This July, Martinus Nijhoff Publishers will publish Islam and International Law: Engaging Self-Centrism from a Plurality of Perspectives edited by Marie-Luisa Frick (University of Innsbruck) and Andreas Th. Müller (University of Innsbruck). The publisher’s description follows.
Islam and International Law explores the complex and multi-faceted relationship of international law and Islam both as a religion and a legal order. Current debates on Sharia, Islam and the “West” often suffer from prejudice, platitudes, and stereotypes on both sides. The present book seeks to engage such self-centrism by providing a plurality of perspectives, both in terms of interdisciplinary research and geographic backgrounds. The volume thus brings together 20 contributions from scholars who cover pressing issues in fields such as the use of force in Islamic international law, Islam’s contribution to the development of diplomacy and the rule of law, controversies as to the role of the individual, human rights and international criminal law, as well as Islamic visions of world order in a globalizing world.
This September, Cambridge University Press will publish Human Rights Under State-Enforced Religious Family Laws in Israel, Egypt, and India by Yüksel Sezgin (Syracuse University). The publisher’s description follows.
About one-third of the world’s population currently lives under pluri-legal systems where governments hold individuals subject to the purview of ethno-religious rather than national norms in respect to family law. How does the state-enforcement of these religious family laws impact fundamental rights and liberties? What resistance strategies do people employ in order to overcome the disabilities and limitations these religious laws impose upon their rights? Based on archival research, court observations and interviews with individuals from three countries, Yüksel Sezgin shows that governments have often intervened in order to impress a particular image of subjectivity upon a society, while people have constantly challenged the interpretive monopoly of courts and state-sanctioned religious institutions, re-negotiated their rights and duties under the law, and changed the system from within. He also identifies key lessons and best practices for the integration of universal human rights principles into religious legal systems.
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 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.
This April, Cambridge University Press will publish Normative Pluralism and International Law: Exploring Global Governance edited by Jan Klabbers (Helsinki University) and Touko Piiparinen (Finnish Institute of International Affairs). The publisher’s description follows.
This book addresses conflicts involving different normative orders: What happens when international law prohibits behavior, but the same behavior is nonetheless morally justified or warranted? Can the actor concerned ignore international law under appeal to morality? Can soldiers escape legal liability by pointing to honor? Can accountants do so under reference to professional standards? How, in other words, does law relate to other normative orders? The assumption behind this book is that law no longer automatically claims supremacy, but that actors can pick and choose which code to follow. The novelty resides not so much in identifying conflicts, but in exploring if, when, and how different orders can be used intentionally. In doing so, the book covers conflicts between legal orders and conflicts involving law and honor, self-regulation, lex mercatoria, local social practices, bureaucracy, religion, professional standards, and morality.
On March 26 in Washington, Georgetown’s Berkley Center will host a book talk by Katherine Marshall, “Global Institutions of Religion: Ancient Movers, Modern Shakers”:
Religious institutions play diverse and often poorly understood roles in world affairs, even though many were among the first organizations to gain a global reach. A new book, Global Institutions of Religion: Ancient Movers, Modern Shakers, by Katherine Marshall, fills a gap in current literature by examining the wide range of bodies that govern and coordinate religious communities, their relations with other transnational institutions, and their role in the world today.
Marshall will discuss her latest book in the context of her career as a practitioner and scholar, and offer thoughts on the religious dimensions of issues such as human rights, human security, climate change, international development, and humanitarian relief.
Details are here.
Last December, Routledge published Human Dignity in Bioethics: From Worldviews to the Public Square (2012) edited by Stephen Dilley (St. Edward’s U.), and Nathan J. Palpant (U. of Washington). The publisher’s description follows.
Human Dignity in Bioethics brings together a collection of essays that rigorously examine the concept of human dignity from its metaphysical foundations to its polemical deployment in bioethical controversies. The volume falls into three parts, beginning with meta-level perspectives and moving to concrete applications.
Part 1 analyzes human dignity through a worldview lens, exploring the source and meaning of human dignity from naturalist, postmodernist, Protestant, and Catholic vantages, respectively, letting each side explain and defend its own conception. Part 2 moves from metaphysical moorings to key areas of macro-level influence: international politics, American law, and biological science. These chapters examine the legitimacy of the concept of dignity in documents by international political bodies, the role of dignity in American jurisprudence, and the implications—and challenges—for dignity posed by Darwinism. Part 3 shifts from macro-level topics to concrete applications by examining the rhetoric of human dignity in specific controversies: embryonic stem cell research, abortion, human-animal chimeras, euthanasia and palliative care, psychotropic drugs, and assisted reproductive technologies. Each chapter analyzes the rhetorical use of ‘human dignity’ by opposing camps, assessing the utility of the concept and whether a different concept or approach can be a more productive means of framing or guiding the debate.
