Order blocks Oklahoma constitutional amendment
BY BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau
Monday, November 08, 2010
11/08/10 at 3:50 PM
OKLAHOMA CITY - A federal judge on Monday issued an order temporarily blocking certification of the election results for a state question banning the use of Shariah law.
U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange of the Western District granted the order requested by Muneer Awad, executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations.
Voters on Tuesday passed State Question 755 with slightly more than 70 percent of the vote. Awad filed a federal lawsuit on Thursday.
The Oklahoma State Election Board on Tuesday will certify the election results without including State Question 755.
State Question 755 forbids state courts from considering international law or Shariah law when deciding cases.
Shariah law is Islamic law. It is based on the Quran and the teachings of Mohammed.
Awad said the constitutional amendment is a vehicle to stigmatize his faith. It tells citizens to consider his faith as threatening.
He said State Question 755 violates the First Amendment's Establishment Clause that prevents government bodies from making laws "respecting the establishment of religion."
"Today's ruling is a reminder of the strength of our nation's legal system and the protections it grants to religious minorities," Awad said. "We are humbled by this opportunity to show our fellow Oklahomans that Muslims are their neighbors and that we are committed to upholding the U.S. Constitution and promoting the benefits of a pluralistic society."
Miles-LaGrange set a 10 a.m. Nov. 22 hearing on Awad's request for a preliminary injunction.
Rep. Rex Duncan, R-Sand Springs, who pushed for the measure to be on the ballot, said he was surprised by the ruling. He said he will know more when Miles-LaGrange issues a written order later Monday.
Muneer Awad, executive director of CAIR-OKC speaks during a press conference after filing a lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of State Question 755 in Oklahoma City last week. STEVE GOOCH/NewsOK.com