US: New bill to allow courtroom oaths on Koran

State law allows witnesses to use only the Bible for oaths.

February 7, 2007 19:16
koran 88

koran 88. (photo credit: )

Courtroom oaths could be taken on the Koran and other sacred texts besides the Bible in a bill filed in the state Senate on Wednesday. The issue drew national attention last month when the first Muslim elected to US Congress took a ceremonial oath with a Koran once owned by Thomas Jefferson. In North Carolina, the issue appeared in 2003 when a Muslim woman sued the state because she was not allowed to swear an oath on the Koran when she was called as a witness in a court case. State law allows witnesses to use only the Bible for oaths. Three weeks ago, a state appeals court agreed to let her lawsuit continue. The new bill would allow an oath-taker to place a hand "upon the Bible or any text sacred to the party's religious faith." The court system would not be required to provide such texts, but it could accept donations. The bill also would make clear that oaths could be performed without the words "so help me God" if appropriate to the person's faith.

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