NEWS |  31 Oct 2017
South African High Court Rules the “Wills Act” of 1953 Unconstitutional Citing Discrimination Against Muslim Marriages
Contributor  Katherine Gonzalez  considers how the recent decision of the Western Cape High Court in Cape Town, South Africa regarding the term “surviving spouse” applies to Muslim marriages. The High Court reasoned that the 1953 Wills Act was inconsistent with the South African Constitution because it discriminated against Muslims. In her post, she further reviews that ways in which the Court sought to rectify the constitutional violation.    Read more.   Image credit: Shutterstock
Moosa No. et al. v. Harnaker et al. (Western Cape High Court, South Africa, 2017) 
In a recent and long-anticipated decision issued in September 2017, a Western Cape High Court in Cape Town, South Africa declared the 1953 Wills Act inconsistent with the South Africa Constitution. The Court reasoned that the statute’s provisions were previously interpreted to recognize only legal marriage (according to civil law) and not Muslim marriages. This, it concluded, was inconsistent with the anti-discrimination provisions of the South African constitution.   Read more . Image credit: Alcuin TK Lai/Flickr
Country Profile & Constitution: South Africa
SHARIAsource has completed a series of Country Profiles outlining the structure, sources of law, and constitutional status of Islamic law in most countries of the world; and we have collected the constitutions of the world through The Constitute Project . This South Africa Country Profile provides a basic overview of the legal history and institutional structures of the Republic of South Africa. Under  South Africa's Constitution , Islamic law ( sharīʿa  or  fiqh ) has no legal status. Image credit: Nations Online Project
Other News

SHARIAsource News Update
We issue newsletters each month, along with regular publication of a wide array of research and resources on Islamic law: portal primary sources and commentary, blog posts, occasional papers, and books with the Harvard University Press. We'll continue to update you with new developments. For regular updates, please visit the portal and the blog . And researchers should always feel free to contact us to join the community of Islamic law scholars and submit their own sources, posts, and manuscripts.

ILSP SHARIAsource :: Upcoming Events

Comparative & International law Workshop :: Designing Constitutions from Divided Societies: Lessons from Afghanistan (7 Nov 2017 | Cambridge, MA) . Clark Lombardi will be discussing his work on Afghai constitutional design. Details .
ILSP Lunch Talk :: The M Word: Legal Constructions of Muslim Identity in the U.S. (13 Nov 2017 | Cambridge, MA). Seval Yildirim Visiting Researcher, ILSP: SHARIAsource, Harvard Law School will discuss her work-in-progress exploring the legal construction of Muslim identity through a study of U.S. court cases dating back to the 19th century. The paper identifies three distinct typologies of how courts have defined Muslim identity and the broader political and normative implications of legal construction of minority identities in the United States. Details.

Comparative & International law Workshop :: Against Militant Democracy (14 Nov 2017 | Cambridge, MA) . Seval Yildirim , Visiting Researcher, ILSP: SHARIAsource, Harvard Law School will discuss her work on militant democracies and their development around the world. Details .

Harvard Law School Faculty Book Talk :: Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts (28 Nov 2017 | Cambridge, MA) . Intisar Rabb , Professor of Law at Harvard Law School, and Abigail Krasner Balbale ,Assistant Professor of the Cultural History of the Islamic World at Bard Graduate Center, will discuss their soon-to-be released book Justice and Leadership in Early Islamic Courts . Details.

Other Events

Middle East Librarians Association Annual Meeting: Digital Scholarship and Middle East Librarianship (16-17 Nov 2017 | Washington, DC) . Further information will be announced as it is confirmed. Details.

Middle East Studies Association Annual Meeting (18-21 Nov 2017 | Washington, DC). The annual meeting of the Middle East Studies Association will be held at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel. Details .

MESA Annual Meeting: "Judicial activism in the field of Egyptian shari‘a-derived family law" (21 Nov 2017 | Washington, DC). Monika Lindbekk will be presenting on aspects of judicial activism in the field of Egyptian personal status law for Muslims. In a country where reform of the current personal status codes is politically fraught, family court judges perform an important semi-legislative task in interpreting and applying the law. Taking this as a point of departure, her paper argues that courts are an important site for exercising Islamic authority and positioning citizens as religious subjects. Details.

