NEWS | 6 Mar 2017
NY Court Ruling Against a Muslim Man’s Attempt to Unilaterally Divorce His Wife 

Abed Awad, U.S. Editor, summarizes one of his recent cases on family law in which the plaintiff claims his maʿzūn-authenticated ṭalāq defers judgment of the divorce to the Family Court in Egypt. "The story of Fouad v. Magdy, No. 312366/15, 2017 WL 485798 (N.Y. App. Div., 2017) starts in Egypt. In 2006, Dina and Amr—both Muslim Egyptian citizens—fell in love. They married shortly thereafter in Egypt and had two children. Amr accepted a job in Dubai, where the couple lived until 2012, when Amr was admitted to the MBA program at MIT. After his graduation in 2014, the family moved to New York City when Amr accepted an investment associate position at Deutsche Bank. It seemed like the parties had everything going for them, until Amr admitted he was having an extramarital affair. Amr convinced Dina to return to Egypt temporarily to give them space to work on their marriage. In July 2015, Dina and the children went to Egypt to stay with her parents. Sometime in October of that year, Dina realized that Amr was not interested in salvaging their marriage. On October 9, 2015, Dina filed for divorce in New York. Shortly thereafter she filed a motion seeking temporary financial support while the divorce action was pending. On October 20, 2015, eight days after being served with Dina’s New York divorce complaint, Amr, through a proxy, met with a maʿzūn—a government official similar to a municipal clerk. He asked the official to preside over and memorialize his ṭalāq (a type of divorce in Islamic law initiated by the husband) in an administrative action designed to dissolve his marriage. The law seemed to be on his side in Egypt. In Egyptian law, the maʿzūn possessed the authority to preside over marriages and these types of male-initiated divorces. In addition, Egyptian law, like Islamic law, permits Muslims to marry and divorce by proxy, that is, to have a representative in his or her stead to marry or divorce on his or her behalf. (In Egypt, a marriage is dissolved through either judicial dissolution or administrative dissolution. Amr chose to go the administrative route.). Dina was not present, but she would theoretically thereafter receive a copy of the completed ṭalāq decree notifying her that Amr had divorced her.Read more. Image credit: Billy Hathorn/English Wikipedia

CASE: Aleem v. Aleem (Md. Ct. App. 2008): Barring Unilateral Divorce

During trial court proceedings in which a Muslim couple was dividing their marital property, the husband, Mr. Irfan Aleem, attempted to perform a “triple ṭalāq” divorce—a form of final, irrevocable dissolution of marriage under Pakistani law, initiated unilaterally by the husband. The Court refused to honor this type of divorce, concluding that it violated due process rights guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment by not giving Mrs. Farah Aleem any role or voice in the divorce proceedings. Read the case or see our simplified narrative. Image credit: J. Scott Applewhite | Star Tribune

EVENT: Amna Akbar on U.S. Law Enforcement and Counter-Radicalization Efforts

SHARIAsource recently hosted noted scholar and civil rights attorney Amna Akbar, Assistant Professor of Law, The Ohio State University. Akbar provided a series of research findings from her study of counter-radicalization efforts by US law enforcement. Using her clinical practice as a source for discussion, Professor Akbar highlighted the impact these efforts have on social cohesion and community building. Read more. Image credit: Darrick Northington/SHARIAsource

Other News

ILSP Paper Prize on Islamic Law for HLS Students
Islamic Legal Studies Program Prize on Islamic Law (Cambridge, MA). Each year the Law School awards several prizes for the best papers written by Harvard Law School students in particular areas of the law. Graduating prize winners are noted in the Commencement Program and prize-winning papers are eligible to be published in the School’s public paper series. ILSP will award a prize of $1,000 annually to the Harvard Law School student writing the best paper in the field of Islamic law or on the intersection between other religious legal traditions and Islamic law. Papers eligible for consideration will be ones written during the current academic year, addressing any topic in Islamic legal history and theory, Islamic law and society, and Islamic comparative law – including these topics as related to other religious legal traditions. Papers are due in the Office of Academic Affairs (Lewis 208) by 5:00 pm on 28 Apr 2017. Read more.

