NEWS | 19 Dec 2016
The Dissolution of Sharīʿa in the 1965 Moroccan Court Unification Law

During a time when there are global questions about stable Muslim-majority states that have combined Islamic law with state law, SHARIAsource editor Ari Schriber (Harvard University) convincingly demonstrates that Morocco's 1965 Court Unification Law deserves more attention, though not for the reasons one may initially suppose. In asserting independence then, Moroccan leaders paved the way for a stable regime that featured Islamic law as a part of national identity, independence, and statehood under a constitutional monarchy now. Before independence, Morocco's state were established by Frenchcolonial powers and assumed French judicial traditions. Religious courts remained independent under qādīs (judges), who continued to provide rulings based in Islamic law. After independence, however, "the [Moroccan] government sought to complete a series of legal codes reasserting Moroccan national sovereignty ... subsum[ing] religious courts into the national system." Although the Moroccan Constitution declared Islam the religion of the state, the way the King went about integrating Islamic law into that new administrative state "reduc[ed] sharīʿa to statutory legislation" and promoted Moroccan independence and nationalism. The nationalist bent was evident in the Court Unification Law itself. It allowed only Moroccans to be eligible for judgeships  and promoted an increasingly "Arabicized" system. In speeches accompanying the passage of the Laws, King Hassan II asserted an Islamic law basis for these changes, arguing that such provisions were consistent with the preservation of Islamic legal principles. But upon closer inspection, says Schriber, "the ensuing series of legislation clearly paved the way for a bold assertion of secular Moroccan state institutions." Read more. Image credit: Al Arabiya

LEGISLATION: Moroccan Court Unification Law (1965)

This legislation unified Morocco's religious courts with its state courts. Though the vision proclaimed in the Moroccan Constitution of 1962 was one of a "state of Islam," this piece of legislation does not mention Islam as a guiding principle. Instead, it supports the vision of a Moroccan administrative state, rooting the newly sovereign nation in nationalist rather than religious foundations. Read more. (SHARIAsource beta access required) Image credit: Public Domain/Flickr

IN SUMMARY:: Policy Roundtable: Understanding Sharīʿa: Implications for Policy and Conflict Resolution, 13 Dec, USIP, Washington, DC  

A policy roundtable on Islamic law, co-sponsored by the Islamic Legal Studies Program: SHARIAsource and the United States Institute of Peace, and held on December 13 at USIP, was a first-of its-kind program that brought together a broad cross-section of individuals working in federal government, academic, and non-governmental organizations on policy issues related to Islamic law. The program focused on exploring the major features, structures, and processes of law-making in Islamic law historically and in the present. Read more. 

Other News

Fellowships at the HLS Islamic Legal Studies Program: 
SHARIAsource Policy Fellow Applications Now Open , 2017-2018 

The SHARIAsource Research Fellowship Program provides opportunities for post-doctoral and faculty-level scholars to conduct research on policy-related aspects of Islamic law, which we interpret broadly, during the 2017-2018 academic year.  In addition to research conducted to benefit their own pursuits, fellows support the development of policy papers at the intersection of Islamic law and relevant issues of US policy: including short commentary on recent cases or other Islamic law sources, longer policy briefs, or op-eds. All materials will be considered for publication on the SHARIAsource portal and blog. Produced material will be credited to the fellow. Applications due 09 Jan 2017. Read more.

PANEL DISCUSSION ::  “Is There Room in the U.S. Legal System for Halacha and Sharia? Family Law, Public Accommodations, Antitrust, and Arbitration” (04 Jan 2017 | San Francisco, CA). Professors Asifa Quaraishi-Landes University of Wisconsin Law School and a SHARIAsource senior scholar, Haider Hamoudi of University of Pittsburgh Law School and a SHARIAsource contributor, and other scholars of Islamic law and Jewish law will discuss whether and how the U.S. legal system can accommodate Halacha and sharīʿa. They will look at Soleiman v. Soleiman and Garcia v. Church of Scientology, among other cases. This session is one of three  on Islamic law at the AALS Annual Meeting this year, and is jointly sponsored by the Sections on Jewish Law and Islamic Law.  Read more.

ROUNDTABLE ::  Islamic Law Teaching in the 21st Century Global Law School (06 Jan 2017 | San Francisco, CA). Professors Intisar Rabb of Harvard Law School, Shaheen Sardar Ali of the University of Warwick School of Law, Mark Cammack of Southwestern Law School, Haider Hamoudi of the University of Pittsburgh School of Law, and Seval Yildirim of Whittier Law School will discuss recent developments in Islamic legal studies in American law schools with an eye to assessing challenges and opportunities for that field in a modern, global law school. This session is one of three  on Islamic law at the AALS Annual Meeting this year, sponsored by the Section on Islamic law, and co-sponsored by the Sections on Comparative Law and Law and South Asian Studies.

