Category Archives: Yosefa A. Heber

Shah, “Islamic Law and the Law of Armed Conflict”

This month, Routledge published Islamic Law and the Law of Armed Conflict: The Conflict in Pakistan by Niaz A. Shah (University of Hull, UK).  The publisher’s description follows.Islamic Law

Islamic Law and the Law of Armed Conflict: The Conflict in Pakistan demonstrates how international law can be applied in Muslim states in a way that is compatible with Islamic law. Within this broader framework of compatible application, Niaz A. Shah argues that the Islamic law of qital (i.e. armed conflict) and the law of armed conflict are compatible with each other and that the former can complement the latter at national and regional levels. Shah identifies grey areas in the Islamic law of qital and argues for their expansion and clarification. Shah also calls for new rules to be developed to cover what he calls the blind spots in the Islamic law of qital. He shows how Islamic law and the law of armed conflict could contribute to each other in certain areas, such as, the law of occupation; air and naval warfare; and the use of modern weaponry. Such a contribution is neither prohibited by Islamic law nor by international law.

Shah applies the Islamic law of qital and the law of armed conflict to a live armed conflict in Pakistan and argues that all parties, the Taliban, the security forces of Pakistan and the American CIA, have violated one or more of the applicable laws. He maintains that whilst militancy is a genuine problem, fighting militants does not allow or condone violation of the law.

El Shamsy, “The Canonization of Early Islamic Law”

This June, Cambridge University Press will publish The Canonization of Early Islamic Law: A Social and Intellectual History by Ahmed El Shamsy (University of Chicago).  The publisher’s description follows.

The Canonization of Islamic Law tells the story of the birth of classical Islamic law in the eighth and ninth centuries CE. It shows how an oral normative tradition embedded in communal practice was transformed into a systematic legal science defined by hermeneutic analysis of a clearly demarcated scriptural canon. This transformation was inaugurated by the innovative legal theory of Muḥammad b. Idrīs al-Shāfiʿī (d. 820 CE), and it took place against the background of a crisis of identity and religious authority in ninth-century Egypt. By tracing the formulation, reception, interpretation, and spread of al-Shāfiʿī’s ideas, the author demonstrates how the canonization of scripture that lay at the heart of al-Shāfiʿī’s theory formed the basis for the emergence of legal hermeneutics, the formation of the Sunni schools of law, and the creation of a shared methodological basis in Muslim thought.

Tebbe (ed.), “Religion and Equality Law”

This June, Ashgate Publishing will publish Religion and Equality Law edited by Nelson Tebbe (Brooklyn Law School). The publisher’s description follows.

The essays selected for this volume address topics at the intersection of religion and equality law, including discrimination against religion, discrimination by religious actors and discrimination in favor of religious groups and traditions. The introduction provides a conceptual guide to these types of inequality – which are often misunderstood or conflated – and it offers an analysis of different species of discrimination within each broad category. Each section of the volume contains both theoretical essays, which set out frameworks for thinking about the relevant type of inequality, and essays that examine real-world disputes. For example, the articles address the conflicts over headscarf laws in France and Turkey, the place of so-called traditional religions in Africa, the display of Roman Catholic crucifixes in Italian classrooms, and the ability of American religious organizations to be free of employment laws in their treatment of clergy. This volume brings together classic articles which are otherwise difficult to access, enables students to study key articles side-by-side, and provides instructors with a valuable teaching resource.

Elliott on Religion in Northern Ireland

Last month, Wiley Online Library posted Religion and Sectarianism in Ulster: Interpreting the Northern Ireland Troubles published in Religion Compass by Laurence Elliot.  The description follows.

The following article considers the various arguments and counter-arguments around the role of religion in causing and sustaining the conflict in Northern Ireland. It identifies the essential elements of the problem and assesses a number of the explanations given, emphasising the difficulty of providing a single answer to such a complex question. The correlation between religion and the divisions in Northern Ireland seems at first sight obvious, but, as a number of commentators have rightly observed, pinning down the relationship between someone’s religion and their attitudes is much more problematic. This essay therefore avoids the reductionism and ‘either/or’ formulations of so many scholars on both sides of the debate, instead emphasising that religion is ultimately one of a number of dimensions to Northern Irish identity, the politics of which sustains the social divisions and was the source of the political violence that ravaged the region.

Ruane, “Sacrifice and Gender in Biblical Law”

This June, Cambridge University Press will publish Sacrifice and Gender in Biblical Law by Nicole J. Ruane (Syracuse University).  The publisher’s description follows.Sacrifice and Gender

This book examines the Hebrew Bible’s numerous laws about sacrificial procedure to understand the significance of gender in sacrificial rituals and the reasons that gender distinctions are so vital in these acts. Gender selection of both victims and participants is an intrinsic aspect of the nature and purpose of each rite, affecting its form and function, as well as its legitimacy. Sacrifice and Gender in Biblical Law considers the laws of the firstborn, the rite of the red cow, laws of slaughter, rituals of purification, and other offerings. It shows that these laws regulate material wealth and contribute to the construction of social roles.

