Oklahoma Can’t Implement Anti-Sharia Law, Judge Rules

Oklahoma won’t be allowed to implement an anti-Sharia law it passed in 2010. US District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange ruled on Thursday that the measure is unconstitutional, because it violates the freedom of religion provisions.

The alleged anti-Sharia law was passed by voters under the “Save Our State Amendment.” It was part of a more broad national push from people claiming Islamic Sharia law is creeping into US courtrooms.

Supporters often point to a case in New Jersey from 2009 involving a Muslim couple, reports The Wall Street Journal. The trial court refused to grant a restraining order for the wife, even though her husband had assaulted her.

The man believed that it was his religious right to have non-consensual sex with his wife. In the judge’s decision, she wrote that the proposed amendment discriminated among religions.

Because of this, she explained that Oklahoma needed to show a compelling state interest to justify it. The state did argue that the amendment didn’t infringe on residents’ religious rights. However, they were not able to find an instance where an Oklahoma court had applied Sharia law.

The Huffington Post notes that the state was sued for the anti-Sharia law by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of Muneer Awad. The Muslim man is living in Oklahoma City and is the former director of the Oklahoma Chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations. Other Oklahoma Muslims also participated.

Gadeir Abbas, staff attorney for the Council, commented that their hope following the ruling on Oklahoma is that other states will think again before they propose anti-Muslim laws. Judge Miles-LaGrange added in the ruling, “It is abundantly clear that the primary purpose of the amendment was to specifically target and outlaw Sharia law.”

Oklahoma’s attorney general release a statement on Friday explaining that he was reviewing the decision regarding the state’s anti-Sharia law. It is not clear if the state plans to appeal.

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