Friday, November 30, 2007

New Blog on Islamic Law

I don't usually post simply for the purpose of plugging another blog, but I'll make an exception to that principle for University of Pittsburgh law prof Haider Hamoudi, who has just started a new blog on Islamic law. His first post examines two recently noteworthy cases: the English woman jailed and exiled for calling a teddy bear Mohammed (in response to her students' request) and the Saudi woman sentenced to 200 lashes for being in a car with a man not her husband (and possibly for then having been gang raped). Hamoudi condemns these sentences but goes on to explain how the claim that they carry out "Islamic law" rests on numerous controversial premises. It's worth a read.

Posted by Mike Dorf

13 comments:

egarber said...

One question I'm always curious about is whether Islamic law is compatible with secular law. According to western Muslim friends, it most definitely is -- Islam and western democracy can fit together well. But they also say that it can be quite different in majority Muslim nations, because that's where the western / middle eastern differences about *political* (vs. theological) Islam become most pronounced.

It would be nice to have a guest expert blogger answer some of this if possible. This is especially important, given my sense that there is a very real anti-Muslim backlash in the U.S. today. Why else would it even matter that Obama once lived within six degrees of Islam?

egarber said...

One question I'm always curious about is whether Islamic law is compatible with secular law.

To be more precise, I should ask whether Islam itself is compatible -- not Islamic Law.

hahamoudi said...

Thanks Mike for the kind post.

As for these comments, egarber, they are extremely relevant and good questions, and I couldn't do justice to them in a single comment posting, but I will say this. I am not at all convinced that there is or can be a sensible divide between "theological" Islam and "political" Islam any more than there is a clear divide in the US for example between "law" and "politics". Those whose political and ideological dispositions lead them to reject western democracy will find ample theological principles in support of this, and those who are more enamored of liberal democracy (most American Muslims, as you point out) will find ample support for their position as well. To me, the question is far less "what is it in Islam that prevents acceptance of liberal democracy" than "why is it that so many Muslims outside of the US are so resistant to it and thus develop interpretive positions respecting Islam that force a conflict between these two norms." Again, thanks to both of you

HAH

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