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Federal judge bars Oklahoma's certification of Sharia law amendment

U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange barred the certification of the Sharia law amendment. The Oklahoma Muslim community hailed her ruling as victory for the constitution while the amendment's authors expressed their disappointment.
BY CARLA HINTON Published: November 9, 2010

Miles-LaGrange took a 35-minute recess to consider the arguments.

In explaining her ruling, the judge said she found Awad had standing to request the temporary restraining order. She said the temporary restraining order would be in effect for 14 days, giving the attorney general's office time to file written briefs and Awad to file a response, if he deemed it necessary.

Outside the courthouse, Awad told reporters that all residents of Oklahoma, not just Muslims, would benefit from his challenge of the Sharia law amendment.

"It was in the public's interest to do this," he said.

One of the other local Muslim leaders who attended Monday's hearing agreed.

"The constitution won today," said Imad Enchassi, president of the Islamic Society of Oklahoma City.

The two authors of the amendment, called State Question 755 on the Nov. 2 ballot, said they were disappointed in Miles-LaGrange's ruling. Rep. Rex Duncan, R-Sand Springs, and Sen. Anthony Sykes, R-Moore, said they believe Awad's lawsuit thwarts the will of the voters. The measure was approved by 70 percent of voters.

Duncan said he was disappointed that the attorney general's office had not filed written briefs with the court.

"It's a little disappointing that the state has filed no briefs. They just showed up this morning," Duncan said.

Sykes said he was looking forward to Attorney General-elect Scott Pruitt getting involved in the case.

Duncan said while Oklahoma courts have yet to consider Sharia law, the measure was "targeting activist judges who want to make up the law as they go.

"It's a pre-emptive strike against activist judges."