DENVER — Judges who will decide whether Oklahoma can ban Islamic law from the state's courts raised questions Monday about the effect of the ban and why it applies to only one religion.
“There's no mention of any other specific law,” Judge Scott Matheson of the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals said during oral arguments about the ban voters approved in November by a wide margin.
“We just have Sharia law singled out,” Matheson said as he questioned Oklahoma Solicitor General Patrick Wyrick, who argued in defense of the ban becoming part of the state constitution.
“The intent here was to exclude Sharia law and international law,” Wyrick responded.
Oklahoma City Muslim Muneer Awad, with support from Islamic believers in other parts of the United States, claims in a court challenge that the ban violates the U.S. Constitution's protection for freedom of religion.
Another of the three appellate judges who will decide whether the ban will take effect, Terrence O'Brien, wondered if it would affect the preferences of people of other religions in child custody court cases.
Wyrick assured the judge the ban would not apply in those circumstances.
Awad's ACLU attorney, Micheal Salem, of Norman, cast the outlook in a different light. “It will only take 50 percent plus one to ban the next religion.”
“This was a pre-emptive strike against a religion they singled out,” Salem said.