CAIRO - An Oklahoma federal judge has outlawed a new legislation which barred courts from considering shari`ah, the Islamic legal code, in cases involving Muslims.
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, Judge Miles-LaGrange was quoted by Wall Street Journal.
In a footnote, the judged noted that state attorneys admitted at the preliminary injunction hearing that they did not know of any instance where an Oklahoma court had applied Shari`ah law or used the legal precepts of other nations or cultures.
The decision came on Thursday to block Oklahoma officials from implementing an amendment that bans sharia`h law from being considered in state courts.
The shari`ah constitutional amendment, titled "Save Our State Amendment ", was approved in November 2010 in a referendum, as part of the state legislature and the Congress midterm elections.
The decision largely mirrors an earlier ruling by the Tenth US Circuit Court of Appeals upholding a temporary injunction against the amendment in 2010.
Oklahoma argued that the amendment didn't infringe upon anyone's religious practices.
It neither favors nor discriminates against any religion, the state claimed.
However, the new ruling was issued after the American Civil Liberties Union challenged the amendment on behalf of Muneer Awad, executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Awad, along with other Oklahoma Muslims, argued that such amendment singling out Muslims' religious laws is violating Muslims' constitutional rights and condemning their faith publicly as a threat to Oklahoma.
Shari`ah govern issues in Muslims' lives from daily prayers to fasting and from to inheritance and marital cases to financial disputes.
The Islamic rulings, however, do not apply on non-Muslims, even if in a dispute with non-Muslims.
After the district court granted an injunction in Oklahoma, Oklahoma's attorney general said he will be reviewing US Judge decision.
"We have received the order and, as always, we are in the process of carefully reviewing the judge's decision," said Oklahoma Attorney General E. Scott Pruitt.
He did not say if the state would appeal the decision.
Gadeir Abbas, staff attorney for the Council, welcomed the judge ruling.
He added that dozens of similarly discriminatory and unconstitutional bills had been introduced in other state legislatures.
"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 Abbas.
UCLA (University of California, Los Angeles) law professor Eugene Volokh also voiced opposition to the anti-Shari`ah law, saying he was no fan of the amendment.
Even without the constitutional amendmentâ¦ secular courts may not resolve questions that require interpretation of religious doctrine, Volokh wrote.
Though there are no official estimates, the US is home to from 7-8 million Muslims.
According to The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), Muslims in Oklahoma are estimated at thirty thousand, less than one percent of the state's 3.7 million population.
Not only in Oklahoma. Shari`ah has come under scrutiny recently all across the US, with right-wing campaigners and politicians questioning its role and operating system in the country.
Arizona, Kansas, Louisiana, South Dakota and Tennessee have enacted statutes to keep international laws out of the courtroom, according to Pew Research.Last month, North Carolina lawmakers approved a similar bill as well.
Reproduced with permission from OnIslam.net