Judge Dismisses Qur’an Courtroom Oath Lawsuit

December 8, 2005

Source: News-Record


On December 8, 2005 the News-Record reported, "A judge today dismissed a lawsuit prompted by outcry over the inability of Muslims to be sworn in Guilford County courts using the Qur'an, a lawyer in the case said. In throwing out the case, Superior Court Judge Donald L. Smith decided that no controversy existed because the plaintiff was still able to affirm she could truthfully testify despite not being allowed to swear on the Qur'an, attorney Seth Cohen said. The plaintiffs in the case were the American Civil Liberties Union of North Carolina and Greensboro Muslim Syidah Mateen. The defendant was the state of North Carolina because the plaintiffs were asking to clarify a state law referring to someone laying his hands on the 'Holy Scriptures.' Guilford Senior Resident Superior Court Judge W. Douglas Albright and Guilford Chief District Court Judge Joseph E. Turner believed an oath on the Qur'an is not a legal oath based on their interpretation of that law. In the suit, Mateen alleged she had appeared as a witness in a 2003 court hearing but was not allowed to take an oath on the Qur'an as she preferred. Cohen, the ACLU's attorney, said the group would discuss whether to appeal Smith's ruling. Smith has not yet made the ruling final by signing an order as of Thursday afternoon."