Header Image Liberal Islam Series
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Dienstag, 9. Mai 2023

Law of God or law of people? The role of Islam in modern state law, between secularism and accommodation

Lecture - Hybrid Event


Many Muslim states have adopted a mixed legal system that combines an essentially Western structure with elements of Sharia in constitutions and legal statutes, implicitly or explicitly. The inclusion of Islamic law and principles in the legal system has at times extended to the West, notably with the establishment of “sharia courts”, or with the judicial use of the cultural argument to accommodate norms as supposedly derived from Islam.

Elham Manea's talk will address the question: Should Islamic Law be introduced into Western legal system? Her research explores the question using the British case of Sharia Councils. At the heart of the issue is a debate on legal pluralism, which envisions a society where different laws applies to different religious groups. Building her knowledge of the situation of women in Middle Eastern and Islamic countries, she undertook first hand analysis of the Islamic Sharia councils and Muslim arbitration tribunals in various British cities. She offers a pointed critique of legal pluralism, highlighting the type of Islamic law being used and its human rights ramifications.  

About the speaker:

Prof. Dr. Elham Manea is a titular professor of political science at Zurich University, specialized on the Arab Middle East, a writer, and a human rights advocate. Her research focuses on regional politics of the Arabian Peninsula, fragile states in conflict zones in the MENA region, especially Yemen, women under Muslim laws, and political Islam.  


The event will be held in person at the WZB with the possibility for interested guests to join online.

Zoom link will be provided after registration.


The event is part of the Event Series "Islam and Liberalism in Contemporary Society".


The event will be recorded. The data protection notice on photo and film recordings can be found here.

The WZB is wheelchair-accessible.