Judge extends ban on Oklahoma's anti-Islamic law
OKLAHOMA CITY (Reuters) - A federal judge in Oklahoma on Monday extended a temporary ban on the state's new constitutional amendment that prohibits state courts from recognizing Islamic law.
U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange said she would take another seven days to consider a permanent injunction blocking the constitutional amendment, which was approved by voters on Nov 2.
The ballot initiative, approved by 70 percent of voters, banned the use of Sharia, which Muslims generally consider sacred Islamic law, in Oklahoma courts.
Defenders of the law have said they want to prevent Islamic law from superceding state and federal laws. But opponents said thsupersedinge amendment is discriminatory.
"Hopefully she will issue something more permanent," said Muneer Awad, the executive director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who filed the lawsuit challenging the amendment.
Awad said the amendment was "ridiculous," and represents an "official state disapproval of my faith." He said it could nullify his will or other legal contracts between Muslims.
"We think it is a clear violation of the constitution... that a bill would discriminate against one religious community," said Awad.
Oklahoma has a small population of Muslims, estimated at roughly between 15,000 and 30,000, according to CAIR. The organization said its offices have been the target of hate mail and threats of violence since the suit was filed. (Reporting by Carey Gillam, editing by Greg McCune)