Federal Judge Strikes Down Oklahoma Amendment Opposing Sharia Law

Saturday, 17 Aug 2013 05:14 PM

By Andrea Billups

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A federal judge has struck down as unconstitutional an Oklahoma state amendment banning Sharia law.

The ruling was issued Thursday by U.S. District Court Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange, who said the Oklahoma law discriminated against religion, The Wall Street Journal reported.

Voters in Oklahoma had passed in 2010 an amendment to the state's constitution banning Sharia law by more than 70 percent of the vote. The need for the amendment arose out of concern that Islamic Sharia law is making its way into U.S. courtrooms and could be used in place of U.S. law with defendants who are Muslim.

Previously, the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals had upheld a temporary injunction against the Oklahoma law.

"Having carefully reviewed the parties' submissions, and for the same reasons set forth by the Tenth Circuit, the Court finds that defendants have failed to assert a compelling state interest, and have, therefore, failed to satisfy strict scrutiny," the judge wrote. "It is abundantly clear that the primary purpose of the amendment was to specifically target and outlaw Sharia law."

Attorneys for the state of Oklahoma argued that the amendment "neither favors nor discriminates against any religion." They were responding to a lawsuit brought by the Council of American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which was joined by the American Civil Liberties Union.

"It is our hope that, in finding this anti-Islam law unconstitutional, lawmakers in other states will think twice about proposing anti-Muslim laws of their own,” said CAIR attorney Gadeir Abbas, Mediaite.com reported.

To date more than 20 states have sought to pass legislation that would ban Sharia or other foreign laws being used in state courts. Those states enacting such laws include Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota, Tennessee, and North Carolina, the Journal reported.







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