ADL Applauds Federal Appeals Court Decision Rejecting Oklahoma Anti-Sharia Amendment

Dallas, TX, January 11, 2012 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) today applauded a decision by the Denver-based U.S. Court of Appeals that bars implementation of an Oklahoma constitutional amendment targeting Islamic (Sharia) law. The decision affirmed a lower court ruling that the initiative violates the First Amendment's Establishment Clause. 

"We commend the U.S. Court of Appeals for halting Oklahoma's anti-Sharia amendment," said Roberta Clark, Acting ADL North Texas/Oklahoma Regional Director. 

"This ruling is particularly noteworthy because it reinforces past court decisions invalidating laws that discriminate against a specific faith unless a narrow and compelling government interest could be demonstrated. As we have said before, these legislative efforts are the proverbial solution in search of a problem. Since there is no threat of Islamic law being inappropriately considered in our court system, the amendment had absolutely no justification." 

The so-called "Save Our State" amendment, approved by Oklahoma voters in November 2010, would prohibit Oklahoma courts from using or considering Islamic law. However, it contains no similar prohibition against other religious laws. 

ADL joined with other religious freedom advocates in submitting a friend-of-the-court (amicus) brief to the 10th Circuit in the case ofMuneer Awad v. Paul Ziriax, et. al., arguing that the Oklahoma amendment was unconstitutional.

The Anti-Defamation League was founded in 1913 to stop the defamation of the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment to all. Today it is the world’s leading organization combating anti-Semitism, exposing hate groups, training law enforcement on hate crimes, developing anti-bias education programs for students, countering cyber-hate and relentlessly pursuing equal rights for all.

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