A federal judge issued a preliminary injunction that keeps a restriction against Islamic Sharia law out of the state Constitution for now.
In a 15-page opinion, U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange ruled in favor of an Oklahoma City Muslim who complained the new constitutional amendment would violate his religious freedom.
Oklahomans approved the amendment in State Question 755 with more than 70 percent of the vote.
The amendment forbids state courts from using or considering international law or Islamic Sharia law in making decisions.
Muneer Awad, 27, quickly challenged the amendment, saying it demonizes his faith.
Awad is executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma.
Her opinion Monday means the Election Board is barred indefinitely from certifying the results.
The Oklahoma International Law Amendment was on the November 2, 2010 general election ballot in the state of Oklahoma as a legislatively-referred constitutional amendment. The measure would require that courts rely on federal or state laws when handing down decisions concerning cases and would prohibit them from using international law or Sharia law when making rulings.
With the passage of the measure, Muslims in the state planned for action against the measure in court. According to reports, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) in Oklahoma would file the lawsuit, which will claim that the measure is unconstitutional. Muneer Awad, executive director of the group, stated that the measure is deceptive and misleads people into believing that there is a threat from Islam in the country. The lawsuit, according to Awad, had planned to be filed in federal court by as early as November 4, 2010. According to reports, the measure was indeed filed on that day, with Awad listed as the plaintiff. The complaint filed with the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma can be read here.
Question 755 (International Law)
Yes: 695,568; 70.08%
No: 296,903; 29.92%
Total votes: 992,471; 100.00%
Text of measure
The ballot title that voters saw on their ballot read:
This measure amends the State Constitution. It changes a section that deals with the courts of this state. It would amend Article 7, Section 1. It makes courts rely on federal and state law when deciding cases. It forbids courts from considering or using international law. It forbids courts from considering or using Sharia Law.
International law is also known as the law of nations. It deals with the conduct of international organizations and independent nations, such as countries, states and tribes. It deals with their relationship with each other. It also deals with some of their relationships with persons.
The law of nations is formed by the general assent of civilized nations. Sources of international law also include international agreements, as well as treaties.
Sharia Law is Islamic law. It is based on two principal sources, the Koran and the teaching of Mohammed.
Shall the proposal be approved?
For the proposal
Against the proposal
The measure was proposed to amend Section 1, Article 7 of the Oklahoma Constitution.