NEWS | Jan 2017

The Treatment of Women: Applying Islamic Law in Greek Thrace

Greek expert Ilker Tsavousoglou (Ghent University) examines developments in Western Thrace, in Greece, to illustrate the complexities of modern legal pluralism where secular states have some jurisdiction for Islamic law. Greece recognizes an Islamic law jurisdiction in Thrace, whereby it accords muftī tribunals – muftīs being expert jurists who typically give advisory opinions in Islamic law – the authority to oversee and enforce Islamic law in the region. To some observers, this system limits Muslim women’s access to equal justice under the laws of Greece, because the Islamic laws governing their lives are uncodified and often permit differential treatment. This arrangement results in a type of “legal disorder”, Tsavousoglou argues, that twists legal pluralism into a “dysfunctional mechanism” for legal regulation. Moreover, the disparities that the different systems operating in a single region create are, he argues, unconstitutional under Greek law. Accordingly, the Commissioner for Human Rights of the Council of Europe and the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW) have paid special attention to Greece on assessing the status of women in the region. Both organizations found “discriminatory treatment of Muslim women as an outcome of an extensive application of Sharia in their family and inheritance relations.” In response, they issued proposals designed to accord equal rights and opportunities to Muslim minority women, including educating legal professionals and religious leaders on the “norms and principles of [CEDAW].The operation of Islamic law in Greece exemplifies the practical difficulties legal pluralism. Yet overall, the proposed solutions may “enhance the notions of legal pluralism and multiculturalism and effect the improvement of the levels of legal culture in Greece.” Read more. Image credit: Library of Congress

REPORT: National Commission on Human Rights Decisions on Marriages by Proxy (Greece, 2003)  

Greece's National Commission on Human Rights has been taking a close look at Muslim women's access to justice in Thrace, Greece. Although the Greek government has carved out an Islamic law jurisdiction in Thrace, the state continues to question the legality of marriage by proxy and marriage of minors—two modes of marriage that the local practice of Islamic law permits. This document outlines the Greek government's analysis of whether marriages by proxy are compatible with "the national public order" and Greece's "obligations to international conventions." Read more. (In Greek) Image credit: Public Domain/Flickr

LEGISLATION:  Introductory Report to the Bill, ‘Amendment of Provisions of Family Law’ (2010)  

Greek parliamentarians have signaled that they are concerned about the rights of Muslim women, especially young women in Thrace – which permits the operation of Islamic law to certain areas. A group of parliamentarians recently drafted a bill designed to prioritize Greek civil law over religious (namely Islamic) family law. One intent shared by the sponsors of the bill was to abolish sharīʿa altogether. However, the bill was never brought before Parliament. Read more. (In Greek) Image credit: The Worldly

Other News

Applications Now Open for HLS Islamic Legal Studies Program: 
SHARIAsource Policy Fellowship   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, and accepted on a rolling basis until the position is filledRead 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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