In pursuit of the pagans: Muslim law in the English context

Prakash Shah
RELIGARE Working Paper No. 9

Western and Muslim law. Muslim law is itself a complex, pluralistic amalgam of different legal ‘bricks’, and in the context of the struggle for Islam to be acknowledged as a legitimate source of value pluralism in the Western context, the religious aspects of Muslim law, with their doctrinal justifications, are being foregrounded. With the English case as the main focus, I further argue that customs among Muslims are suppressed in this process of ‘shariatisation’. Beyond that, even Muslim doctrines are being placed under the spotlight in various ways. These changes are taking place as a result of Muslims living as nondominant communities in Europe, where they are under the gaze of the dominant culture and are judged to be potential or actual violators of human rights and the rule of law. Relying on Balagangadhara’s (2005) explanation of the ‘dynamic of religion’, I present these processes as an outcome of the collision of two religious cultures, the Islamic and the Western.

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