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Women and Shari'a Law: The Impact of Legal Pluralism in the UK

Women and Shari'a Law: The Impact of Legal Pluralism in the UK
Elham Manea

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In response to recent media controversy and public debate about legal pluralism and multiculturalism, Manea argues against what she identifies as the growing tendency for people to be treated as 'homogenous groups' in Western academic discourse, rather than as individuals with authentic voices. Building on her knowledge of the situation for women in Middle Eastern and Islamic countries, she undertakes first-hand analysis of the Islamic shari'a councils and Muslim arbitration tribunals in various British cities. Based on meetings with the leading sheikhs - including the only woman on their panels - as well as interviews with experts on extremism, lawyers and activists in civil society and women's rights groups, Manea offers an impassioned critique of legal pluralism, connecting it with political Islam and detailing the lived experiences of women in Muslim communities.

Table of Contents

  • Chapter 1. Introduction: The Debate Chapter 2. A Critical Review of the Essentialist Paradigm Chapter 3. Islamic Law in the West: The Case of Britain Chapter 4. Legal Pluralism in Practice Chapter 5. Islamic Law and Human Rights Between Theoryand Reality: Britain as a ShowcaseChapter 6. Islamism and Islamic Law in the West: Stating the Obvious? Britain as an Example Chapter 7. Contextualising the Debate in Women's Reality: Shari'a Law Contested Conclusion: Time for a Paradigm Shift

Author Info

Elham Manea is Associate Professor in the Political Science Institute at the University of Zurich. She is a Fulbright scholar and consultant for Swiss government agencies and international human rights organizations. She is the author of The Arab State and Women's Rights: The Trap of Authoritarian Governance" (2011), Regional Politics in the Gulf: Saudi Arabia, Oman, Yemen (2005) and Political Parties and Organizations in Yemen, 1948-1993 (1994). She has recently been appointed by the Swiss Federal Council as a Member of the Federal Commission for Women's Affairs.


'This is an important book for our times.Manea eloquently makes a politically incorrect and absolutely necessary Arabo-Muslim case for the universality of human rights. She reminds us that the concept of universality is anything but abstract and has significant consequences in the lives of women and men.' Karima Bennoune, UN Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights; 'An incendiary attack on the tenets of legal pluralism by an Arab Muslim woman who writes as an uncompromising advocate of secular universalism, this study could hardly be more timely.'
Ann E. Mayer, Associate Professor Emerita of Legal Studies and Business Ethics, The Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania; 'An honest, theoretically clear book with a strong narrative based on best case law tradition.'
Adrian Loretan, Professor of canon law and ecclesiastical law; Co-director of the Center for Comparative Constitutional Law and Religion, University of Lucerne; 'This book must find its way to every lawyer, activist, feminist and those concerned with a defence of the universality of human rights.'
Yasmin Rehman

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Series: Library of Islamic Law

ISBN: 9781784537357
Publication Date: 29 May 2016
Number of Pages: 256
Height: 216
Width: 138
Illustrations: 3 integrated bw

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