New York City’s newest judge has caused a bit of a stir, and it’s not for her approach to jurisprudence. Carolyn Walker-Diallo, who is Muslim, swore on a copy of the Quran to take a seat on Brooklyn’s 7th Municipal District Court. The New York Daily News reports that the backlash is so fierce that Diallo’s supporters now fear for her safety.
A Pennsylvania judge forbade a Muslim woman from swearing on the Quran before taking the witness stand in a custody dispute. The ruling upholds a state law that requires witnesses to swear on the Christian Bible or make a non-religious affirmation before offering testimony.
The woman had argued that the state’s law violated her religious liberty rights and exhibited a preference for Christianity over Islam and other religions.
Religiously tinged oaths are a pretty common feature of American life. Anyone who has watched a courtroom drama on television has probably seen witnesses being sworn in on a Bible, vowing to tell the truth "so help me, God."