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Oklahoma Must Pay $300,000 After Passing Law Banning Sharia Law in the Courts

The State of Oklahoma must pay $300,000 in legal fees after a group of concerned citizens challenged the state over their anti-Sharia Law legislation.

The ‘Save our State Amendment,’ approved by 70 percent of the voters in 2010, attempted to ban the use of Sharia Law in Oklahoma courtrooms.

Opponents of the amendment argued that while it is really not a valid concern to think judges will consider sharia laws in lieu of constitutional and state law in their courtrooms, what the bill truly would do was endanger Muslims living in Oklahoma whose contracts and wills reference Islamic traditions, thus denying Muslim-Americans the full right to practice their faith and causing issues with probate.

Ultimately, the court of appeals agreed.

“While the public has an interest in the will of the voters being carried out … the public has a more profound and long-term interest in upholding an individual’s constitutional rights,” the appeals court said in a 37-page written decision in January.

Now, the federal courts have ordered that the state of Oklahoma cover all the legal costs for Muneer Awad, the director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), who challenged the amendment in courts.

An attorney for Awad and CAIR said the most ridiculous aspect of this whole case is not that Oklahoma will have to pay out for violating religious freedoms, but that they have to pay out because they devised a law to stop a problem that never really existed in the first place.

“It created a solution where there was no problem that existed,” Michael Salem said. “This was just politicians optimistically looking for an issue. Look what happened. Not only did the state question get struck down, but they’ll have to pay attorney fees and interest over three years.”

State Senator Anthony Sykes, though, decried the court’s decision and called it an attempt by the feds  “to silence the voice of 70 percent of Oklahoma voters.”

Sykes also called for the judicial system to wake-up and give the power back to the people. “At some point we have to decide whether this is a country of, by and for the judges, or of, by and for the people,” he said.

Photo Credit: Village Square (Illustrative)

About the author

Tamar is a New York based freelance writer and photographer whose work has appeared in over 15 publications. You can catch her work regularly on Issue Hawk, Latest, Jspace, and MediaGlobal.

  • dacr555

    Typical republicans. Shouting out how they uphold the constitution out of one side of their mouths while stomping on the rights of others they don’t agree with out of the other side of their mouths. The will of the people is to uphold the constitution of the United States. The first amendment of the constitution says “Congress
    shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the
    free exercise thereof; ………..” So these people should be scrambling to make sure that every religion is safe. The power of the people doesn’t mean that the will of a bunch of radicals can subvert the constitution when that group doesn’t like somebody. Seems they have a conflict of interest when it comes to the constitution and the “will of the people”.

    • Get out of my Country dacr555….You are part of the problem. English, Constitution, and Bill of Rights have nothing to do with Sharia Law from another Country you comunist idiot.

      • Patrick Nance

        And you sir jmhboots need to remember that your ancestors came here from somewhere else unless you are Native American. This law was unjust and unconstitutional as it denied certain rights to non-Christians. Sharia Law is not from another country, it is religious based. So you are the idiot, sir and you are THE problem. By the way, YOUR country? I think not…

      • commonsense101

        apparently you failed to read the entire article. They passed legislation that “solved” a non-existent problem. By doing so they not only wasted tax payers monies in the time it took to vote on the bill but it is a veiled attempt at discriminating against a religion not of their own. So when the bill was challenged, and found to be what it truly was, they now have to waste more tax monies on paying legal fees. Now the question I propose is this. If certain groups are against government waste then why do they seem to have no problem wasting time and monies on things that either A) is an attempt to inject theology into government B) utterly useless legislation or C) WTF, are you serious? I could go on but I do not wish to waste anymore of my time. You’re response will most likely involve a lack luster attempt at history, government, and or theology with a dash of name calling and utter nonsense. Have a good night sir.