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US judge halts Oklahoma's ban of Sharia law

A US federal court judge has placed a temporary block on an Oklahoma amendment that bans state judges from consulting Sharia law.

world Updated: Nov 09, 2010 14:34 IST

A US federal court judge has placed a temporary block on an Oklahoma amendment that bans state judges from consulting Sharia law.

Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange issued the order temporary halting the ban after the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations filed a lawsuit on the matter.

"The ruling is a reminder of the strength of our nation's legal system and the protections it grants to religious minorities," Executive Director of the Oklahoma branch of the CAIR Muneer Awad, who filed the case, was quoted as saying by the FOX News.

"We are humbled by this opportunity to show our fellow Oklahomans that Muslims are their neighbors and that we are committed to upholding the US Constitution and promoting the benefits of a pluralistic society," he added.

Last week, State Question 755, a constitutional amendment, was approved by 70 percent of Oklahoma voters banning state judges from consulting Sharia law. "The crushing margins by which these constitutional amendments passed shows without a doubt that those critics are deeply out of touch with the values and views of Oklahomans, just as Washington, D.C., is out of touch with America," said Republican state Sen Anthony Sykes, after the referendum.

Warning that England already had 85 Sharia courts, Oklahoma state Representative Rex Duncan, also a Republican, said that the ban "will constitute a pre-emptive strike against Sharia law coming to state." He warned that "while Oklahoma is still able to defend itself against this sort of hideous invasion, we should do so." However the utility of the proposed ban has been called into questions, since it is unlikely that any courts in the state of Oklahoma will actually ever apply Shaira law.

"You have a state-endorsed amendment in our Constitution that isolates, targets and marginalizes Muslims as a threat to the American way of life," said Awad. "We would be stigmatized by this amendment as being an unequal member in the political community in the state of Oklahoma," he continued.