A federal judge has granted a preliminary injunction against Oklahoma’s so-called “Sharia ban,” saying the case goes “to the very foundation of our country, our Constitution, and particularly, the Bill of Rights.”
Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange, who presides over a federal court in the western district of Oklahoma, ruled that a CAIR official suing to block the law will likely succeed in his efforts.
“Specifically, the Court finds that plaintiff has made a strong showing that State Question
755’s amendment’s primary effect inhibits religion and that the amendment fosters an excessive government entanglement with religion,” she wrote. “While defendants contend that the amendment is merely a choice of law provision that bans state courts from applying the law of other nations and 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 Sharia Law, conveying a message of disapproval of plaintiff’s faith.”
Earlier this month, Oklahoma voters approved a constitutional amendment, which would ban state courts from considering “Sharia law,” by a margin of 70 to 30. Muneer Awad, the director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, then filed suit, seeking an injunction against the certification of the ballot question.
Awad claimed that the law violated his First Amendment rights by singling out his religion and would invalidate his will, which is based on Islamic teachings. In court, he argued that Sharia law is not actually a law, but a series of Islamic teachings — religion itself — that varies by country and sect.
The judge will next decide whether Awad is right on the case’s merits, and whether to impose a permanent injunction.
The law has the potential to negatively affect other groups, including American Indians.