(WASHINGTON, D.C., 1/10/12) — The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today welcomed a ruling by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upholding a lower court’s decision to block implementation of an Oklahoma state constitutional amendment that would prohibit courts from applying — or even considering — “Sharia law” and “international law.”
CAIR: Court Upholds Stay of Oklahoma Ban on Islamic Law (AP)
In response to a lawsuit filed in 2010 by Muneer Awad, the head of CAIR’s Oklahoma office (CAIR-OK), the lower court blocked implementation of the “Save Our State Amendment” based on arguments that it would unconstitutionally disfavor an entire faith and deny Oklahoma’s Muslims access to the judicial system on the same terms as every other citizen. The state appealed that ruling.
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You can read the lower court’s ruling here.
Last year, CAIR and the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) filed a brief urging the circuit court to uphold the lower court’s ruling blocking implementation of the amendment.
You can read the CAIR-ACLU brief here.
Today’s appeals court ruling states in part:
“We conclude that Mr. Awad’s allegation — that the proposed state amendment expressly condemns his religion and exposes him and other Muslims in Oklahoma to disfavored treatment — suffices to establish the kind of direct injury-in-fact necessary to create Establishment Clause standing. …
“Appellants do not identify any actual problem the challenged amendment seeks to solve. Indeed, they admitted at the preliminary injunction hearing that they did not know of even a single instance where an Oklahoma court had applied Sharia law or used the legal precepts of other nations or cultures, let alone that such applications or uses had resulted in concrete problems in Oklahoma.”
To read the ruling, go here.
“Today’s ruling is a victory for the Constitution and for the right of all Americans to freely practice their faith,” said CAIR Staff Attorney Gadeir Abbas, who is co-counsel on the case.
“This is an important reminder that the Constitution is the last line of defense against a rising tide of anti-Muslim bigotry in our society, and we are pleased that the appeals court recognized that fact,” said CAIR-OK’s Awad.
Awad noted that Oklahoma’s anti-Sharia amendment is just one of more than 20 similar pieces of legislation introduced in state legislatures nationwide.
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CONTACT: CAIR Staff Attorney Gadeir Abbas, 720-251-0425, E-Mail: email@example.com; CAIR-Oklahoma Executive Director Muneer Awad, 405-248-5853, firstname.lastname@example.org; CAIR National Communications Director Ibrahim Hooper, 202-744-7726, E-Mail: email@example.com