A ruling from a state appeals court has reopened a case prompted because a Muslim woman wanted to use a Quran – a book that an expert on Islam says allows Muslims to lie under compulsion – on which to swear her oath of honesty in a court hearing.
The lawsuit was filed by Sydiah Mateen with help from the American Civil Liberties Union in 2005 after she was denied permission to use a Quran to take the courtroom oath in a case in North Carolina.
Requirements vary from state to state, but North Carolina requires an oath either with a hand on the “Holy Scriptures” or by swearing by God they are telling the truth.
But the lawsuit seeks to expand the state’s existing definition of “Holy Scripture,” which was changed from “Gospels” about 20 years ago, to include the Islamic writings.
Without taking a position on the merits of the case, the state Court of Appeals said the dispute should be resolved in the courtroom.
Superior Court Judge Donald L. Smith had dismissed the claim a few months after its filing, saying there was no dispute to resolve because the testimony from Mateen was finished.
But Jennifer Rudinger, who heads the ACLU state chapter, said the government is required to allow individuals to be sworn in “on the holy text that is in accordance with their faith.” It was the ACLU that brought the issue to the appeals court.
After Mateen’s experience in the courtroom, officials with the Al-Ummil Ummat Islamic Center attempted to donate copies of the Quran, but the judges declined to accept them, saying state law does not consider an oath on the Quran as legal.
The JihadWatch.org website, however, asked: “How can we be sure he will be telling the truth if he swears on the Quran? The Quran tells Muslims that they may utter unbelief if ‘under compulsion.'”
The website cited the Quran, verse 16:106: “Any one who, after accepting faith in Allah, utters Unbelief – except under compulsion, his heart remaining firm in Faith – but such as open their breast to Unbelief, on them is Wrath from Allah, and theirs will be a dreadful Penalty.”
The option to not use the Bible should be sufficient, a spokesman for a Christian group said.
“Given the fact that it’s a Judeo-Christian nation, when we say Holy Scriptures we mean the Bible,” said Steve Noble, of Called2Action.
It’s just the latest confrontation in a growing movement to expand the use of the Quran in a number of ways in the United States. Muslim Congressman Keith Ellison of Minnesota recently used a copy of Thomas Jefferson’s Quran for the ceremonial swearing-in to Congress.
In an interview with USINFO, Ellison spokesman Rick Jauert said the choice of Jefferson’s Quran was significant because it “dates religious tolerance back to the time of our founding fathers.”
“Jefferson was … one of the more profound thinkers of the time, who recognized even then that there was nothing to fear, and in fact there was strength in recognizing religious tolerance,” he said.
But a Special Forces veteran and commentator said Jefferson likely used his Quran to know his enemies, since he was the one who pursued warfare against the Muslim Barbary pirates along the coast of Africa from 1801-1804.
Ted Sampley, the publisher of U.S. Veteran Dispatch, said the U.S. paid “tribute” and “ransom” to the pirates over the years, but Jefferson was in favor of settling the dispute “through the medium of war.”
As WND also has reported Ellison has allowed his supporters to shout, “Allahu Akbar!,” the same phrase allegedly used by the 9/11 suicide pilots, and he has confirmed that “in terms of political agenda items, my faith informs these things.”
Ellison’s campaign also was backed by the Washington-based lobby group Council on American-Islamic Relations. CAIR held fundraisers for Ellison, a civil-rights lawyer and one-time acolyte of Louis Farrakhan who admits to making anti-Semitic remarks in the past (under various alias including Keith Hakim, Keith Ellison-Muhammad and Keith X Ellison).
CAIR’s founder has argued the Quran should replace the Constitution as the highest authority in the land. The group’s director of communications, moreover, has expressed his desire to see the U.S. become an Islamic state.
The Quran also has been taught in various U.S. public schools through various programs that include courses on the “Five Pillars of Islam” and other subjects.
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