Judge Extends Ban on|Anti-Shariah Measure

     (CN) – A federal judge in Oklahoma said she needed another week to decide if the state’s new constitutional amendment barring courts from recognizing Shariah, or Islamic law, discriminates against Muslims.




     U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange extended her Nov. 9 temporary restraining order blocking the results of the Nov. 2 referendum, in which 70 percent of voters passed the anti-Shariah amendment.
     The amendment directs courts to “rely on federal and state law when deciding cases” and bars them “from considering or using Shariah law.
     Muneer Awad, the executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), had asked the judge for an order barring state officials from certifying the elections results.
     He called the amendment “ridiculous” and a “gross transgression of the Establishment Clause,” as it could void his will and other legal contracts between Muslims, though courts are allowed to consider the traditions of other religions. He noted that no other state constitution “attaches special burdens on a religious tradition.”
     “Indeed, the only interest consistent with both the language and operation of the Shariah Ban is an interest in harming an unpopular minority,” he argued in his motion for a preliminary injunction.
     “The goal was to stigmatize Islam by establishing in the public’s mind that Islam is something foreign and to be feared,” he said.
     In issuing the temporary restraining order, Judge Miles-LaGrange said Awad “has made a preliminary showing” that the amendment “is not facially neutral, discriminates against a specific religious belief, and prohibits conduct because it is undertaken for religious reasons.”
     On Monday, she extended her order to Nov. 29.

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