Muslim woman challenges Pennsylvania law after judge forbids her from swearing oath on Koran
A Muslim woman is challenging a Pennsylvania law requiring witnesses to swear on the Christian Bible or make a non-religious affirmation before testifying in court.
A judge would not allow the woman to swear on a Koran before she took the stand in a custody dispute with her estranged husband, and she said the law violated her religious liberty, reported Americans United for Separation of Church and State.
The woman’s estranged husband, who is also Muslim, swore on the Bible before his testimony.
But he argued that her refusal to do so could be construed to make his testimony seem less truthful, and he argued to the court that her actions were a type of witness intimidation.
The judge rejected the woman’s argument that other states allow the use of non-Christian holy books.
The Pennsylvania statute, which calls for oaths on the “Holy Bible,” does allow for non-religious oaths, affirmations, and unspecified other types of oaths.
“Which oath so taken by persons who conscientiously refuse to take an oath in the common form shall be deemed and taken in law to have the same effect as an oath taken in common form,” the statute reads.
The woman and her attorney did not challenge the judge’s refusal to allow an oath under the Koran under that portion of the law.