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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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When Can Shariʿa Be British?

When Can Shariʿa Be British?

(p.194) Chapter 11 When Can Shariʿa Be British?
On British Islam

John R. Bowen

Princeton University Press

This chapter discusses how Islamic institutions are keeping Muslims from fully integrating into English, or British, society. Some Islamic institutions deeply trouble at least some non-Muslims in Britain; others do so much less. Shariʻa councils are accused of threatening legal unity, oppressing women, and encouraging Islamic radicalism and domestic violence. But other institutions, despite the clear role of shariʻa, are relatively accepted. The chapter then considers two kinds of Muslims. Liberal or “moderate” Muslims fit in by adapting to English behavior and by embracing what are claimed to be modern British ideas about gender roles. By contrast, conservative Muslims don't shake hands, live by themselves in Leicester or Dewsbury, and might promote extremism. Ultimately, shariʻa councils and Muslim schools have become the major objects of broad British fears about domestic Islam. Both seem to cross boundaries in a way that threatens the unity of Britain, or of England.

Keywords:   Islamic institutions, shariʻa councils, Islamic radicalism, legal unity, domestic violence, liberal Muslims, conservative Muslims, extremism, Muslim schools, domestic Islam

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