Okla. forced to pay CAIR legal team over $300K after judge overturned Shariah amendment

Oklahoma will pick up the tab for a lawsuit that led the courts to overturn a Shariah law ballot measure overwhelmingly approved by voters in 2010, a judge ruled earlier this month.

Muneer Awad
Muneer Awad. Photo by Jim Beckel, The Oklahoman

U.S. District Judge Vicki Miles-LaGrange approved plaintiff Muneer Awad’s demand for the $303,333 he spent to fight the law, according to The Oklahoman.

After 70 percent of Oklahoma voters approved the so-called “Save Our State” amendment, Awad, a Muslim American and then-director of the Oklahoma chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations, filed a lawsuit to block it.

Miles-LaGrange ruled the law unconstitutional in August, barring the state’s courts from considering or using Shariah law.

The legislation, written by Republican state Rep. Rex Duncan, was meant as a “preemptive strike” against anyone attempting to use Shariah or other international laws in state courts.

Michael Salem, a CAIR attorney who represented Awad, mocked the state’s position, telling The Oklahoman that the law was pointless.

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“It created a solution where there was no problem that existed,” he 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.”

Adam Soltani, the current executive director of CAIR’s Oklahoma chapter and a fellow plaintiff in the lawsuit, told Voice of Russia, “Shariah is the moral code of conduct for Muslims.”

“When this law was passed, we really believed it was a certain group of legislators that were really pushing this bill, and they were really trying to demote Muslims in the state of Oklahoma to second class citizens,” Soltani said.

The Florida Legislature passed a similar measure prohibiting application of foreign laws in family courts, and Gov. Rick Scott signed it into law earlier this month.

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