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On British IslamReligion, Law, and Everyday Practice in Shari'a Councils$
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John R. Bowen

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780691158549

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: January 2018

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691158549.001.0001

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Shariʿa in English Law

Shariʿa in English Law

The Argument So Far

(p.173) Chapter 10 Shariʿa in English Law
On British Islam

John R. Bowen

Princeton University Press

This chapter focuses on the fears and accusations about the English law's recognition of shariʻa. In his February 2008 remarks, Archbishop of Canterbury Rowan Williams explored ways in which the legal system might “recognise shariʻa.” Despite the storm of media criticism, he was joined later that year by Britain's highest justice, Lord Phillips, in saying that English law should recognize certain elements of shariʻa. It is in the domain of family law where suggestions that private Islamic bodies might take on a function of the civil courts raise the greatest degree of legal and social concern. Although some Islamic scholars have urged Parliament to create formal linkages between law courts and Islamic shariʻa councils, these councils carry out no actions that have the force of state law. For the moment, then, the main possibility for legal “recognition” of Islamic law in England would be if civil courts were to act on some elements of an Islamic divorce proceeding.

Keywords:   English law, shariʻa, Rowan Williams, Lord Phillips, family law, civil courts, law courts, Islamic shariʻa councils, Islamic law, Islamic divorce

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