ADL Opposes Oklahoma Anti-Sharia Measure

Dallas, Texas, May 19, 2011 … The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) has joined with other religious freedom advocates in submitting a friend-of-the-court brief to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals arguing that an Oklahoma constitutional amendment targeting Islamic (Sharia) Law is unconstitutional.

The so-called "Save Our State" amendment prohibits Oklahoma Courts from using Islamic law. However, it contains no similar specific prohibition on other religious laws. The amicus brief argues that the amendment violates the federal Establishment Clause because it is discriminatory and the measure's plain purpose is to disprove of the Islamic tradition.

"This amendment is patently unconstitutional," said Mark L. Briskman, ADL North Texas/Oklahoma Regional Director. "Its text and the circumstances surrounding the amendment's legislative passage clearly demonstrate disfavor of Islam. If the federal Establishment Clause stands for anything, it most certainly stands for the principle that government does not favor or disfavor particular faiths."

In November 2010, Oklahoma voters approved the amendment. In the same month, a lower court granted a preliminary injunction barring its implementation. The brief asks the Appeals Court to confirm the lower court's ruling.

The case is Muneer Awad v. Paul Ziriax, et. al.

ADL is the world’s leading anti-hate organization. Founded in 1913 in response to an escalating climate of anti-Semitism and bigotry, its timeless mission is to protect the Jewish people and to secure justice and fair treatment for all. Today, ADL continues to fight all forms of hate with the same vigor and passion. A global leader in exposing extremism, delivering anti-bias education, and fighting hate online, ADL is the first call when acts of anti-Semitism occur. ADL’s ultimate goal is a world in which no group or individual suffers from bias, discrimination or hate.

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