Gibb Lectures :: Scholars and Rulers in Al-Andalus: Averroes’ Disgrace in Context ( 7 & 9 Mar 2017 | Cambridge, MA). Maribel Fierro , Senior Research Fellow, ILSP : SHARIAsource ; Visiting Scholar, Center for Middle Eastern Studies; Harvard University; Director, El Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales (CSIC) in Madrid, Spain, will be discussing her current research on a significant Andalusian judicial figure. 4.00-6.00p | Harvard University, CGIS South 020, Belfer Case Study Room

ILSP: SHARIAsource Fellow's Lecture :: Maribel Fierro on The Trial of a Heretic (Muslim Toledo, 11th Century): Judicial Procedure and Political Context (27 Mar 2017 | Cambridge, MA). Maribel Fierro, Senior Research Fellow, ILSP: SHARIAsource; Visiting Scholar, Center for Middle Eastern Studies; Harvard University; Director, El Centro de Ciencias Humanas y Sociales (CSIC) in Madrid, Spain, will be discussing her current research on a significant Andalusian judicial figure during a lunch discussion. 12.00-1.00p | Harvard Law School, WCC 5052

ILSP: SHARIAsource Fellow's Lecture :: Sohaira Siddiqui (24 Apr 2017 | Cambridge, MA). Lecture by Sohaira Siddiqui, Policy Fellow, ILSP: SHARIAsource; Assistant Professor of Theology and Islamic Studies, Georgetown University School of Foreign Service in Doha, Qatar, on her current research over lunch. 

ILSP: SHARIAsource Fellow's Lecture :: Mubasher Hussain (1 May 2017 | Cambridge, MA). Lecture by Mubasher Hussain, ILSP: SHARIAsource Fulbright Fellow; Head, Sirah Unit, Islamic Research Institute, International Islamic University, Islamabad, Pakistan, on his current research over lunch. 

Launch of "The Zaydi Manuscript Tradition: A Digital Portal." (11 Apr 2017 | New York, New York). The Institute of Advanced Study's launch event of "The Zaydi Manuscript Tradition: A Digital Portal" will be on April 11, 2017 at the residence of the German Ambassador to the United Nations in New York. Register here for the event.

Harvard Middle-East/Mediterranean Medieval History Fellowship (Cambridge, MA) The Department of History seeks applications for a College Fellow in medieval Mediterranean history. The appointment is expected to begin on July 1, 2017. Teaching duties will include three undergraduate courses in medieval Mediterranean history, including a course in the history of medieval Islam, with 25% of the appointment reserved for the Fellow’s own research. The Fellow will be expected to evaluate senior theses in accordance with Departmental practice and may also advise a senior thesis and help organize workshops. The appointment is for one year. Those with expertise in medieval Islamic legal or social history should also feel welcome to apply. Applications, including letters of reference, are due 17 Mar 2017Read more and apply here.

Bates College: Faculty Position: Politics Lecturer in Politics (Sep 2017 - Sep 2018). The Department of Politics at Bates College invites applications for a one-year visiting position focusing on Comparative Politics with a specialty in politics of the Middle East starting in the fall of 2017.  Candidates should have a Ph.D. completed or nearly complete. The Politics Department has implemented an innovative curriculum that uses concentrations on broad sets of ideas in political science rather than the traditional subfields.  Those applying should show a strong commitment to excellence in undergraduate teaching and scholarly research. Consideration of applications will begin 10 Mar 2017.

Temple Bar Scholarships (2-27 Oct 2017 | London). The Temple Bar Foundation is accepting applications for its scholarship program. Selected scholars will have the opportunity to shadow a barrister and observe and discuss English trial practice, spend time with a justice of the Supreme Court of the United Kingdom, observe appellate arguments, discuss legal issues with the country’s highest judges. Applications due 30 Apr 2017 . Read more.

International Conference on Transnational Families and Divorce: Revisiting Marital Break-Up in Times of Global (Im)mobilities) (27-29 Sep 2017 | Nijmegen). This conference examines transnational divorce, as its causes, processes, and after-effects increasingly take place across national and socio-cultural borders. It takes into account the different socio-legal and cultural contexts within which it occurs, notably how state policies influence the process of marital dissolution.  We particularly welcome papers from young scholars in the field of socio-legal studies, sociology,  anthropology, history, and other disciplines. We also encourage studies that employ a transnational  and/or intersectional approach (Crenshaw 1989) paying attention to structuring factors such as  gender, class, race and ethnicity. After the conference, selected papers will be published as parts of  an edited volume on transnational families and divorce. Abstracts due 30 Apr 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 1 May 2017 Read 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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