ACLU lawsuit seeks use of Qur'an for courtroom oaths

A lawsuit over the use of the Qur'an and other non-Christian texts for courtroom oaths in the U.S. state of North Carolina should continue, the state court of appeals ruled.

ACLU lawsuit seeks use of Qur'an for courtroom oaths

The lawsuit was filed by the American Civil Liberties Union on behalf of a Muslim woman, Siydah Matteen, in July 2005 after she was denied permission to use the holy Qur'an to take a courtroom oath as a witness in a case in North Carolina in 2003.

A three-judge panel voted unanimously to reverse a trial court decision that had dismissed the challenge to state law and policy.

The trial judge initially dismissed the case, saying there was no actual controversy warranting litigation at the time .

But the appeals court said this wasn't the case, pointing to Matteen's case.

Chief Judge John Martin also said that several Jewish members of the North Carolina chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union have filed affidavits indicating they would prefer to swear upon the Old Testament, one of the religious texts of Judaism.

The debate over the use of the Qur'an in courtroom oaths erupted after Muslim leaders from the Al-Ummil Ummat Islamic Center in Greensboro tried to donate copies of Islam's holy book to Guilford County's two courthouses.

Guilford judges declined to accept the books, saying an oath on the Qur'an is not a legal oath under state law.

Currently, only the Bible can be used by witnesses when swearing or affirming truthful testimony.

State law allows witnesses to take their oath either by laying a hand over a "Holy Scripture", or by saying "so help me God" without the use of religious books or symbols.

The ACLU and the Washington-based Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called for a statewide policy allowing the use of the Qur'an and other religious texts in courtrooms.

But the director of the state court system rejected their request, saying the legislature or the courts must settle the issue.

The ACLU and Matteen then decided to file the lawsuit, arguing that the state law is unconstitutional because it favors Christianity over other religions.

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16