomans will finally be ready for full Sharia. This issue is no different than gay marriage. It’s not a question of if Islamic law comes to America; it’s only a question of when.”