Judge Blocks Oklahoma's Sharia Ban

A federal judge on Monday placed a temporary block on an Oklahoma amendment that bans state judges from consulting Sharia law.

U.S. Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange issued the temporary restraining order days after the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a lawsuit.

CAIR alleges the amendment violates the First Amendment's Establishment Clause that bars government bodies from making laws respecting the establishment of religion.

Last Tuesday, 70 percent of state voters passed Referendum Question 755 which states: "This measure ... makes courts rely on federal and state law when deciding cases. It forbids courts from considering or using international law. It forbids courts from considering or using Sharia Law.

"Sharia Law is Islamic law. It is based on two principal sources, the Koran and the teaching of Mohammed."

CAIR-OK Executive Director Muneer Awad claims in the lawsuit that the amendment singles out Islam and stigmatizes it as something foreign and to be feared.

"Surely, people will whisper, there must be something deeply threatening about Muneer's faith. For why else would the great state of Oklahoma allocate space in the state's most cherished document to burden Muneer's faith and no other. There must be something hidden away commensurate to condemnation on such a grand scale."

The practicing Muslim also argues that the creators of the ban on Sharia have disclosed its "unlawfully sectarian purpose."

The amendment's sponsor, former Republican state Rep. Rex Duncan expressed concern that American courts are increasingly consulting Sharia law to decide matters pertaining to the U.S. Muslim community. The newly elect district attorney called this practice "grossly inappropriate."

Concerned that it may be an issue in the state's future, Duncan posed, "Why wait until it's in the courts?"

Several Christian leaders have concerns over Sharia law but believe the Oklahoma amendment is unnecessary.

"I would hate to see Sharia law as it exists in many of its common practices in places like Saudi Arabia, parts of Indonesia, Afghanistan, or even Turkey, come to America," said J. D. Greear, pastor of Summit Church in Durham, N.C., and author of Breaking the Islam Code.

"[But] I think just to pass a blanket ban on all forms of Sharia law will be perceived as simply a slap in the face of Muslims," he added.

Monday's ruling prevents the State Board of Elections from certifying the results of last week's vote at its scheduled meeting on Nov. 9. According to The Associated Press, a hearing on the requested preliminary injunction is scheduled for Nov. 22.

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