Judge halts Oklahoma’s ban on Islamic law

You may or may not know that on Nov. 2, 70 percent of Oklahomans voted for a constitutional amendment that would prohibit state courts from considering…Islamic law when making decisions.

The move was presented by its supporters as something of a preemptive strike against Islam having, let’s say, undue influence over the affairs of Oklahoma.

Well, a federal judge has decided not to certify the election results until she considers a challenge to the law from a Muslim Oklahoman.

The Muslim in question, Muneer Awad, 27,  executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Oklahoma, says the amendment would be discriminatory, preventing for instance the execution of his will when he dies.

According to the Oklahoman, the judge wrote: “This order addresses issues that go to the very foundation of our country, our (U.S.) Constitution, and particularly, the Bill of Rights. Throughout the course of our country’s history, the will of the ‘majority’ has on occasion conflicted with the constitutional rights of individuals, an occurrence which our founders foresaw and provided for through the Bill of Rights.”

CAIR National Executive Director Nihad Awad had this to say: “Today marks another day in American history in which our courts have defended the Constitution against those who would deny its protections to a minority community. We agree with Judge Miles-LaGrange and the U.S. Supreme Court that ‘fundamental rights may not be submitted to vote.'”

Gary Stern

Gary Stern covered education in the Lower Hudson Valley for several years during the early 1990s. Now's he back on the beat. He believes that schools are one of the main reasons that people live around here and that educational issues -- from curriculum to financing -- are among the most challenging things that journalists can write about. He continues to be amazed by the complexity of educational jargon. Gary got his B.A. at SUNY Buffalo and his M.A. from the University of Missouri Journalism School (where his master's thesis was about the best ways to cover education). He lives in White Plains with his wife and two sons, who attend public schools.