DENVER - An appeals court on Tuesday said Oklahoma's ban on the consideration of Islamic Shariah law in the state's courts "is likely unconstitutional" and kept in place an injunction against the voter-approved measure.
"While the public has an interest in the will of the voters being carried out ... the public has a more profound and long-term interest in upholding an individual's constitutional rights," the 10th U.S. Court of Appeals said.
The Denver-based court ruled 3-0 that the rights of an Oklahoma City Muslim, Muneer Awad, likely would be violated if the ban on Shariah law takes 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," the judges wrote in a 37-page decision.
Awad sued to block the "Save Our State" constitutional amendment, approved by 70 percent of Oklahoma voters on Nov. 2, 2010.
The measure, also known as State Question 775, bars Oklahoma state courts from considering or using Shariah law.
Awad contended the measure stigmatizes him and others who practice the Muslim faith, limits results Muslims can obtain from the courts and would prevent his last will and testament from being probated in Oklahoma because the will has references to Shariah law. (More)