Press Releases

CAIR asks N.C. Judges to allow use of Quran in oaths

(WASHINGTON, D.C., 6/21/05) – A prominent national Islamic civil rights and advocacy group today called on judges meeting this week in North Carolina to allow use of the Quran, Islam’s revealed text, when administering oaths. The Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) said the current exclusive use of the Bible may be an inappropriate state endorsement of religion. CAIR issued its call after Guilford County judges said they would not allow use of Qurans in their courtrooms. “An oath on the Quran is not a lawful oath under our law,” said W. Douglas Albright, Guilford’s Senior Resident Superior Court judge. State law only refers to swearing an oath by putting a hand on the “Holy Scriptures.” Those who do not wish to take an oath using the Bible may instead make an “affirmation.” A preliminary opinion last week by North Carolina’s Administrative Office of the Courts said that state law allows people to be sworn in using a Quran rather than a Bible. SEE: “N.C. Judges Face Quran Question” http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2005/06/21/national/main703148.shtml SEE ALSO: “Judges Question Use of Quran in Taking Oaths” http://www.news-record.com/news/local/quran_061905_online.htm

“By stating that only one book qualifies as ‘Holy Scriptures,’ the court may be making an inappropriate endorsement of a single set of religious beliefs,” said CAIR Legal Director Arsalan Iftikhar. “Eliminating the opportunity to swear an oath on one’s own holy text may also have the effect of diminishing the credibility of that person’s testimony.” Iftikhar said CAIR will offer a free copy of the Quran to any judge in North Carolina or throughout the United States for use in oaths or for personal awareness of the holy text. Judges or other court officials may order a free Quran by visiting: www.explorethequran.org CAIR, America’s largest Muslim civil liberties group, has 31 offices and chapters nationwide and in Canada. Its mission is to enhance understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding. To read CAIR’s Mission, Vision Statement and Core Principles, go to: http://www.cair-net.org/default.asp?Page=About

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CONTACT: Arsalan Iftikhar, 202-488-8787 or 202-415-0799; Ibrahim Hooper, 202-488-8787 or 202-744-7726, E-Mail: ihooper@cair-net.org; Rabiah Ahmed, 202-488-8787 or 202-439-1441, E-Mail: rahmed@cair-net.org

NOTE: CAIR offers an e-mail list designed to be a journalist’s window to the American Muslim community. Subscribers to the list, called ISLAM-INFONET, receive news releases and other materials dealing with American Muslim positions on issues of importance to our society. To SUBSCRIBE to or UNSUBSCRIBE from ISLAM-INFONET, go to: http://cair.biglist.com/islam-infonet/

 

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