NEWS | 26 Sep 2016
The Construction and Failure of Islamic Laws of Evidence in ISIS's State-Building Project

Guest contributor Mara Revkin outlines the legal infrastructure of ISIS. She argues that the movement's barbarism and apparently wanton acts of terrorism belie a self-contained legal system based on Islamic law – including the Islamic law of evidence. Using interviews with eighty-two Syrians and Iraqis, Revkin reconstructs how evidence is used within ISIS's purported borders. However, although ISIS leaders aim to consistently use the evidentiary laws to aid in their state-building endeavors, she argues, they ultimately undermine that very code of evidence and the state-building efforts because of the increasing internal corruption and impunity of actions within their ranks. Read more. Image credit: Mara Revkin/Brookings

Does ISIS Really Follow the Salafī Version of Islamic Law and Theology? 
Guest contributor Jacob Olidort critically examines ISIS's claim of adherence to the doctrine of Salafism, a popular orientation among conservative Muslim clerics who attempt to model their actions on a certain vision of law and theology in the early Muslim community. A scholar of modern Salafī thought himself, Olidort concludes that ISIS's claims are at odds with Salafī doctrine. Contrary to conventional Salafī doctrines, ISIS displays more affinities to politics than theology; many of its state-building activities are at odds with traditionally Salafī teachings, including the very concept of a caliphate. ISIS uses Salafism as a political vehicle, concludes Olidort, to establish credibility for their ambitions.  Read more. Image credit: Sudan Tribune
In Summary: SHARIAsource Events

ILSP: SHARIAsource hosted the first of its lunch discussions on Sep 16, entitled “From Big Law to Public Service in the White House,” featuring Raheemah Abdulaleem, JD’01, who serves as Associate General Counsel in the Executive Office of the President in the Office of Administration at the White House. Abdulaleem spoke to current HLS students about her first years as a newly minted lawyer in private practice, her later pro bono and civil rights work at the DOJ, and the path that she eventually took to the White House. On Sep 16 - 17, Intisar Rabb and Paul Beran convened with scholars at the workshop Activism, Advocacy, and Scholarship on Islam in the Digital Realm at Boston University’s Pardee School of Global Studies. Hosted by Michael Pregill, the workshop explored new problems and prospects of building out resources in digital Islamic humanities. On Sep 21, SHARIAsource, hosted an open house, where faculty and staff welcomed members of the HLS and University community to the SHARIAsource offices in Austin Hall – which is now open as a research and gathering space for students and scholars working on Islamic law. A full crowd included a mix of JD, LLM, and PhD students, scholars in related fields, law librarians, and members of the wider community with a general interest in Islamic law. Read more. 

Other News

American Society of Legal History Annual Meeting (27-30 Oct 2016 | Toronto, Canada). Ottoman editor Will Smiley and editor-in-chief Intisar Rabb will present at the ASLH Annual Meeting on the panel "Borderlands of Islamic Law: The Ottoman Empire and its Neighbors." Also at ASLH, Egyptian law and society historian Khaled Fahmy will present his paper "Global Forensics: Medico-Legal History in Asia and Africa" on a panel chaired by Mitra Sharafi. See preliminary program.

Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting (17-20 Nov 2016 | Boston, MA). MESA’s annual meeting will host a range of panels on Islamic law, including  "Policing and Punishment in the Making of the Modern Middle East," "Is Saudi Foreign Policy 'Islamic'?," "Islamic Religious Authority between the Arab World and Europe: Multi-tasked and Multi-tasking Imams" (Denmark contributor Niels Valdemar Vinding will be presenting), "International Law, Sovereignty and Subjecthood in the Late Ottoman Empire" (Ottoman editor Will Smiley will be a discussant), "Legal Contests & Disputes, Part I," "Law as Social History in the Late Ottoman Era," "Legal Contests & Disputes, Part 2."  See full preliminary program.

"Qur’anists in al-Andalus?" (5 Apr 2017 4 pm | Princeton, NJ). Incoming ILSP/SHARIAsource and CMES senior fellow Maribel Fierro will be speaking as part of the Institute for Advanced Study's Near/Middle Eastern and Islamic Studies Lecture Series 2016/2017. She explores the production of religious and political authority sharing her study of how prophets accepted by Islam are represented. See full details. 

"Ocean of Law II: Islamic Legal Crossings across the Indian World" (12-14 Dec 2016 | Leiden). Leiden University is following up its 2015 conference on intermixed legal systems across the Indian Ocean world. This year the conference will be focused on how ideas of Islamic law circulated around the Indian Ocean. The due date for abstracts is 20 Sep. Call for papers.

"Changes in God’s Law: An Inner-Islamic Comparison of Family and Succession Law." Nadjma Yassaril's research group at the Max Planck Institute for Comparative and International Private Law is seeking scholars of Islamic family law to fill a post-doctoral position available starting in October/November 2016. Read more.

"Global Dynamics of Debating and Concluding Shia Marriages" (25-26 Aug 2017 | Amsterdam). The University of Amsterdam's workshop has issued a call for papers to bring together researchers working on empirical research about "debating and concluding Shia marriages, starting from the search for a suitable partner to the celebration of the wedding." Proposals are due on 1 Oct. Call for papers

“Law as Religion, Religion as Law” (5-7 Jun 2017 | Jerusalem). The Hebrew University of Jerusalem has issued a call for papers to bring together scholars from multiple disciplines (including law, religious studies, philosophy, history, political science and other relevant fields). Abstracts are due on 26 Oct.  Call for papers.

The Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History (4-17 Jun 2017 | Madison).  The American Society for Legal History and the Institute for Legal Studies at the University of Wisconsin Law School are now accepting applications for their ninth biennial Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History. Applications are due on  1 Dec Read more. 

UCLA Journal of Islamic and Near Eastern Law. JINEL is seeking papers for its 2016 volume. Published once a year, JINEL is the first publication of a Western law school to cover Islamic and Near Eastern law. It covers all legal issues, and seeks articles that critically analyze social, political, civil, historical, economic, and commercial topics.  Read more.

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