Quran can be used in courtrooms


Well-Known Member
May 23, 2007

GREENSBORO — Muslims can now swear on the Quran when called as witnesses in North Carolina courtrooms, a Wake County judge ruled Thursday.

The decision represents a victory for the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina, which sued the state after two Guilford County judges rejected an offer from an Islamic center to provide county courthouses with free copies.

"The highest aim of every legal contest is the search for truth," Wake Superior Court Judge Paul Ridgeway wrote in an 18-page opinion. "To require pious and faithful practitioners of religions other than Christianity to swear oaths in a form other than the form most meaningful to them would thwart the search for the truth.

"It would elevate form over substance."

The Guilford County judges argued that North Carolina law only allowed oaths to be taken on the Bible. Ridgeway agreed that a phrase in written statures, "Holy Scriptures," refers to the Bible, but he cited other case law that would allow a Muslim to swear on the Quran.

His ruling is not limited to Muslims. For instance: Jewish worshippers can swear on the Hebrew Bible and Hindus on the Bhagavad-Gita. State law also allows people to affirm testimony by raising their hand.

The state has 30 days to appeal Ridgeway’s ruling to the N.C. Court of Appeals. Noelle Talley, a spokeswoman for the state Attorney General, said the office is reviewing the decision and has not decided whether to appeal.

An attorney for the ACLU of North Carolina applauded the Wake judge’s decision.

"We’re extremely pleased," said Seth Cohen, a Greensboro lawyer and lead attorney with the ACLU state chapter. "What we asked the court to do was to allow all people of faith to be able to use the religious text of their choice to be sworn in."

The Quran debate started in 2003, when a Browns Summit woman, Syidah Mateen, appeared as a witness in a domestic violence hearing. Mateen asked to swear on the Quran rather than the Bible.

No copy was available. When Mateen shared her experience with other members of a local Islamic center, the group collected money to buy and donate eight copies of the text.

The Guilford County judges rejected their donation in 2005. The state Administrative Office of the Courts declined to intervene, leading the ACLU to sue the state.

Another Wake judge initially dismissed the lawsuit, ruling that neither the ACLU nor Mateen demonstrated a legal controversy existed. The Court of Appeals overturned the dismissal early this year.

"I thought we would deliver them and everything would be quiet and we’d get it done. But it didn’t happen that way," Mateen said. "Not in a million years did I think it would get to this point.

"If you keep the faith, and do what you feel is right in your heart, you can be victorious. Today is a good day."

Ridgeway’s ruling does not require courthouses to keep religious texts on hand. It also affords judges the right to ban certain texts if the material "interferes with the dignity of the court."
That is hilarious.

I am an atheist, and I would refuse to swear upon anything.

However, If a Muslim wants to swear on the Koran, i agree that he has the right to.
Do you reckon if you said you would only tell the truth if you got to take a dump on the floor and swear on it they would let you?

As liberals do, they'd rather change the way they think than fight for what they believe in. You guys are the ones that became slaves. I'm personally so Goddamn mad about this it's not even...I don't even want to talk about it. It's so bad what's happening to this country, it's best not to talk about it.