PANEL DISCUSSION ::  Comparative Constitutional Law in South Asia: Sources, Methods, and Applications (American Association of Law Schools (AALS) Annual Meeting  (06 Jan 2017 | San Francisco, CA). This session explores the study of comparative constitutional law in South Asia through presentations that draw on a diverse range of sources, methodologies, and approaches in the field. Building on the joint session on Islamic law pedagogy immediately before this session, scholars will address the range of substantive and methodological problems that arise in connection with comparative law teaching and scholarship, including issues on Islamic law in South Asia where they arise. This session is one of three  on Islamic law at the AALS Annual Meeting this year, and is jointly sponsored by the Sections on Law and South Asian Studies and Islamic Law. Read more.

International Conference on Justice and Ethics (ICJECA) (15-16 Apr | Mashhad, Iran).  Ferdowsi University of Mashhad, Faculty of Theology is looking for papers on what Islam teaches about a just polity and the ways in which Islamic teachings about justice and ethics can be practically implemented. Participants are encouraged to frame their views in the light of Twelver Shīʿī Islam, and how it views ethics and justice. Abstracts and bios due 30 Dec 2016Read more.

Visiting Fellowships in ILSP: Law and Social Change (2017-2018| Cambridge, MA). Harvard Law School’s Islamic Legal Studies Program: Law and Social Change invites applications for Visiting Fellowships for the 2017–2018 academic year. This fellowship provides opportunities for outstanding scholars and legal practitioners to undertake research, writing, and scholarly engagement on Islamic law that furthers the Program’s mission. We are particularly interested in applicants whose work focuses on human rights, women’s rights, children’s rights, minority rights, animal welfare, constitutional law, food law, environmental law and climate change, migration and refugee studies, and related areas. Applications due 01 Jan 2017. Read more.

Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) 2017-2018 Fellowships (Sep 2017-May 2018 | Cairo, Egypt or Amman, Jordan). CASA offers advanced level training in Arabic language and culture to qualified American students at The American University in Cairo and Qasid Arabic Institute in Amman (pending the security and funding for each location). Applicants to the CASA programs must be U.S. citizens or permanent residents and should have a minimum of 3 years of formal instruction in Arabic prior to joining CASA. Applications due 09 Jan 2017Read more.

Law and Society Association's International Meeting on Law and Society (20-23 Jun 2017 | Mexico City, Mexico).  Nominations for annual awards are open. The awards will be presented at the annual meeting. Nominations for the J. Willard Hurst Award, the Herbert Jacob Book Award, and the Ronald Pipkin Service Award close  02 Jan 2017 . All others close  15 Jan 2017 Read more .

Second Annual Legal Studies Graduate Student Conference (22-23 Apr 2017 | Providence, RI).  The Brown Legal Studies Initiative invites paper submissions on the subject of “Law and Democracy” for its second annual graduate student conference. The conference will consider the interaction of law and democracy in a broad historical and comparatist context. Papers from any discipline, including (but not limited to) jurisprudence, history, ethnic studies, philosophy, anthropology, literature, classics, political science, and sociology are welcome to foster interdisciplinary conversation. Applications are due  15 Jan 2017 Read more.

International Pluralism Conference (09-11 Aug 2017| Syracuse, NY). The conference is organised in collaboration with the Maxwell School of Citizenship and Public Affairs, Syracuse University. The conference theme is: Citizenship, Legal Pluralism and Governance in the Age of Globalization. Prior to the conference, from 4-7 August, a course will be organized for young scholars on the main theories, themes and methodologies of legal pluralism. More information on the course can be foundhere. To get an impression of the previous conference and course, you can already have a look at the information provided below. Paper proposals due 31 Jan 2017Read more.

Abdallah S. Kamel Fellowships in Islamic Law and Civilization (Fall 2017-Spring 2018 | New Haven, CT).  The Abdallah S. Kamel Center is seeking scholars from diverse backgrounds and academic disciplines who have completed or are near completion of an advanced degree (e.g., Ph.D., J.S.D., D.Phil.) and whose work engages with the intellectual and social history of Islam, Islamic legal and political theory, or law in contemporary Muslim societies. Scholars working or studying abroad are welcome to apply. Fellows are expected to be in residence for the duration of the one-year fellowship and will receive a stipend in the range of $45,000 and $60,000 commensurate with their education and experience. Traveling expenses of fellows coming from abroad will be covered. Applications due  01 Feb 2017 . Read more.

Al-Qasimi Chair (Professor/Associate Professor) in Islamic Studies, IAIS, University of Exeter (Exeter, UK). The post holder will be a leading international figure with the ability to attract high quality researchers at doctoral and postdoctoral level to the Islamic Studies research group. Any area of Islamic Studies is an appropriate specialism including (but not limited to) history, theology, philosophy, literature, mysticism, law, jurisprudence, art and architecture, art history, anthropology and sociology, digital humanities, and any period of the study of Islam. Applications due 01 May 2017Read more.

Engagement Lab @ Emerson College: MA in Civic Media, Art, and Practice (Boston, MA). For those who have an interest in digital Islamic law/humanities, and want graduate training to better prepare for an academic or industry career in the field, the Engagement Lab is accepting applications for their graduate program. Read more.

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