Saturday, 14 January 2012

Oklahoma and Sharia Law Ban - Part 2

Back in November 2010 I Blogged about an amendment to the Constitution of Oklahoma which banned any recognition of Sharia Law in Oklahoma Courts even in cases involving with Arbitration or the application of Foreign Law.

I predicted in that Blog that the Ban would not stand up to legal and constitutional challenge and that is what appears to be the view of the US 10th Circuit Court of Appeals which in the case of Awad v Ziriax has continued a ban on the Amendment going into effect.

Muneer Awad, the executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma, sued to block the law from taking effect, arguing that the Amendment violated his First Amendment rights.

A three-judge panel of the 10th Circuit agreed that on the face of it the Amendment did have an effect on Mr Awads Constitutional rights.
Awad argued that the ban on Islamic law would likely affect every aspect of his life as well as the execution of his will after his death. The appeals court pointed out that Awad made a “strong showing” of potential harm.

Interestingly the Court also noted that the backers of the amendment acknowledged they did not know of any instance when an Oklahoma court applied Sharia law or used the legal precepts of other countries.

The case now returns to federal court in Oklahoma City for a full trial to determine the constitutionality of the proposed amendment.

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