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Order Blocking Sharia Law Ban in Oklahoma Affirmed by Appeals Court
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A ruling has been upheld by a federal appeals court that blocked the implementation of an Oklahoma law that bars judges from considering international or Islamic law in their decisions.

The ruling was released on Tuesday by the United States 10th Circuit Court of Appeals, affirming an order by a district court judge back in 2010. The ruling prevented a voter-approved state constitutional amendment from taking effect in the state. The ruling from the court of appeals also said that a certain Muslim community leader in Oklahoma City to continue his challenge of the law’s constitutionality.

  
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The measure is called State Questions 755 and it was approved by 70 percent of the vote back in 2010. If the amendment is passed, it would bar courts from considering legal precepts of other nations or cultures in the state.

The law reads, “Specifically, the courts shall not consider international law or sharia law.”

The opinion of the appellate court points out that the proponents of the law admit to not knowing any instances where a court in Oklahoma applied sharia law or legal precepts of other countries in their rulings.

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“This serves as a reminder that these anti-sharia laws are unconstitutional and that if politicians use fear-mongering and bigotry, the courts won’t allow it to last for long,” said Muneer Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in the state of Oklahoma.

Awad filed a lawsuit in an effort to block the law, saying that it infringes on his and others’ First Amendment rights.



It has been argued by proponents of the law that it is intended to ban courts from considering all religious laws and that sharia was only used as an example. This was disagreed on by the appellate court.

“That argument conflicts with the amendment’s plain language, which mentions sharia law in two places,” the court opinion read.

Senator Anthony Sykes, a Republican, sponsored the measure in the state Senate. He said the goal of the law is to require judges to apply only the laws of the country and the state of Oklahoma.

Sharia merges religion and the law. Our constitution is totally different,” he said. “I think it is something that competes with our constitution — it just doesn’t mesh.”

Sharia translates to “path” in Arabic and its intent is to guide Muslims to connect with God. It is rooted in that of mercy and compassion, according to Salam Al-Marayati, whoi is the president of the Muslim Public Affairs Council in Los Angeles, California.

It is argued by Al-Marayati that campaigns to ban sharia cause a distorted view of the Islamic Law.

“They equate it with unjust and abusive practices originated by tyrannical regimes in the Middle East,” he said. “They use misconceptions about Muslims to misinform the American public.”



 

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