In the midst of a national debate about the incompatibility between the Constitution of the United States and Sharia law as imposed in Muslim countries, a Black Muslim woman in Brooklyn, New York seemingly pledged to obey both while taking public office.

New York Judge Carolyn Walker-Diallo took her oath to uphold the laws of the U.S. Constitution as a civil court judge with her hand on the Quran.

Judge Walker sworn in as a Judge holding the Holy Quran, at the Brooklyn Borough Hall.Kazi W Swapan Shakawat Ali Nazrul Haque Siraj Uddin Ahamed Mohammed Baro Bhuiyan Tbn NY TIME Debabrata Podder William Rivera Peter K. Stafford

Posted by Mohammed N. Mujumder on Thursday, December 10, 2015

The judge, who ran unopposed in the November election, wore a patterned hijab, the headscarf worn by Muslim women after puberty as a sign of modesty.

Although members of U.S. courts, as well as elected officials have traditionally taken their oaths while swearing on the Bible, a practice also followed in most Western countries, the new judge chose to use the Quran, the book of her Muslim faith.

Congressman, Keith Ellison (D-MN), the first Muslim to be elected to the U.S. Congress, was sworn in by then-House Speaker, Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) in January 2007 who held a copy of the Quran for him as he took the oath of office with his hand on the book.

Judge Walker-Diallo’s oath-taking was posted as a video on Facebook and her statement about the occasion appeared on her website.

“All is praise is indeed due to the Most High! I am humbled that my community has entrusted me with the immense responsibility of ensuring that EVERYONE has notice and a FAIR opportunity to be heard in the halls of justice.”

Not surprisingly, the Facebook post has garnered support and criticism.

“Good on her. Doesn’t matter if it’s a Bible or a Holy Quran, it’s just the promise to perform to the best of your ability, swearing on something sacred to you,” wrote one Facebook user.

Another agreed saying, “She follows the Constitution – just as Christian judges don’t follow the Bible when they pass a verdict, she will not follow the Quran when she rules in a court of law.” 

Several Facebook users posted inflammatory comments and photographs to express disapproval of Walker’s choice, including one who posted a picture of the Quran in flames.

Walker-Diallo's decision, in fact, served to distracted attention from her qualifications and positions on the issues that will be argued in her courtroom.


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