Governance and Violence in Islamic Law Workshop (24 Nov 2017 | Exeter, UK). This one-day workshop is held under the auspices of the USPPIP project ( Understanding Sharia: Past Perfect, Imperfect Present ) and will be hosted by the University of Exeter. The workshop will cover the specific focus of two elements of the project – violence (studied by Exeter USPPIP research team) and governance (studied by the Bergen USPPIP research team). The workshop will be convened by the USPPIP team members Drs Omar Anchassi and Eirik Hovden and Professors Robert Gleave and Knut Vikor . Details .

Islamic Law and Sexuality Conference (9-11 Jan 2018 | Exeter, UK). This two day workshop aims to investigate questions of Islamic law and sexuality, broadly conceived, including but not limited to such subjects as il/legitimate sex, communal perceptions of sexuality, marriage, sexual violence, gender, concubinage and sexual consent.  Details .

20th General Congress of the International Academy of Comparative Law (22-28 Jul 2018 | Fukuoka, Japan). A week-long conference on topics of comparative law, including workshops, round tables, and lunch meetings. A forum for younger scholars will also be held. Details .


Values and Public Policy Postdoctoral Research Associate in the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University (2018 - 2019 | Princeton, NJ). The University Center for Human Values and the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs invite applications for postdoctoral positions in Values and Public Policy. We aim to support highly promising scholars trained in moral and political philosophy, political theory, normative economics and related areas to develop a research agenda in the ethical dimensions of public policy. Applications due 13 Nov 2017. Details.

Postdoctoral Research Associate in the Cognitive Science of Values in the University Center for Human Values, Princeton University (2018-2019 | Princeton, NJ). The Program in Cognitive Science, in collaboration with the University Center for Human Values, invites applications for a postdoctoral or more senior research position in the Cognitive Science of Values. The successful candidate will be based in the laboratory of Dr. Tania Lombrozo, Department of Psychology. Applications due 13 Nov 2017. Details.

Visiting Fellowships at the Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies (2018-2019 | Oxford, UK). The Oxford Centre for Islamic Studies promotes excellence in the study of Islam and Muslim societies. Applications are invited for the following Visiting Fellowships tenable for the 2018-19 academic year. Other non-stipendiary Visiting Fellowships are available for shorter periods. Applications accepted on a rolling basis for these throughout the year. Applications due 19 Jan 2017 . Details .

Conference Call for Papers: The Reach of Empire – The Early Islamic Empire at Work (11-13 Oct 2018 | Hamburg, Germany). As the ERC project “The Early Islamic Empire at Work – The View from the Regions Toward the Center” nears its end, its final conference invites participants to consider the reach of the early Islamic Empire from the 7th to the 10th centuries CE. Abstracts due 31 Jan 2018 . Details .

American Institute for Maghrib Studies: Annual Grants Program (2018-2019). The American Institute for Maghrib Studies (AIMS) is pleased to announce its Annual Grants Program for the 2018-2019 cycle. The program offers short and long term grants to U.S. scholars interested in conducting research on North Africa in any Maghrib country, specifically Algeria, Mauritania, Morocco, or Tunisia. Applications due 31 Jan 2018 . Details .

Call for Papers: Rethinking Halal: Genealogy, Current Trends, and New Interpretation (24-25 Apr 2018 | Louvain-la-Neuve, Belgium). The  Université Catholique de Louvain  Chair of the Law and Religions Research Institute in Religions, Societies, Cultures, Spiritualities invites scholars and researchers to speak on the genealogy of halal since Muslim religious scholars started to instruct a written knowledgeable debate on ‘halal’ and to unravel Muslim social practices toward it. The conference will discuss how the main stake holders in the halal industry (‘ulama, state, halal certificate bodies, scholars) are producing halal norms and standards applying to ‘others’. Abstracts are due by 8 Jan 2018 . Read more

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