Hilmi M. Zawati (McGill University) has posted Just War, Peace and Human Rights Under Islamic and International Law. The abstract follows.
The present thesis attempts a critical examination of the theory of war under Islamic and public international law, in an effort to demonstrate that jihad is a just, defensive, and exceptional form of warfare, geared to the maintenance of peace, and the protection of human rights for all people, whether those rights be exercised alone or in association with others, without distinction as to race, sex, language or religious belief. Through an examination of the norms of Islamic and public international law on armed conflict, this thesis argues that Islamic law, which governs the doctrine of jihad, is realistic and practical. Further, it made a great contribution to international humanitarian law more than a millennium before the codification of the four Geneva Conventions of 1949, and eight centuries before the appearance of Hugo Grotius treatise De jure belli ac pacis libri tres in 1625.
Furthermore, this comparative study reveals that the word jihad might be one of the most misunderstood terms in the history of Islamic legal discourse. This analysis also claims that the division of the world into dar al-Islam (territory of Islam) and dar al-harb (territory of war), which is not predicated on a state of mutual hostility, was dictated by particular events, and was not imposed by scripture. Moreover, this discussion provides that Islamic humanitarian law regulates conduct during a jihad on the basis of certain humane principles, compatible with those upon which modern international conventions are based. Finally, this thesis concludes that there is a unique relationship between jihad and the notion of just war, a matter which qualifies it as the bellum justum of Islam.
Next month, Harvard University Press will publish Indigenous (In)Justice: Human Rights Law and Bedouin Arabs in the Naqab/Negev edited by Ahmad Amara (PhD Candidate, NYU), Ismael Abu-Saad (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev), Oren Yiftachel (Ben-Gurion University of the Negev). The publisher’s description follows.
The indigenous Bedouin Arab population in the Naqab/Negev desert in Israel has experienced a history of displacement, intense political conflict, and cultural disruption, along with recent rapid modernization, forced urbanization, and migration. This volume of essays highlights international, national, and comparative law perspectives and explores the legal and human rights dimensions of land, planning, and housing issues, as well as the economic, social, and cultural rights of indigenous peoples. Within this context, the essays examine the various dimensions of the “negotiations” between the Bedouin Arab population and the State of Israel.
Indigenous (In)Justice locates the discussion of the Naqab/Negev question within the broader Israeli-Palestinian conflict and within key international debates among legal scholars and human rights advocates, including the application of the Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, the formalization of traditional property rights, and the utility of restorative and reparative justice approaches. Leading international scholars and professionals, including the current United Nations Special Rapporteur on Violence against Women and the former United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, are among the contributors to this volume.
One often hears that America’s foreign policy elites don’t understand religion. Mostly secular themselves, they dismiss religion as a factor in world events; at most, they believe, religion operates as a pretext for other, deeper motivations, like politics and economics. This attitude can blind policymakers to reality. Even after 9/11, some foreign policy experts continue to minimize the religious roots of Islamism.
Some of this attitude is on display in the most recent National Intelligence Council Report, Global Trends 2030: Alternative Worlds, released earlier this month. The report, prepared every four years for the incoming administration, is meant to highlight medium and long-term trends in world affairs. Global Trends 2030 has received a lot of attention, primarily for its prediction of a decline in American power and a shift to a multipolar world. The report is also noteworthy, though, for the way it downplays religion’s role in shaping events.
It’s not that Global Trends 2030 completely ignores religion. The report discusses political Islam — we’re now paying attention to that phenomenon, at least — though some of the analysis might strike readers as optimistic, for example, the assertion that the protesters of the Arab Spring “acted in the name of democratic values, not in the name of religion.” (Apparently the report was prepared before recent events in Egypt). The problem is that the report minimizes religion. In 140 pages, Continue reading
Fordham Law School’s Leitner Center for International Law and Justice will host a panel, “Overcoming Genocide Denial,” on December 4. The panel will offer a comparative examination of the Holocaust and the Armenian, Rwandan, and Sudanese Genocides. Speakers include Taner Akçam (Clark University), Gregory Stanton (George Mason University) and Sheri Rosenberg (Cardozo Law School). Details are here.