ORONO, Maine — The Islamic Center of Maine will hold its fifth annual open house on March 22.

Guest speaker Corey Saylor, legislative director for the Council on American-Islamic Relations in Washington, D.C., will address the topic: “Is Shari’a Compatible with Democracy?”

“Sharia is a very misunderstood term,” Saylor said Thursday in a telephone interview. “It is a term for the Islamic religious principles including how you pray and the dietary laws. They are not codified but very open to ongoing interpretations.”

Seven states over the past several years have passed laws prohibiting judges in those states from applying religious law in their decisions. In January 2012, a federal appeals court upheld a block on a proposed constitutional amendment in Oklahoma to ban Sharia from being applied by judges in that state, according to a report published in the Washington Post.

The Oklahoma law was struck down because it specifically banned Sharia, Saylor said Thursday. Laws in other states were not.

“Sharia is more than simply ‘law’ in the prescriptive sense,” according to information posted on the website Sharia in America, founded by attorney Abed Awad. “It is also a methodology through which a jurist engages the religious texts to ascertain divine will. As a jurist-made law, the outcome of this process of ascertaining divine will is called fiqh, or positive law, which is the moral and legal anchor of a Muslim’s total existence.”

That puts it in conflict with American jurisprudence, according to information on the website for the Center for Security Policy.

“In 2010, the center researched state appellate cases finding 50 representative cases in 23 states where shariah law was introduced; in 27 of those 50 cases, either the trial or appellate judge ruled in favor of shariah over constitutional principles or state public policy,” the website said. “These shariah-compliant judgments — typically enforcing ‘comity’ with foreign shariah laws — have often resulted in a denial of equal protection to American Muslim women or children seeking justice in American courts.”

The founder of the Sharia in America Website said that Islamic law, along with international laws, have a place in American courts so that marriages, divorces and business deals made in other countries can be recognized in the United States.

The open house will be held 5-7 p.m. Saturday, March 22, at the Islamic Center of Maine, 151 Park St., Orono. For information, call 866-3410 or visit http://theicmo.com.