(WASHINGTON, D.C., 11/8/2010) -- The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) today announced that a federal judge in Oklahoma has temporarily blocked an anti-Islam state ballot measure (SQ 755) that would have amended that state's constitution to forbid judges from considering Islamic principles (Shariah) or international law when making a ruling.
U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange of the United States District Court -- Western District of Oklahoma today granted a temporary restraining order blocking certification of the recently-passed ballot measure by the Oklahoma State Board of Elections.
Judge Miles-LaGrange also scheduled a hearing on November 22 for arguments as to whether she should grant a preliminary injunction that would extend the restraining order until a final determination is made in the case.
Last Thursday, Muneer Awad, executive director of CAIR's Oklahoma chapter (CAIR-OK), filed a lawsuit as an individual challenging the constitutionality of the ballot measure.
Awad's lawsuit, based on his own Shariah-compliant will, said SQ 755 violates the First Amendment's Establishment Clause that bars government bodies from making laws “respecting the establishment of religion.”
"Today's ruling is a reminder of the strength of our nation's legal system and the protections it grants to religious minorities," said Awad. "We are humbled by this opportunity to show our fellow Oklahomans that Muslims are their neighbors and that we are committed to upholding the U.S. Constitution and promoting the benefits of apluralistic society."
At an impromptu news conference following today's ruling, CAIR officials called on the sponsors of the ballot measure to repudiate hate messages that have been received by Islamic institutions in Oklahoma following the passage of SQ 755.
CAIR says the ballot measure would infringe on the constitutional rights of ordinary Oklahomans -- including the right to wear religious head scarves in driver's license photographs, choose Islamic marriage contracts, implement Islamic wills, or to be buried according to one's religious beliefs.
CAIR is America's largest Muslim civil liberties and advocacy organization. Its mission is to enhance the understanding of Islam, encourage dialogue, protect civil liberties, empower American Muslims, and build coalitions that promote justice and mutual understanding.