(OKLAHOMA CITY) - The Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR-OK) today welcomed a federal court ruling permanently striking down an Oklahoma state constitutional amendment that would have banned state courts from consider "Sharia law" (Islamic principles) and "international law."
Today's ruling comes almost three years after the amendment was passed by Oklahoma voters and later ruled to be unconstitutional.
"As Oklahomans, we are incredibly thrilled at the decision and applaud the judicial system for upholding our constitutional rights," said Adam Soltani, executive director of CAIR-OK. "This is a victory not only for Oklahoma Muslims, but for all Oklahomans and all Americans."
In her decision, Judge Miles-LaGrange noted that Oklahoma, in light of a higher court's previous ruling in this case, effectively conceded "that the references to Sharia Law violated the Establishment Clause." The court explained that it was "abundantly clear that the primary purpose of the amendment was to specifically target and outlaw Sharia law."
This latest decision is the third court decision in three years that found the anti-Islam law unconstitutional.
In 2010, Judge Miles-LaGrange blocked the implementation of the "Save Our State Amendment" just days after voters approved it based on arguments that it would unconstitutionally disfavor an entire faith and deny Oklahoma's Muslims access to the judicial system on the same terms as every other citizen.
In 2012, a unanimous panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit upheld the lower court's decision to block implementation of an Oklahoma state constitutional amendment that would have prohibited courts from applying -- or even considering -- "Sharia law" and "international law."
"It is our hope that, in finding this anti-Islam law unconstitutional, lawmakers in other states will think twice before proposing anti-Muslim laws of their own," said Gadeir Abbas, a staff attorney for the Council on American-Islamic Relations who was counsel for the plaintiffs.
Abbas noted that dozens of similar discriminatory and unconstitutional bills have been introduced in state legislatures nationwide.
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