NEWS | 28 Nov 2016
Developments in Islamic Law: The Comparative Costs and Benefits of Models of Islamic Finance Regulation

Islamic finance is under increased scrutiny. Just last week, the Accounting and Auditing Organization for Islamic Finance Institutions (AAOIFI) announced plans to more aggressively develop centralized standards to regulate the boards responsible for assessing sharīʿa-compliance among banks and financial institutions doing business in GCC countries. UAE editor Paul Lee provides some context. From a series of interviews he conducted last year with Islamic finance practitioners in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), he gleaned a number of insights and opinions in the industry useful for assessing the costs and efficacy of different models of  Islamic finance. Because Islamic law prohibits charging interest, sharīʿa-compliant banks must look to financial instruments that do not rely on interest. The industry has developed to offer three choices that coordinate among those instruments: a systems-based model, a centralized model, and a model of competitive equality. Each model relies on Sharīʿa Supervisory Boards (SSBs), but to varying degrees and with varying results. While the systems-based and centralized models save transactions costs by creating standards for best practices among financial agents, the systems-based model may allow agents to "shop" for sharīʿa advisors most amenable to their requests ( as would the competitive model), and the cost of standardization for the centralized model may result in overregulation that creates disincentives for investors. The Islamic finance jury is still out. The AAOIFI’s recent move may make available more empirical evidence to more decisively assess the efficacy of the centralized model, but more is required to assess the other theories.  Read more. Image credit: All Dubai

LEGISLATION: UAE Federal Law No. 8 of 2004 Regarding Financial Free Zones (2004)
This federal legislation of the United Arab Emirates establishes and regulates Financial Free Zones in the sharīʿa-compliant UAE. In addition to defining how a Free Zone is established and operated, the statue also outlines how financial brokers and businesses may establish themselves within the Free Zones.  Read more. (SHARIAsource beta access required).  Image credit: The German Emirati Joint Council for Industry & Commerce (AHK) 
Professor Intisar Rabb Joins Emerson College's Engagement Lab 
Intisar Rabb, Professor of Harvard Law School and SHARIAsource founding editor-in-chief, has joined the Advisory Board of Emerson College's Engagement Lab. Described as "an applied research lab for reimagining civic engagement in a digital culture," this unique organization's vision shares many commonalities with that of SHARIAsource. With twenty-six national partners and over a dozen projects incubating, the Lab focuses on using new media and data to increase media literacy and community engagement.  
Other News

Scholars in the News
Senior Scholar Noah Feldman leads the newly established  Julis-Rabinowitz Program on Jewish and Israeli Law at Harvard Law School. The Program on Jewish and Israeli Law is currently forming a partnership with the Islamic Legal Studies Program, of which SHARIAsource is a part. 

Policy Roundtable Discussion :: Understandings of Sharīʿa (Islamic law) and U.S. Law and Policy Designed to Solve Conflicts (13 Dec 2016 | Washington, D.C.)  Intisar Rabb, Professor of Law at Harvard Law School and Founding Editor-In-Chief of SHARIAsource; Leila Mooney, Senior Program Officer, Center for Governance, Law and Society, USIP; Palwasha Karkar, Senior Program Officer, Religion and Inclusive Societies, USIP; and Manal Omar, Associate Vice President, Center for Middle East and Africa, USIP. The discussion will explore the contours of sharīʿa (Islamic law) in the development and critique of policies designed to solve conflicts. The program will consist of experts on Islamic law and foreign policy in discussion with a diverse range of policymakers and executors. The event is co-sponsored by the Islamic Legal Studies Program’s SHARIAsource at Harvard Law School and the United States Institute of Peace. More information to come.

Tenured Associate or Full Professorship in Legal Pluralism and the Middle East at the National University of Singapore (NUS). Singapore (NUS) invites applications for a tenured Associate or Full Professorship in Legal Pluralism and the Middle East. Advanced Assistant Professors are also welcome to apply. The successful candidate will be jointly appointed by the FASS and MEI with tenure, a reduced teaching load in the most relevant FASS department (e.g. political science, sociology, history), and the opportunity to lead a research cluster in MEI. A joint appointment with the NUS Law School is also possible. Cover letter, CV, two sample publications, three referee names, research and teaching statements due 30 Nov 2016. Read more.

The Hurst Summer Institute in Legal History (4-17 Jun 2017 | Madison, WI).  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 2016 Read more. 

Symposia Iranica: The Third Biennial Conference on Iranian Studies ( 11-12 Apr 2017 | Cambridge, UK). Symposia Iranica welcomes proposals that engage with any aspect of Iranian studies within the arts, humanities, and social sciences – including law and legal studies. Comparative themes and interdisciplinary approaches are also very welcome. Proposals due 2 Dec 2016Read more.

Junior Research Group at the Max Planck Institute for Social Anthropology, Department of Law and Anthropology (Apr 2017 | Halle). The Max Planck Institute is establishing a junior research group to investigate the bureaucratization of Islam and its socio-legal dimensions in Southeast Asia. There are three PhD positions open; the positions would be for three years. Applications are due 15 Dec 2016. Read more.

Law and Society Association's International Meeting on Law and Society ( 20-23 Jun | 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 2 Jan 2017. All others close 15 Jan 2017. Read more.

Center for Arabic Study Abroad (CASA) 2017-2018 Fellowships (Sep 2017-May 2018 | Cairo or Amman). 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 Jan 9 2017Read more.

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