Al-Rasheed, “A Most Masculine State”

This month, Cambridge University Press will publish A Most Masculine State: Gender, Politics and Religion in Saudi Arabia by Madawi Al-Rasheed (University of London).  The publisher’s description follows.A Most Masculine

Women in Saudi Arabia are often described as either victims of patriarchal religion and society or successful survivors of discrimination imposed on them by others. Madawi Al-Rasheed’s new book goes beyond these conventional tropes to probe the historical, political, and religious forces that have, across the years, delayed and thwarted their emancipation. The book demonstrates how, under the patronage of the state and its religious nationalism, women have become hostage to contradictory political projects that on the one hand demand female piety, and on the other hand encourage modernity. Drawing on state documents, media sources, and interviews with women from across Saudi society, the book examines the intersection between gender, religion, and politics to explain these contradictions and to show that, despite these restraints, vibrant debates on the question of women are opening up as the struggle for recognition and equality finally gets under way.

Waltman, “Congress, the Supreme Court, and Religious Liberty”

This June, Palgrave MacMillan will publish Congress, the Supreme Court, and Religious Liberty: The Case of City of Boerne v. Flores by Jerold Waltman (Baylor University).  The publisher’s description follows.Waltman

In the landmark case City of Boerne v. Flores, the Supreme Court struck down a major federal statute – the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 1993. This decision raised questions not only about religious freedom in America, but also about federalism and separation of powers. Using the narrative framework of a tense dispute that divided a small Texas town, Waltman offers the first book-length analysis of the constitutional jurisprudence involved in the passage of the act. Congress, the Supreme Court, and Religious Liberty shows how this case and others like it stimulated and advanced an intense legal debate still ongoing today: Can and should the Supreme Court be the exclusive interpreter of the Constitution?

McCrudden & O’Leary, “Courts and Consociations”

This May, Oxford University Press will publish Courts and Consociations: Human Rights versus Power-Sharing by Christopher McCrudden (Queen’s University, Belfast & University of Michigan Law School) and Brendan O’Leary (Queen’s University, Belfast).  The publisher’s description follows.Courts

Consociations are power-sharing arrangements, increasingly used to manage ethno-nationalist, ethno-linguistic, and ethno-religious conflicts. Current examples include Belgium, Bosnia, Northern Ireland, Burundi, and Iraq. Despite their growing popularity, they have begun to be challenged before human rights courts as being incompatible with human rights norms, particularly equality and non-discrimination.

Courts and Consociations examines the use of power-sharing agreements, their legitimacy, and their compatibility with human rights law. Key questions include to what extent, if any, consociations conflict with the liberal individualist preferences of international human rights institutions, and to what extent consociational power-sharing may be justified to preserve peace and the integrity of political settlements.

In three critical cases, the European Court of Human Rights has considered equality challenges to important consociational practices, twice in Belgium and then in Sejdic and Finci v Bosnia regarding the constitution established for Bosnia Herzegovina under the Dayton Agreement. The Court’s decision in Sejdic and Finci has significantly altered the approach it previously took to judicial review of consociational arrangements in Belgium. This book accounts for this change and assess its implications. The problematic aspects of the current state of law are demonstrated. Future negotiators in places riven by potential or actual bloody ethnic conflicts may now have less flexibility in reaching a workable settlement, which may unintentionally contribute to sustaining such conflicts and make it more likely that negotiators will consider excluding regional and international courts from reviewing these political settlements.

Providing a clear, accessible introduction to both the political use of power-sharing settlements and the human rights law on the issue, this book is an invaluable guide to all academics, students, and professionals engaged with transitional justice, peace agreements, and contemporary human rights law.

Rogers, “Aquinas and the Supreme Court”

This May, Wiley will publish Aquinas and the Supreme Court: Biblical Narratives of Jews, Gentiles and Gender by Eugene F. Rogers, Jr. (University of North Carolina).  The publisher’s description follows.ebook_k

This new work clarifies Aquinas’ concept of natural law through his biblical commentaries, and explores its applications to U.S. constitutional law.

  • The first time the use of Aquinas on the U.S. Supreme Court has been explored in depth, and its applications tested through a rigorous reading of the biblical commentaries
  • Shows how key judgments in the Supreme Court have rested on medieval natural law, and applies critical gender theory to discuss problems with these applications
  • Offers new research data to give a different picture of Aquinas and natural law, and a fresh take on Aquinas’ biblical commentaries
  • New research based on passages in the biblical commentaries never before available in English

Boroujerdi (ed.), “Mirror for the Muslim Prince”

This month, Syracuse University Press published Mirror for the Muslim Prince: Islam and the Theory of Statecraft edited by Mehrzad Boroujerdi (Syracuse University).  The publisher’s description follows.Muslim Prince

In this volume, a group of distinguished scholars reinterpret concepts and canons of Islamic thought in Arab, Persian, South Asian, and Turkish traditions. They demonstrate that there is no unitary “Islamic” position on important issues of statecraft and governance. They recognize that Islam is a discursive site marked by silences, agreements, and animated controversies. Rigorous debates and profound disagreements among Muslim theologians, philosophers, and literati have taken place over such questions as: What is an Islamic state? Was the state ever viewed as an independent political institution in the Islamic tradition of political thought? Is it possible that a religion that places an inordinate emphasis upon the importance of good deeds does not indeed have a vigorous notion of “public interest” or a systematic theory of government? Does Islam provide an edifice, a common idiom, and an ideological mooring for premodern and modern Muslim rulers alike? The nuanced reading of the Islamic traditions provided in this book will help future generations of Muslims contemplate a more humane style of statecraft.