John Bowen: On British Islam: Religion, Law, and Everyday Practice in Shari'a Councils; Iza Hussin: The Politics of Islamic Law: Local Elites, Colonial Authority, and the Making of the Muslim State

Publication Date01 Jun 2017
DOIhttp://doi.org/10.1111/jols.12029
AuthorRussell Sandberg
ON BRITISH ISLAM: RELIGION, LAW, AND EVERYDAY PRACTICE IN
SHARI'A COUNCILS by JOHN R. BOWEN
(Oxford: Princeton University Press, 2016, 266 pp., £27.95)
THE POLI TICS OF I SLAMIC L AW: LOCA L ELITES , COLONI AL
AUTHORITY, AND THE MAKING OF THE MUSLIM STATE by IZA R.
HUSSIN
(London: University of Chicago Press, 2016, 352 pp., £26.50)
The relationship between Islam and Western law has been the subject of
significant scholarly attention in the twenty-first century. The events of 11
September 2001 and associated wider concerns have been a major catalyst in
the expansion of law and religion as an area of study, with learned societies,
specialist journals, and book series being established. Indeed, concerns about
Islam could be said to have constrained the development of law and religion
studies. Even doctrinal work has tended to focus on areas where the facts of
claims have concerned Islam (such as human rights and discrimination law)
even though these decisions have tended to be at the level of employment
tribunals and the lower courts. By contrast, tellingly, less attention has been
paid to areas of law where the facts have tended to concern Christianity such
as the issue of whether ministers of religion are employees despite that being
the subject of two Supreme Court and two Court of Appeal judgments within
a decade.
1
In the United Kingdom, concerns about religious law came to the fore
following the lecture by the then Archbishop of Canterbury, Dr Rowan
Williams, on `Religious and Civil Law in England' in February 2008 which
resulted in hysteria in the media concerning the existence of Sharia
Councils.
2
Initially, this lecture led to a number of accounts attempting to
determine the extent to which English law already accommodated Islamic
law as well as some philosophical discussion of whether religious legal
systems should be accommodated at all. Moreover, even before Williams's
lecture but especially in its aftermath, a number of empirical studies of
Islamic tribunals were carried out both at doctoral level and also by funded
teams of researchers.
3
This meant, however, that only our knowledge of the
308
1Percy v. Church of Scotland Board of National Mission [2005] UKHL 73; New
Testament Church of God v. Stewart [2007] EWCA Civ 1004; President of the
Methodist Conference v. Preston [2013] UKSC 29; Sharpe v. Bishop of Worcester
2 R. Williams, `Religious and Civil Law in England' (2008) 10 Ecclesiastical Law J.
262.
3 Most notably, S. Shah-Kazemi, Untying the Knot: Muslim Women, Divorce and the
Shariah (2001); G. Douglas et al., Social Cohesion and Civil Law: Marriage, Divorce
and Religious Courts (2011), at
%20and%20Civil%20Law%20Full%20Report.pdf>, and S. Bano, Muslim Women
and Shari'ah Councils (2012).
ß2017 The Author. Journal of Law and Society ß2017 Cardiff University Law School

To continue reading

Request your trial

VLEX uses login cookies to provide you with a better browsing experience. If you click on 'Accept' or continue browsing this site we consider that you accept our cookie policy. ACCEPT