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Book: Shariʻa in the West

This book aims to open up new pathways for policymakers and civil society institutions grappling with the relationship between Shari’a and Western legal systems.

In February 2008, the Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan Williams, delivered a public lecture in which he stated that it “seem[ed] unavoidable” that certain aspects of Islamic law (Shari’a) would be recognized and incorporated into British law. The comments provoked outrage from sections of the public who viewed any recognition of Shari’a law in Britain with alarm. In July 2008 Lord Phillips, Lord Chief Justice of England and Wales, weighed into the fray. He praised the Archbishop’s speech and gave qualified support for Shari’a principles to govern certain family and civil disputes.

Responding to the polarized debate that followed these lectures, this is a collection of short essays written by distinguished and prominent scholars addressing the question of the accommodation of Shari’a within the legal systems of the liberal-democratic West. The matters raised in the two 2008 lectures provide a springboard for lively discussion, criticism and debate on both the specific question of religious/cultural accommodation by the law and the wider issues of multiculturalism, equality before the law and the desirability of parallel jurisdictions for particular faith communities.

Leading scholars from a range of countries and academic disciplines, and representing different political viewpoints and faith traditions explore the complex issues surrounding the legal recognition of religious faith in a multicultural society.

The volume aims to stimulate further thought on a complex issue, and to open up new pathways for policymakers and civil society institutions grappling with the relationship between Shari’a and Western legal systems.

Table of contents

  1. The Topography of Shari’a in the Western Political Landscape, Rex Ahdar and Nicholas Aroney
    I
    2. Multicultural Citizenship and the Shari’a Controversy in Britain, Tariq Modood
    3. The Archbishop of Canterbury: The Man and the Theology Behind the Shari’a Lecture, John Milbank
    4. Religious Courts’ Recognition Claims: Two Qualitatively Distinct Narratives, Jean-François Gaudreault-Desbiens
    5. Islamic Law, Fundamental Freedoms, and Social Cohesion: Retrospect and Prospect, Michael Nazir-Ali
    6. Shari’a and Pluralism, James W Skillen
    II
    7. Questions about the Reasonable Accommodation of Minorities, Jeremy Waldron
    8. Entangled: State, Religion, and the Family, Ayelet Shachar
    9. Shari’a and the True Basis of Group Rights: Islam, the West, and Liberalism, John Milbank
    10. Religious Courts, Personal Federalism, and Legal Transplants, Jean-François Gaudreault-Desbiens
    11. Natural Law, Democracy, and Shari’a, J. Budziszewski
    III
    12. Negotiating the Unfamiliar: Reflections from the Netherlands on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s Lecture, Sophie van Bijsterveld
    13. Reflections on the Establishment of Shari’a Courts in Australia, Abdullah Saeed
    14. In the Shadow of Our Legal System: Shari’a in Australia, Ann Black
    IV
    15. To Shari’aticize or not to Shari’aticize: Islamic and Secular Law in Liberal Democratic Society, Erich Kolig
    16. The Future of Muslim Family Law in Western Democracies, John Witte Jr
    Appendix I Civil and Religious Law in England: a Religious Perspective, The Archbishop of Canterbury, The Rt Rev Dr Rowan Williams
    Appendix II Equality Before the Law, Lord Phillips of Worth Matravers

Bibliographic Information

Title: Shariʻa in the West

Editors: Rex Ahdar and Nicholas Aroney

Publisher: Oxford University Press; 1 edition (December 11, 2011)

Language: English

Length: 350 pages

ISBN: 978-019958291

Pub. Date: December 11, 2011

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