Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Oklahoma religion news: Court enjoins Sharia law amendment

I previously reported on Oklahoma's State Question 755, a constitutional amendment overwhelmingly approved by Oklahoma voters in November that would prohibit courts from relying on international law or Sharia law.  The prior reports are here and here.  Perhaps I am only person interested in this story but I find it interesting and at least remotely relevant to this blog since it deals with the intersection of law and religion and is happening right where Elliot is serving. 

On Monday, Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange issued a preliminary injunction that prevents the constitutional amendment from taking effect.  Her opinion states that the Oklahoma measure unfairly "conveys an official government message of disapproval and hostility toward his [Muneer Awad's] religious beliefs, that sends a clear message he is an outsider, not a full member of the political community, thereby chilling his access to the government and forcing him to curtail his political and religious activities."  The opinion adds: "While defendants contend that the amendment is merely a choice-of-law provision that bans state courts from applying the law of other nations or cultures - regardless of what faith they may be based on, if any - the actual language of the amendment reasonably, and perhaps more reasonably, may be viewed as specifically singling out Shariah law, conveying a message of disapproval of plaintiff's faith."  The author of the legislation is reported as saying that Judge Miles-LaGrange is exactly the kind of "liberal activist" his legislation intends to stop.

The injunction will remain in place pending further actions in the trial court or an appeal to the Tenth Ciruit.  The Oklahoma Election Board has vowed to appeal the court's order.

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