Oklahoma Sharia law ban ‘unconstitutional’, court rules

From BBC

10 January 2012 Last updated at 15:36 ET

Oklahoma Sharia law ban ‘unconstitutional’, court rules

Muneer Awad (left) (4 November 2010) Muneer Awad had argued that the amendment would affect every aspect of his life

The US state of Oklahoma has been prevented from introducing an amendment that would have barred its courts from considering Islamic law in judgements.

A federal court of appeals upheld a district judge’s decision to block the implementation of the amendment.

The ban on Islamic law was approved by 70% of voters in a referendum in 2010.

But it was challenged by a Muslim community leader who said the amendment violated his constitutional right to freedom of religion.

Muneer Awad, the head of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Oklahoma, had filed a suit saying that the amendment would affect every aspect of his life, including his will and testament.

‘Pre-emptive strike’The amendment read in part: “The courts shall not look to the legal precepts of other nations or cultures. Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or Sharia law”.

The author of the amendment, Republican state representative Rex Duncan, had argued that it was not intended as an attack on Muslims, but was rather a “pre-emptive strike” preventing the application of Sharia law.

But the appeals court backed an injunction imposed by Judge Vicky Miles-Lagrange shortly after the referendum in November 2010, and said Mr Awad had made a “strong showing” of potential harm should the amendment come into effect.

“When the law that voters wish to enact is likely unconstitutional, their interests do not outweigh Mr Awad’s in having his constitutional rights protected,” it said.

Speaking after Judge Miles-Lagrange’s decision in 2010, Mr Awad said her ruling had provided an opportunity to “demonstrate that Oklahoma’s Muslim community simply seeks to enjoy the civil and religious rights guaranteed to all Americans.”

About Eeyore

Canadian artist and counter-jihad and freedom of speech activist as well as devout Schrödinger's catholic

6 Replies to “Oklahoma Sharia law ban ‘unconstitutional’, court rules”

  1. Sharia law IS unconstitutional. The law that they were trying to pass was poorly written. It should have copied the “Establishment Clause” and “Free Exercise Clause” of the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and included the rational by Justice Hugo Black in “Everson v. Board of Education (1947)” and The three-part Lemon Test from Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1970).

    “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion or prohibiting the free exercise thereof”

    In Everson v. Board of Education (1947), the Supreme Court upheld a New Jersey statute funding student transportation to schools, whether parochial or not. Justice Hugo Black held,

    The “establishment of religion” clause of the First Amendment means at least this: Neither a state nor the federal government can set up a church. Neither can pass laws which aid one religion, aid all religions, or prefer one religion over another. Neither can force nor influence a person to go to or to remain away from church against his will or force him to profess a belief or disbelief in any religion. No person can be punished for entertaining or professing religious beliefs or disbeliefs, for church attendance or non-attendance. No tax in any amount, large or small, can be levied to support any religious activities or institutions, whatever they may be called, or whatever form they may adopt to teach or practice religion. Neither a state nor the Federal Government can, openly or secretly, participate in the affairs of any religious organizations or groups and vice versa. In the words of Jefferson, the clause against establishment of religion by law was intended to erect “a wall of separation between church and State.”


    In Lemon v. Kurtzman, 403 U.S. 602 (1970), the Court provided a three-part test for Establishment Clause analysis.

    The three-part Lemon Test asks:

    (1) Does the law have a secular purpose? If not, it violates the Establishment Clause.

    (2) Is the primary effect either to advance religion or to inhibit religion? If so, it violates the Establishment Clause.

    (3) Does the law foster an excessive governmental entanglement with religion? If so, it violates the Establishment Clause.

    Note here that these are not factors which are employed in some balancing test, but rather, these are all requirements which must be met for a law to pass review. There must be a secular purpose, the primary effect must not be the aid or inhibition of religion, and there must be no excessive entanglement. If any of these three requirements are not met, the law violates the Establishment Clause. See e.g. Windmar v. Vincent, 454 U.S. 263, 272 (1981).

  2. No, no, no… the decision was not that some ban on sharia law is unconstitutional, but against an appeal of a lower court’s granting of a Muslim an injunction before the sharia law ban amendment to the state constitution proceeded to the next step. That said, one of several reasons the court affirmed the lower court’s granting of the injunction, was because the wording of the amendment seemed on its face to be unconstitutional (which it really, so obviously was).

  3. My point is that sharia is unconstitutional and that this case does not allow for the sharia laws to be passed which is what some people seem to think.

  4. “The ban on Islamic law was approved by 70% of voters in a referendum in 2010.” What part of that does Mr Awad and his ilk not understand?! Freedom of religion is not enough; What they want is: freedom to impose sharia law but whatever means available!

    Sharia law is incompatible with the constitution as it is incompatible with secularism and as such should be outlawed in the West without more!

  5. First of all, Islam would need to be a REAL religion to even begin to use the 1st Amendment. Sharia Law is toxic to everyone, everywhere.

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